Great Performances: Ann

Air date: 06/19/2020

THIRTEEN’s Great Performances Presents Emmy Award-winner Holland Taylor’s Ann Friday, June 19 on PBS

Premieres nationwide Friday, June 19 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings), and the PBS Video app


Great Performances: Ann is a no-holds-barred theatrical portrait of Ann Richards, legendary Governor of Texas (1991-95) , premiering nationwide Friday, June 19 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings), 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. Beginning with a commencement address, the play bursts into a blistering day in the life of the governor, with a cascade of task-wrangling and conversations with everyone from Richards’ friend Bill Clinton to her grandbaby Lily. We see the grit, warmth and depth in her colorful, captivating character, bigger than the state from which she hails. 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.

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 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’ 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.’”


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 Center in Washington, DC, before its Broadway run at Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theater in 2013.
  • Holland Taylor earned Tony Award and Drama Desk nominations for her performance in “Ann.”


Short TV Listing
Enjoy a revealing look at iconic Texas governor Ann Richards in this play starring Holland Taylor.


Long TV Listing
Enjoy a powerful and revealing look at legendary, larger-than-life Texas governor Ann Richards who enriched the lives of her followers, friends and family in this critically acclaimed play written by and starring Emmy Award-winner Holland Taylor.


Series Overview
Throughout its more than 40-year history on PBS, Great Performances has provided viewers across the country with an unparalleled showcase of the best in all genres of the performing arts, serving as America’s most prestigious and enduring broadcaster of cultural programming. The series is available for streaming simultaneously on all station-branded PBS platforms, including and the PBS Video app, which is available on iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Chromecast. PBS station members can view episodes via Passport (contact your local PBS station for details). Great Performances is produced by THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET, one of America’s most prolific and respected public media providers.


Production Credits
Directed for television by David S. Wolfson, Great Performances: Ann is a Spoon Films, MB Artists & Pink Granite Production, produced by David S. Wolfson and S. Lauren Sheppard;  Holland Taylor and Kevin Bailey are executive producers. Great Performances is produced by THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET. Bill O’Donnell is series producer and David Horn is executive producer.


Major funding for Great Performances is provided by The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation, the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Arts Fund, the Irene Diamond Fund, Rosalind P. Walter, the LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, The Starr Foundation, the Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, the Thea Petschek Iervolino Foundation, Seton J. Melvin, The Phillip and Janice Levin Foundation and PBS.


Websites:,, @GPerfPBS #GreatPerformancesPBS #BroadwayOnPBS


About WNET
WNET is America’s flagship PBS station: parent company of New York’s THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, the statewide public media network in New Jersey. Through its new ALL ARTS multi-platform initiative, its broadcast channels, three cable services (THIRTEEN PBSKids, Create and World) and online streaming sites, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to more than five million viewers each month. WNET produces and presents a wide range of acclaimed PBS series, including Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend, and the nightly interview program Amanpour and Company. In addition, WNET produces numerous documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings, as well as multi-platform initiatives addressing poverty and climate. Through THIRTEEN Passport and WLIW Passport, station members can stream new and archival THIRTEEN, WLIW and PBS programming anytime, anywhere.


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Holland Taylor. Photo by Platon.

Holland Taylor. Photo by: Ave Bonar.

Holland Taylor. Photo by: Ave Bonar.

“Ann” starring Holland Taylor. Photo: Ave Bonar