There were boots, bolo ties, sequined cowboy hats and daughter Cecile Richards. Also Anne Hathaway, there to celebrate the opening with her mother Kate, a member of the producing team led by Bob Boyett and Harriet Newman Leve.
At the Vivian Beaumont Theater — and later at the Plaza Hotel afterparty — the home state crowd was a warm one, which reminded writer-thesp Taylor of the show’s first tour stops in Texas. All those auds loved Richards so much they were inclined to cut the production some slack.
At the time, she said, “I couldn’t wait to get to Chicago, because I knew that was where the play would be proven.”
The script went through multiple drafts, during which time Taylor found herself forced to leave some excellent anecdotes about the salty, opinionated Richards on the cutting room floor.
One of Taylor’s favorites involved a trip to a small Texas border town where Richards was scheduled to make a speech at a community center. The governor and her aide stopped at a Dairy Queen to ask directions, but when they got to the counter they realized they didn’t know how to pronounce the town’s Mexican name.
“So Ann said to a little girl there, ‘Honey, how do you pronounce the name of this place?’ And the little girl looked at her and said” – and here Taylor overenunciated every syllable – ” ‘DAI-RY QUEEN.’ “