Published August 8, 2019 | By Adrienne Proctor
The Pollard Theatre in Guthrie opens their highly anticipated Season 33 with Driving Miss Daisy. Featuring a legendary cast, Driving Miss Daisy is directed by Pollard artistic director W. Jerome Stevenson. Brenda Williams and Albert Bostick are reprising their roles as Daisy Werthan and Hoke Colburn, with company member James A. Hughes as Boolie Werthan. The 1987 play by Alfred Uhry won a Pulitzer Prize before becoming an Oscar-winning movie in 1989, starring Jessica Tandy and Morgan Freeman. It later enjoyed success with a revival on Broadway in 2010.
In 1948 Atlanta, 72-year-old Daisy crashes her car, so her son Boolie takes the initiative and hires her a driver. Hoke Colburn drives Miss Daisy for the next 25 years, and their friendship grows as the world changes around them. The play explores themes of societal expectations, race relations, and unlikely friendships. The play and the movie have delighted millions for years and bring to the forefront the too important, and often under represented, topics that changed and shaped history.
This story of friendship and race relations in the Southern U.S. during the Civil Rights Movement holds great weight and relevance today. The Pollard chooses to bring it back at a vital time for the current political landscape. Says director Stevenson, “Driving Miss Daisy has so many levels of relevance. Race is obviously a critical component, but it also addresses our fears about aging and becoming caretaker of aging parents. The cast and I discussed our own personal experiences in these areas and knew that many of our audience members would recognize them all. The collaboration with this company has opened up this play in ways that I think audiences will truly appreciate.”
Humor is how we relate to each other, a strong foundation on which the best friendships are built. Williams and Bostick will not disappoint, and this play will uplift and enlighten audiences as it has done for decades.
Adding an extra touch of special to the play is the Pollard’s collaboration with local artist and musician Louise Goldberg. Goldberg is composing original music for this production. Stevenson adds, “I am always grateful for the privilege of working with Louise. She brings a personal perspective to this project that is invaluable. Not only does she contribute her mastery of music but an innate sense of theatricality that elevates the narrative in a way that will definitely resonate with audiences.”
Stevenson also serves as lighting and scenery designer. Timothy Stewart designs properties, Michael James is costume designer, and Jared Blount is sound and projection designer.
A charming story, iconic Oklahoma artists, original music, and the resonating themes of friendship and longevity are setting up the Pollard’s 33rd season to be their best yet. The Pollard first produced this play in 1991. This new production 28 years later will prove that heart-warming, deep, and funny stories, like great friendships, only get better with time.