Alfred Uhry’s “Driving Miss Daisy” was a staple of just about every regional theatre back in the late 1980s. With its small cast, easy set and 90 minute running time, it became a producer’s dream. It has the weight of the Pulitzer Prize and the Best Picture” Academy Award in its history and is a mostly beloved comic drama that is as comforting as warm oatmeal on a cold winter’s day. So it’s nice to welcome back this gentle comedy as the first non-musical produced by the Music Theatre of Connecticut in their lovely new theatre space in Norwalk.
Set in Atlanta, Georgia and covering the years from 1948 to 1973, “Driving Miss Daisy” concerns wealthy Jewish widow Daisy Werthan (Rebecca Hoodwin) who, as the play opens, has just lost her drivers license after one too many accidents. Her concerned son, Boolie (an excellent Mike Boland), insists on hiring a “colored man” to chauffeur her about town much to Daisy’s extreme displeasure. Hoke Coleburn (Lorezno Scott) is the man hired and the rest of the play details the growing relationship between the stubborn Daisy and the endlessly patient Hoke. It also covers the period of the Civil Rights movement and the affect it has on two outsiders like Daisy and Hoke. Uhry manages to pack a lot into his one-act play without ever seeming excessive.