Though not a Texan herself, actress Holland Taylor was and is a big fan of the late governor Ann Richards. Finding herself greatly affected by Richards' death, Taylor decided she needed to pay tribute in some artistic way. Since her background is in film and television acting, Taylor originally thought she'd work with a writer to create a TV or movie project.
Then, as she says, while driving to work one day, she realized something important: "Oh my God, it has to be a play. Because of her immediacy and her relationship with any audience that she had, and her aliveness." She stopped the car and, within a few minutes, came up with the structure of what would become her one-woman show Ann. She knew there would be much research to be done and also that she'd like to try writing it herself rather than collaborate with an experienced playwright. "I have been in many plays and seen more, and I thought I knew what made plays work," she says.
Once she'd made that important decision, she was hard at work. "It was as if I was possessed by something -- I was really drafted into service, and I serve at the pleasure of the governor," she says. "I was going to do this thing, whatever it took."
Taylor has performed the play across the country, including a run on Broadway which earned her a Tony nomination. An earlier version of Ann ran at the Paramount a few years ago, and Taylor is very happy to be staging it in Austin again, this time at the Zach Theater. "I'm looking forward to that wonderful engagement with a Texas audience," she says. "I did feel I had to [bring the show back to Austin], but I also wanted to. I mean, I know I got something that y'all want, and I want you to have it."