Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Driving Miss Daisy Opens on Broadway

Alfred Uhry's 1987 play Driving Miss Daisy, a seminal classic in the American repertoire, has opened on Broadway.  The play, in its first production on Broadway, was produced originally at Playwrights Horizons and ran there for over 1200 performances starting in 1987.  That production won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and spawned a 1989 Best Picture Oscar winner.  This production has gotten some pretty strong reviews, itself.  The major praise has come for theater giants James Earl Jones (who, it was clear from the moment his casting was announced, would be wonderful in the part) and Vanessa Redgrave (a much less obvious choice for the part of Daisy, given that she's a Brit -- I was hoping for, perhaps, Marian Seldes).  These performances are central to the success of any production of this play and, while each in this production came with its (very) minor faults, they are thought to generally raise the bar for the show as a whole.  Much in the same way that this year's horrendous production of Mrs. Warren's Profession will likely rob Cherry Jones of a Tony nomination for what has been hailed as the performance of her career, this Driving Miss Diasy is likely to get a Best Revival Tony nomination (as well as nominations for the show's direction and design elements) on the strength of these two leading performances.  The only major complaint I read about this production is that the show is rather small and, much like this year's revival of David Mamet's A Life in the Theater, the production tries to make it bigger than it is in order to fit the larger theater it's living in (though this production offends in that regard much less than the Mamet play).

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