Driving Miss Daisy: A feisty comedic relationship play



Opening it's 23rd season at the Sierra Madre Playhouse is the Pulitzer Prize winning comedy drama, Driving Miss Daisy, opened to a full house.  Written by Alfred Uhry and it was directed by Christian Lebano.  Originally a Broadway play, it was later made into a movie and is now being performed, again, as a play. 


Set mostly in Atlanta, GA, Driving Miss Daisy is set from the beginning of the Civil Rights Era (1948) til to 1973 as it chronicles the historical events as the bombing of the Atlanta synagogue and the banquet celebrating Martin Luther King, as well as the relationship between the fiercely independent Daisy Werthan, (Mary Lou Rosato) an affluent Jewish widow, and her African American chauffeur, Hoke Coleburn (Willie C Carpenter.)  Hoke is hired by Daisy's son, Boolie (Brad David Reed), because she can no longer drive herself.   The rough relationship starts off with difficulty, but eventually ends in a warm friendship. 


I recall seeing the movie Driving Miss Daisy staring Jessica Tandy and Morgan Freeman back in 1989.  Thoroughly enjoying that, I was hesitant at seeing the play, but Mary Lou Rosato pulled off a remarkable Daisy.  She is veteran of eleven shows on Broadway; Drama Desk Award winner for her performance in "The School For Scandal") and Willie C. Carpenter , "Hoke" from the new TV series "1600 Penn" was excellent. Brad Reed and Mitch Ward (who plays Hoke in the later productions of the play) round out the cast.

Playwright Alfred Uhry says he based his characters on composites of a number of real people that he knew in his younger days. Uhry won the Pulitzer Prize for this play, and later won an Oscar ® for its screenplay adaptation. He won Tony Awards ® for his scripts for "Parade" and "The Last Night of Ballyhoo."


The set was simple, yet conveyed the story as was designed by Gary Wissmann with original music from Jonathan Beard.

Kudos also to the executive producer, Estelle Campbell, and associate  producer, Sherrie Lofton as well as production stage manager,  Kristin Weber.  Authentic costume design was accomplished by Kristen Kopp. Wig and make up design was done by Cristina Waltz. Sound design by Barry Schwam with lighting by Sammy Ross.  David Byrd did the graphic design.


Anyone interested in that period of history should enjoy the play not to mention  the relationship between feisty Miss Daisy and her sparring partner Hoke. 


Running from January 18 until March 9, 2013, the play is offered Friday and Saturdays at 8 pm with a Sunday
performance at 2:30.  Admission is $25 with discounts for seniors and students ($22) and children ($15).  For reservations call 626 355 4318..Sierra Madre Playhouse, is located at 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre, CA 91024. Ample free parking behind theatre.  ONLINE TICKETING: www.sierramadreplayhouse.org




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