Driving Miss Daisy (play)

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For the 1989 film, see Driving Miss Daisy. For the 2014 film, see Driving Miss Daisy (2014 film).
Driving Miss Daisy
Written by Alfred Uhry
  • Hoke Colburn
  • Daisy Werthan
  • Boolie Werthan
Date premiered April 15, 1987
Place premiered Playwrights Horizons
New York City
Original language English
Series Atlanta Trilogy:
Genre Drama

Driving Miss Daisy is a 1987 play by Alfred Uhry about the relationship of an elderly white Southern Jewish woman, Daisy Werthan, and her African-American chauffeur, Hoke Colburn, from 1948 to 1973. The play was the first in Uhry's Atlanta Trilogy, which deals with white Jewish residents of that city in the early 20th century.


Uhry wrote his Atlanta Trilogy based on his own experiences living in Atlanta as a Jew. He set his three plays at "historic moments in the city’s twentieth century—the 1915 lynching of Leo Frank, the 1939 Gone With the Wind premiere, the 1958 Temple bombing, and the city’s 1964 dinner honoring Martin Luther King’s Nobel Peace Prize." The plays are Driving Miss Daisy, The Last Night of Ballyhoo, and Parade.[1]


Off-Broadway (1987–1990)[edit]

The original Off-Broadway production was staged at Playwrights Horizons Studio Theatre on 42nd Street, opening on April 15, 1987.[2] Directed by Ron Lagomarsino, the cast starred Dana Ivey, Morgan Freeman and Ray Gill (Boolie).[3][4] It later transferred to the John Houseman Theatre, closing on June 3, 1990, with 1,195 performances.[5]

Uhry received the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for the work.[6]

West End (1988)[edit]

It was then performed in London's West End in 1988 at the Apollo Theatre, with Dame Wendy Hiller as Miss Daisy Werthan, Clarke Peters as Hoke and Barry Foster as Boolie.[7]

Broadway (2010–2011)[edit]

In October 2010, James Earl Jones (as Hoke), Vanessa Redgrave (as Daisy), and Boyd Gaines (as Boolie) appeared in a revival of the play, marking the Broadway debut of the show and the first time Jones and Redgrave have appeared on stage together. The show premiered to rave reviews[8] on October 25, 2010, at the John Golden Theatre; the run was later extended and Driving Miss Daisy closed on April 9, 2011,[9] after 20 previews and 180 performances. It recouped its initial investment of $2.6 million on December 21, 2010, making it the first show of the 2010/2011 season to do so.[10] The show was the top-grossing Broadway play in the week ending January 16, 2011.[11]

West End revival (2011)[edit]

The production played at the Wyndham's Theatre in London's West End with the same cast, beginning previews on September 26, 2011, opening on October 5, 2011, and closing on December 17, 2011. [12]

UK tour (2012–13)[edit]

The show toured UK theatres from October 2012 until April 2013, starring Gwen Taylor, Don Warrington, and Ian Porter.[13]

Australian tour (2013)[edit]

The Broadway production of Driving Miss Daisy toured Australia from February 9 to June 16, 2013, starring Angela Lansbury, James Earl Jones and Boyd Gaines.[14] This production was filmed and broadcast on PBS Great Performances.[15][16]


The time: 1948, the place: Atlanta, Georgia. A crash is heard, and Daisy Werthan, age 72, is in her living room, with her son Boolie, age 40. They are Jewish, with Atlanta accents. She has crashed her car, and Boolie insists that she have a driver. Boolie is in his office and interviews Hoke Coleburn who is a black man of around 60. He is unemployed. Over the next 25 years Hoke drives "Miss Daisy". They are initially wary of each other, and Hoke puts up with the somewhat crotchety Miss Daisy with dignity. She teaches Hoke to read, having been a teacher. Ultimately, they form a friendly bond, with Miss Daisy inviting Hoke to accompany her to a dinner for Martin Luther King, Jr.

Hoke visits Miss Daisy, now age 97, in a nursing home, seeing her for one final time.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Film adaptation[edit]

Main article: Driving Miss Daisy

Uhry adapted it into the screenplay for a 1989 film of the same name starring Jessica Tandy, Morgan Freeman and Dan Aykroyd, an adaptation which was awarded the Academy Award for Writing Adapted Screenplay at the 62nd Academy Awards in 1990.


  1. ^ "Hall of Fame Honorees. Alfred Uhry" georgiawritershalloffame.org, 2014, accessed November 8, 2015
  2. ^ Uhry, Alfred. Driving Miss Daisy, p. 4, Dramatists Play Service, Inc.
  3. ^ Gussow, Mel. "Stage. Driving Miss Daisy New York Times, April 16, 1997
  4. ^ Driving Miss Daisy playwrightshorizons.org, accessed November 8, 2015
  5. ^ Brantley, Ben. "Stooped and a Bit Slow, but Still Standing Tall", The New York Times, October 25, 2010.
  6. ^ "Drama" pulitzer.org, accessed November 8, 2015
  7. ^ "Driving Miss Daisy coming to Dundas Theatre". Bahama Islands. June 19, 2008.
  8. ^ "Rave reviews for Vanessa Redgrave, 'sassy' at 73 after year of family heartbreak". London Evening Standard. October 26, 2010.
  9. ^ Healy, Patrick, "Driving Ms. Redgrave Through a Reluctant Conversation", The New York Times, February 15, 2011. Retrieved February 15, 2011
  10. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Driving Miss Daisy Recoups Investment" playbill.com, December 21, 2010.
  11. ^ Samelson, Judy. "Chart Toppers: Top-Grossing Broadway Productions, Week of January 10–16". Playblog. January 21, 2011.
  12. ^ "Driving Miss Daisy to Park in London in Fall 2011" by Robert Viagas, Playbill, 12 June 2011
  13. ^ "Driving Miss Daisy tours UK with Gwen Taylor & Don Warrington" by Stephanie Soh, whatsonstage.com, 12 June 2012
  14. ^ Gans, Andrew. Gaines Will Join James Earl Jones and "Angela Lansbury for Driving Miss Daisy in Australia" Playbill, October 12, 2012
  15. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Stage Version of Driving Miss Daisy, Starring Angela Lansbury and James Earl Jones, Filmed for Distribution" Playbill, January 24, 2014
  16. ^ "Driving Miss Daisy pbs.org, accessed November 8, 2015

External links[edit]