She had a revelation.
Richards died of esophageal cancer. He was a superb humanitarian who was sincerely committed to assisting the underrepresented. She was well-known for becoming only the second woman in 160 years to deliver the Democratic National Convention’s keynote address.
She was both stern and humorous. If you give us a chance, we can deliver, she promised the delegates. After all, Ginger Rogers did all of Fred Astaire’s dance routines. She simply did it backward in high heels.
Richards had a big impact on Taylor. “I respected who she was. She had the uncommon capacity to be both soothing and human at the same time as commanding, “Take that hill!” Taylor said she was a mother, a general, an angel, and a leader.
She was driven by a tremendous desire to be fair. She felt deeply for every individual and underrepresented group. She believed that government should consist of people who resemble and reflect the common population. She adored humanity, life, and universal freedom ideals.
She was obliged to pull over on her way to work. “ I received a call. It was like being on the way to Damascus, according to Taylor. “I had wanted to do something creative about her because of my depressed thoughts and understanding of what a loss it was to the country that we lost that voice.”
Taylor reflected on Ann Richards’ interpersonal abilities. And it was in her car at that very moment that she understood she needed to create a live one-person play that was an unvarnished portrayal of the late governor. “I was in my mid-sixties at the time. It’s not like I got the idea to write plays all the time, adds Taylor.
Even in her wildest dreams, she never saw herself doing a solo play on Broadway. “But for 15 minutes, I was overwhelmed with ideas on achieving it,” Taylor explains. I then started the car and drove to work. I never looked back.
Taylor dug deep into Richards’ life over the next few years. She spoke with several friends and colleagues, including Richards’ children. “I read her speeches and writings in search of her identity rather than a history to which I could identify. “I wanted everyone to know who she was,” Taylor explains.
She came up with the concept of creating a holograph of the late governor. “Some of her inspiring qualities would travel with the hologram if it was genuine and I had captured her. The presentation would motivate others to live fully and responsibly in the same delightful way she did.
Taylor’s director, Ben Endsley Klein, premiered ANN in 2010 at Galveston’s Grand 1894 Opera House. The play was also a hit in Chicago, Washington, DC, on Broadway at the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center, and in other cities across the country. Taylor and the musical were both nominated for Tony Awards.
Ann’s live theater production premieres this month on BroadwayHD, a video streaming service. “BroadwayHD is an innovative company. Every minute, their library expands. And anyone, wherever on the planet, can watch any play in their library. According to Taylor, it is affordable and acts almost like Netflix for plays.
At a recent reception and screening of ANN at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, director Benjamin Endsley Klein oversaw an introduction and post-film discussion with Holland Taylor and Cecile Richards, Ann Richards’ daughter. Cecile Richards, Julianne Moore, Cynthia Nixon, Tina Brown, Rosie O’Donnell, Martha Plimpton, Sandra Bernhard, and Andre Bishop hosted the event in partnership with BroadwayHD, Spoon Films, and Pink Granite.