Bryan Cranston in All the Way; Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

Staging a biography is a tricky business. There are a great many characters who are interesting enough to justify a book about them, but relatively few interesting enough to justify a two-hour stage show. Structure is a challenge: Such plays tend either to be something like a stage version of This Is Your Life or one of those tedious single-handers on the Mark-Twain-tells-stories-about-himself model. Holland Taylor’s defective Ann, a play about the Texas governor that managed to combine the worst of both of those tendencies, made a sow’s ear out of the silk purse that is the inherently dramatic if historically minor character of Ann...

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