ANN: An Affectionate Portrait of Ann Richards
We went to the 1894 Opera House Saturday to see Holland Taylor in her one-woman play of Governor Ann Richards. It was well received by a full house of folks who were no doubt grateful to remember a time when this state had leadership, not the cynical pandering and cronyism we’ve suffered lately. (Can you imagine people cueing up to see a show about Rick Perry?)
It must be a thrill for Holland to inhabit such a larger-than-life character and she made the most of it, reminding us of the charm and wit that made Richards a Texas treasure and national figure. Speechmaking, working the phone and needling her staff, friends and family, Holland’s Richards delivered well-known lines with the candor and humor she was known for, and the audience was with her all the way. Holland must have been thinking of this role when she quoted Richards once saying “Do you believe we get to do this?”
Richards became Governor amidst a severe economic downturn. She put Texas on a path to growth even as we learned that oil revenues could no longer carry the state. She took on the heavy lifting required to address the school finance system and worked to bring the prison system into the twentieth century. Her veto of a concealed carry bill probably cost her a second term. That was ten thousand shooting deaths ago.
Someday Texans will again elect honest and able leadership. When we do, Ann Richards “will be very near.”