“Driving Miss Daisy,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Alfred Uhry, is now on Broadway for its first-ever Main Stem run. The limited engagement comedy-drama, directed by David Esbjornson, opened at the John Golden Theatre on October 25.
“Miss Daisy” makes its Broadway debut with a star-studded cast, as three award-winning actors hold the stage. Vanessa Redgrave plays the steely Southern widow Daisy Werthan, alongside James Earl Jones as her equally feisty chauffeur Hoke Colburn. The cast is rounded out by Boyd Gaines, who plays Daisy’s well-meaning, chauffeur-hiring son Boolie Werthan.
What begins as a testy boss-employee relationship between an elderly Jewish woman and her black servant in 1948 Atlanta mellows over a 25-year period. The memory play follows the pair up to 1973 as they form a deep and abiding friendship that is strengthened by the dark days of the Civil Rights period and persists as the frailties of old age set in.
The 804-seat John Golden Theatre hosted a total of 20 previews, beginning October 7. Over the following three weeks, the playhouse saw an average capacity around 90 percent.
Regular ticket prices range from $65 to $120, with premium seats priced at $225 and $300. Gross ticket sales were $673,773 for the week ending October 24, and total $1,723,554 overall so far, according to numbers from the Broadway League.
“Driving Miss Daisy” is a 16-week limited engagement, booked through January 29, 2011. Performances are scheduled Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m., and Tuesday at 7 p.m. Matinees are staged Tuesday and Saturday at 2 p.m.
The John Golden Theatre is located at 252 West 45th Street in New York, NY. “Driving Miss Daisy” runs 90 minutes, without intermission. Scheduling and ticketing details are available on the production’s official Web site.
Opening Night: “Driving Miss Daisy”
|Variety||Marilyn Stasio||“There’s a pervasively dark and gloomy air to the utilitarian set that doesn’t reflect the seismic changes going on in the life of the play.”|
|New York Times||Ben Brantley||“If the production’s stars feel squeezed or confined by what is a very slender work, they never let on. They give responsible, intelligent performances that are infused with two old pros’ joy in the mastery of their craft.”|
|USA Today||Elysa Gardner||“Neither Jones nor Redgrave loses the regal bearing we have long attributed to them; rather, they channel it to suggest the dignity of seemingly ordinary characters.”|
|Hollywood Reporter||Frank Scheck||“The play is a pretty well-indestructible audience-pleasing vehicle, and director David Esbjornson’s production…does nothing to tamper with it.”|
|TheaterMania||David Finkle||“This will likely be the biggest commercial theater hit of 2010 (or at least since Denzel Washington and Viola Davis spent the early summer selling out the Cort in Fences ).”|
|New York Daily News||Joe Dziemianowicz||“Even the one-two wallop of Vanessa Redgrave and James Earl Jones can’t make Alfred Uhry’s one-act more than it is — a wispy middle-of-the-road family drama fueled by sentimentality.”|