Driving Miss Daisy, one of Modern American Theatre's most touching and irresistible stories, will kick off Newington Mainstage's second season tonight, September 14-16 at its brand new home at the Newington Town Hall. Directed by and starring Broadway veteran Carolyn Kirsch, this Pulitzer Prize and Academy Award winning comedy-drama is sure to warm your heart with its message of friendship, understanding and hope.
Set in Atlanta, Georgia from 1948 to 1973, Driving Miss Daisy tells the story of Daisy Werthan, an independent, aging Jewish widow – disagreeable and set in her ways – reluctantly surrendering the driver's seat to Hoke Coleburn, a proud, soft-spoKen Black man. At first, Daisy's stubbornness and cultural prejudices cause much friction, but over the course of 25 years, Hoke becomes not only her chauffeur, but against all odds, her best friend. The Washington Post called this play "a story marked with unaffectEd Grace and generosity of spirit, medium-sized miracles and changed minds."
Written by Alfred Uhry in 1987 as a tribute to his Atlanta-based family, the play went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Outer Critics Circle Award. A 1989 movie version starring Jessica Tandy, Morgan Freeman, and Dan Aykroyd won four Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Screenplay and Best Actress for Tandy. Last year's Broadway revival of the play, starring Vanessa Redgrave & James Earl Jones, received critical praise and enormous box office success.
The incomparable Carolyn Kirsch does double duty in this production – serving as director and playing the title role. "I played Daisy about three years ago," Kirsch says, "and I wanted to get in the car with her again and see what I discovered about her journey as we both were aging. I have found a renewed respect for her strength, ability to embrace change, and her evolution into a more compassionate human being than her initial up-bringing had dictated."
Miss Kirsch is a veteran of more than 15 Broadway shows over a 21 year period of working in theatre in New York City and beyond. Her many credits include the original companies of A Chorus Line (Theatre World Award), Chicago (with Bob Fosse), and CoCo (which starred Katharine Hepburn), among countless others. She is joined on stage by Richard Nelson as Hoke Coleburn, and Nat Holmes as Daisy's son, Boolie Werthan.
Newington Mainstage will present Driving Miss Daisy for one weekend only, tonight, September 14-16 (Friday & Saturday at 8pm, Sunday at 2pm) at the Newington Town Hall auditorium (131 Cedar Street, Newington). Tickets are priced at $22.00 for general admission and $18.00 for students and seniors. A portion of every ticket sold for the September 16 matinee performance will benefit the Newington Senior Center. Tickets and additional information can be obtained at www.NewingtonMainstage.com or by calling (860) 595-2350.