Nov 9, 2010

The Other Texas

Holland Taylor as late Texas Gov. Ann Richards, in a one-person show she debuted at the Grand 1894 Opera House in Galveston last May. Then it was titled Money, Marbles & Chalk (a Texas expression that was a favorite of LBJ's, meaning "I'm all in!"). But for its May, 2011 run at the Paramount in Austin, it's called simply Ann - An Affectionate Portrait of Ann Richards. I wrote about the Galveston bow for the May/June issue of American Theatre:
When Richards died in 2006 of cancer, Taylor found herself “unnaturally sad,” and almost immediately started planning a one-woman show about Richards. “The idea really grabbed me by the scruff of the neck—I’d never done anything like this before,” Taylor says. Welcomed by Richards’s family and inner circle, Taylor conducted three years of interviews and research...

How does it feel for Taylor, a native Philadelphian, to portray Richards in front of her fellow Texans? “I’m kind of wild-eyed—my eyes snap open in the morning and I think, ‘What have I gotten myself into?’ ” Taylor, who will wear a body suit and wig to portray Richards, has been training with a dialect coach and studying video of the late Guv. She trusts that her audience will appreciate how hard she’s worked: “Texans are so generous and willing to accept you on your own terms. I’ve never been treated so affectionately, and I can’t figure out why: Here’s this Yankee, trying to do a play about their darling daughter.”

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