Ann (Great Performances)

Premieres Friday, June 19 at 9 p.m.

Great Performances: Ann is a no-holds-barred theatrical portrait of Ann Richards, legendary Governor of Texas (1991-95) , premieringnationwide Friday, June 19 at 9 p.m. on Southern Oregon PBS , pbs.org/gperf and the PBS Video app.

Written and performed by Emmy Award-winning actor Holland Taylor (“Two and a Half Men,” Broadway’s “The Front Page”), the play is a compelling look at the impassioned, inspiring woman who enriched the lives of her followers, friends and family. Unfolding through public speeches and private phone calls with famous figures including Bill Clinton, Ann Richards is revealed as a complex, colorful and captivating character bigger than the state from which she hailed. Directed for the stage by Benjamin Endsley Klein (Broadway credits include “The Ferryman” and “Carousel”), this production was recorded at the Zach Theater in Austin, Texas, following its national tour and Broadway run at Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theater in 2013, which earned Taylor a Tony Award nomination for Best Lead Actress in a Play.

Image from Ann by Great Performances
Holland Taylor on stage as Ann Richards.

Neither partisan nor political, Ann began as Taylor’s quest to understand what it was about this housewife, mother, grandmother, leader and iconic patriot who inspired so many people so deeply. Writing the play became a four-year journey for Taylor, crisscrossing the country, interviewing people who knew Richards, watching countless hours of video coverage and pouring over reams of her personal and public papers at the University of Texas. In the end, Taylor’s greatest resources were the family, friends, staff and colleagues of the governor who allowed Taylor to know Ann Richards.

Holland Taylor at a press event.
Holland Taylor at a Press Event

Holland Taylor Statement

“After 20 years in the New York theater, I spread out to television and movies, mistily remembering my stage performances as the ephemeral things they are, and only rarely watching the other stuff myself. But all through my whole adult life, PBS’s Great Performances has been the source and standard of the greatest classical and most elevated entertainment to be had. And now I’m uniquely honored and thrilled, as the stage performance of my own play – surely the accomplishment of my life – is not only beautifully captured in live performance, but given an exalted presentation by Great Performances itself. I feel as I did when my Broadway producer told me after our long tour with Ann through Galveston, San Antonio, Austin, Chicago and Washington, DC, that my play about Governor Ann Richards was going to open at New York’s Lincoln Center – I was stunned for a moment, then replied, ‘She deserves it.’ And so, she does. Ann Richards is beloved by countless people who say she lifted their lives, simply by being who she was. Given today’s world, my play about her hopes to impart ‘a little touch of Ann in the night.’”

Ann on Great Performances

Notable Talent

  • Holland Taylor, playwright, Emmy Award-winning and Tony Award-nominated actor known for her performances in Broadway’s “The Front Page,” television’s “The Practice,” “Two and a Half Men” “The L Word,” the feature film “Legally Blonde” and more.
  • Benjamin Endsley Klein, stage director of “Ann,” whose Broadway credits include associate director positions with the Tony Award-winning “The Ferryman” and Broadway’s 2018 revival of “Carousel,” “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” and more.
  • David S. Wolfson, director of Great Performances: Ann, his debut as a director of long form material for broadcast.
  • David Horn, executive producer of Great Performances

Noteworthy Facts

  • Most of the play is based on anecdotes told directly to Holland Taylor from those who knew Ann Richards.
  • After playing throughout Texas to sold-out audiences, “Ann” earned critical acclaim in Chicago and at the Kennedy Centerin Washington, DC, before its Broadway run at Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theater in 2013.