This week is your last chance to see Holland Taylor in her fabulous Tony Award-nominated one-woman show, “Ann” at the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena, CA. The show ends on Sunday, 24 April 2022. This is Emmy Award-winner Taylor’s final production.
Every future voter, every woman, every young girl, every feminist should see this production about Ann Richards. Ann Richards was the 45th Governor of Texas (1991-1995) but I was surprised to learn she was the second woman governor in Texas history.
That’s just one of the facts you’ll learn about Richards (1933-2006). The show begins at what is supposed to be a graduation commencement, but it will take you back in time to before Ann Richards had tacked Richards to her name. Born Dorothy Ann Willis in what is now Lacy Lakeview, she grew up in the now infamous Waco, TX.
When she took to the state stage and later came to national attention, she was already married with four kids. I won’t bore you with the details, Taylor under the able direction of Benjamin Endsley Klein will gracefully take you there with Southern charm and a bit of Texas girt. Richards wasn’t above telling a dirty joke and she was hardworking and every hopeful.
Taylor wrote the script. You might have seen Taylor in “Legally Blonde,” “The Truman Show,” “Bombshell” or Netflix’s “To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You” or the series “The Chair.” Taylor won an Emmy for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series in 1999 for her performance as Judge Roberta Kittleson in the ABC legal drama “The Practice.”
The brings some of that same sense of strength and authority to this role as Ann Richards that is literally tailor made for her. The show has some set changes that will take you to the Austin capitol house and back, but if you aren’t from Texas, the show should get you thinking things like has your hometown or current city of residence ever had a female mayor? Has your home state had a female governor?
Pasadena has had female mayors (Josephine Heckman (1980-1982), Loretta Thompson-Glickman (1982-1984) and Katie Nack (1994-1995). The current mayor of my hometown, Chula Vista is a woman, Mary Casillas Salas. San Diego has also had female mayors: Maureen O’Connor (1986-1992), Susan Golding (1992-2000), and Toni Atkins (2005-2005).
I was disappointed to learn that California has never had a female governor. If you miss this live performance, you can still get an idea of what the full performance is like though the PBS program, Great Performances (Season 47, Episode 24). The PBS Great Performances version originally aired on 19 June 2020 and expires on 18 June 2023.
As of 17 April 2022, there are nine female governors:
- Alabama: Kay Ivey (R)
- Iowa: Kim Reynolds (R)
- Kansas: Laura Kelly (D)
- Maine: Janet Mills (D)
- Michigan: Gretchen Whitmer (D)
- New Mexico: Michelle Lujan Grisham (D)
- New York: Kathy Hochul (D)
- Oregon: Kate Brown (D)
- South Dakota: Kristi Norm (R)
California is one of 19 states to never have a woman as governor: Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
To date, there have only been three women of color who have been state governors: : Susana Martinez and Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico (Both Latina) and Nickey Haley of South Carolina (Asian American).
See “Ann” at the Pasadena Playhouse before it closes on 24 April 2022. Performances are Wednesday-Friday evenings at 8:00 p.m.; Saturday at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m; Sunday, April 24 closing night performance at 7:00 p.m. For more information, visit the Pasadena Playhouse website.