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A letter from Holland Taylor

There is no way to convey my love and appreciation for the hundred or so friends, associates, and members of Ann Richard’s family who helped me understand her in a way that would have been utterly impossible without them.

I was compelled to write this play… the notice to do it at all, the idea for how to write it—its shape and style—came all in a rush, leaving me wide-eyed with surprise. And I plunged in. During the darkest hours of trying to shape a tumultuous mountain of material, in a daydream I would see Ann in the fifth row, beaming happily and elbowing our old mutual friend, Liz Smith. Six years of work later, I made a journey I could never have imagined. But I went in whole hog, and stayed in—working hard and doing the best I could — which gave me a hint of how I’ll bet Ann Richards felt every day.

I hope Ann would like this. People loved to please her… one of her children said to please her was to get hit with a million suns. So, of course, now I want to please her, too.

Texans have welcomed me in my endeavor, which I find incredibly generous (Yankee that I am), and I will always be grateful for their affection and fun and open hearts.

Most of the play is based on years of overlapping stories told to me in significant detail, including fragments of fabulous dialogue, by the players themselves.

The office scenes in the play have been created based on many, many anecdotes and, in some areas, profound and lengthy study—though the play’s ending, for obvious reasons, is purely a dream—about someone I do think of now as a friend I know pretty well, and love.

Headshot Image for Holland Taylor

Holland Taylor


The New Yorker has called Holland Taylor “the first vaudeville Gentile we ever saw.” Her New York stage performances include Bess in Breakfast With Les and Bess, the original productions…

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