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Best Actress Houston 2005 - Annalee Jefferies in Bad Dates

The charming Annalee Jefferies can breathe life into the most ordinary tale. She made that clear last season when she played Haley in Theresa Rebeck's silly play Bad Dates at the Alley Theatre. It was Jefferies alone, under Jeremy B. Cohen's direction, who kept Rebeck's one-woman show from sinking under the weight of its own cuteness. The play focused on the frustrating dating life of a giggly restaurant manager named Haley. We watched Haley return from date after rotten date. She told us about men who talked about their colonoscopies and gay men who were just using a date with her to get into her fancy restaurant. The insipid story was as close to made-for-TV as theater can get. And the 90-minute monologue could have been about as thrilling as last year's Hallmark card if it hadn't been for the infectious energy of Jefferies, who moved about the stage with such girlish charisma and absolute joy, we couldn't help but cheer for Haley as she looked for love in all the wrong places.
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