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PBS to Air ANN Starring Holland Taylor This June

PBS to Air ANN Starring Holland Taylor This June

This summer, Great Performances explores the lives of two trailblazing American women with two acclaimed theatrical productions. Great Performances: Ann, Emmy Award winner Holland Taylor's compelling portrayal of the legendary Texas Governor Ann Richards, premieres Friday, June 19 at 9 p.m. on PBS.

Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner Christine Lahti stars as Gloria Steinem, one of the most inspiring women in the feminist movement, in Great Performances - Gloria: A Life, premiering Friday, June 26 on PBS (check local listings), pbs.org/gperf and the PBS Video app. Both plays are part of PBS's summer-long celebration of female trailblazers in honor of the women's vote centennial, featuring multiplatform content commemorating U.S. women's suffrage, the feminist movement and modern-day changemakers. Neither partisan nor political, Great Performances: Ann is a no-holds-barred theatrical portrait of the inimitable Ann Richards, who served as Governor of Texas from 1991-95. Written and performed by Holland Taylor ("Two and a Half Men," "The Front Page"), the play is a compelling look at the impassioned, inspiring woman who enriched the lives of her followers, friends and family. Through excerpts from public speeches and private phone calls with famous figures including the likes of Bill Clinton, Ann Richards is revealed as a complex, colorful and captivating character with a personality even bigger than the state from which she hailed. Directed for the stage by Benjamin Endsley Klein (Broadway credits include "The Ferryman" and "Carousel"), Great Performances: Ann 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.

"Through my whole adult life, PBS's Great Performances has been the source and standard of the greatest classical and most elevated entertainment to be had," said Taylor. "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."

Fifty years after Gloria Steinem began advocating for women's equality and championing the equality rights of others, her vision remains highly relevant. Starring Academy, Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner Christine Lahti ("Evil," "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood," "Chicago Hope") as Steinem, Great Performances - Gloria: A Life features an all-women cast playing both male and female roles. Act one focuses on Steinem's life and path to activism, while act two consists of a "talking circle" with the audience to discuss the play's themes, moderated by Gloria Steinem herself. This unique theatrical format offers a forum for Steinem's philosophy on the necessity of conversation as a catalyst for change.

"Gloria Steinem saved my life in the early '70s. She helped give me feminism, which became a life jacket for me to navigate through a world that didn't like or respect women very much," said Lahti. "I feel it's illuminating, for young people especially, to see how someone like Gloria, who was 'unwoke' until she was 35 - and survived a difficult childhood with a mother who she felt didn't matter - could become a world leader who has dedicated herself to making sure all women matter."

Great Performances - Gloria: A Life was written by Tony Award nominee Emily Mann (Best Direction of a Play, "Having Our Say"), directed for the stage by Tony Award winner Diane Paulus (Best Direction of a Musical, "Pippin") and produced by Pulitzer Prize- and 10-time Tony-winning producer Daryl Roth ("Angels in America," "Hello, Dolly!").

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 PBS.org 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. Bill O'Donnell is series producer and David Horn is executive producer.

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 - Gloria: A Life is a production of THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET in association with Daryl Roth Productions. Directed for television by David Horn. Mitch Owgang is producer.

Major funding for Gloria: A Life is provided by the Ford Foundation. 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.

Photo Credit: Ave Bonar / Courtesy of PBS



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