Review: ‘Driving Miss Daisy’ Starring Angela Lansbury, James Earl Jones & Boyd Gaines

  • Pin It

driving-miss-daisy

I’ve never really understood why productions from Broadway and beyond never filmed their shows to screen to a larger audience after they finished their run. Sure, we had some over the years, like Company and Rent, but these have been few and far between. National Theatre Live has been screening shows for a while and I’ve seen a few but to be honest, I’ve only been interested in a few of their offerings.

Thankfully though, it looks like I’m finally getting my wish. Screenvision and Broadway Near You have teamed up to bring a handful of shows to theaters nationwide. First up is the Australian production of Driving Miss Daisy, starring Tony winners Angela Lansbury, James Earl Jones and Boyd Gaines.

Everything about the show – the actors, the set, directing – is teriffic.

The play, which takes place between 1948 and 1973, follows the long relationship between Daisy (Lansbury), a widowed, elderly Jewish woman and her African American chauffeur, Hoke (Jones). At first, Daisy is not to happy that her son, Boolie (Gaines), has hired Hoke to look after her. She’s got no desire to rely on a black man for any kind of help. Gradually though, he begins to win her over and the two begin to form a friendship that will last their lifetimes.

Written by Alfred Uhry and directed by David Esbjornson, the play looks age, friendship, and racial tensions and how they changed in the south (and America) over the years.

It’s a pleasure to watch Lansbury and Jones. Watching them spar, bicker, yell and finally warm to each other is a joy. The two are treasures. How could you not want to watch these masters volley back and forth Uhry’s dialogue?

Gaines is outstanding as well. It may not seem like it but he’s got a hard job. We don’t see him much but when we do, he’s got to convey the passage of time. Each time he steps on stage, years have passed; he slouches more, talks a bit slower and gets a bit greyer. Through him, we realize how much time is passing.

As Daisy gets older, dementia starts to set in. Hoke comes to visit her – perhaps for the last time – and as they sit on a bench, she reaches over, grabs his hand and tells her that she’s his best friend. For people who think that you can’t get the same connection from watching a play on film as you can by sitting in the audience, I defy you to watch that moment and not tear up.

Driving Miss Daisy is in theaters June 4th through June 10th. To find theaters in your area, click here.

Leave a Reply

http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/watch-andy-serkis-talks-motion-c.jpg
Watch: Andy Serkis Talks Motion Capture, His Career and More
This week saw the release of the final film in The Lord of the Rings saga, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Out of the dozens of actors who appeared in the series, the one whose career was most defined by the six-film franchise is Andy Serkis, who portrayed Gollum in the series […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/dan-stevens-summer-in-february.jpg
Dan Stevens Recalls When Shia LaBeouf Disrupted One of His Broadway Performances: “I wish I’d had a broadsword then”
Though Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb is billed as the final movie in the fantasy series, it still incorporates some new blood into the mix alongside franchise favorites like Ben Stiller and Robin Williams. The most significant new addition is Dan Stevens of Downton Abbey, who plays Lancelot. Lancelot doesn’t realize that […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/bradley-cooper-the-elephant-man.jpg
Bradley Cooper Takes A Grad School Dream To The Broadway Stage With, ‘The Elephant Man’
Bradley Cooper is proving to be an actor who wants a career defined by strong work. Instead of solely relying upon franchises like The Hangover, the Oscar nominee is mixing it up again between the big screen and the stage. Cooper is starring in The Elephant Man on Broadway this theatre season. It’s a role […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/bob-balaban-a-delicate-balance.jpg
Bob Balaban on Being a Character Actor: “It’s what I do and who I am and I really enjoy it”
With Glenn Close and John Lithgow in the cast of Broadway’s A Delicate Balance, it’s okay if you didn’t notice that veteran actor Bob Balaban is also in the cast. Balaban, who is probably best known for his roles in Christopher Guest‘s mockumentaries and for his supporting roles in dozens of other films, has returned […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/michael-c-hall-hedwig.jpg
Michael C. Hall on His Broadway Life After ‘Dexter': “There was a desire to perform an exorcism”
When it was announced that Michael C. Hall was replacing Andrew Rannells in Hedwig and the Angry Inch on Broadway, it was a bit of a surprise. It wasn’t that people thought Hall couldn’t pull off the role of a transgender rock star — he was previously on Broadway as the Master of Ceremonies in […]