Ann Richards Arkansas Repertory Theatre

The first spring season of The Rep under Executive Artistic Director Will Trice is a darling of a trinity.

“Ann,” Holland Taylor’s play about legendary Texas governor Ann Richards, goes up Jan. 29-Feb. 16; Simon Stephens’ visually spectacular “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time” plays April 1-19; and the classic musical comedy “Bye Bye Birdie” goes up July 8-26.


As for “Ann,” it’s an unblinking look at silver-haired, silver-tongued powerhouse Ann Richards, the 45th governor of Texas who ruffled feathers and raised eyebrows for her brash leadership style as much as for her status as a liberal running in ultra-conservative Texas. Consummately quotable, Richards has heretofore been brought to life onstage by Holland Taylor (“Legally Blonde,” “Two and A Half Men,” The Practice”), who also wrote the play. Now, that torch has been passed to Elizabeth Ashley (“Russian Doll,” “Evening Shade,” “Treme”), who performs the role here at The Rep with director Michael Wilson.

Stephens’ “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time” has become a beloved staple for the stage, a sort of Sherlock nouveau mystery based on a novel by Mark Haddon, with a neuroatypical (living with Asperger syndrome or high-functioning autism, some viewers say, though Haddon disavows this specificity) 15 year-old boy at the center of the riddle. Having The Rep’s “Chicago” and “Godspell” in recent memory, I’m particularly eager to see what this cast and crew does in designing the visual aspects of the play.


Finally, “Bye Bye Birdie” — one of the most easily lovable musicals of the classic canon — lands on The Rep stage next summer. No matter if Ann Margret or Janet Leigh aren’t household names in your household; this one’s timeless.

Beginning in the fall of 2020, the release states, The Rep will return to a full-season schedule on a “school year” calendar.