'Driving Miss Daisy' wheels into Vegas
Although most people know Driving Miss Daisy from the Oscar-winning 1989 film starring Morgan Freeman and Jessica Tandy, the story of the bond between African-American chauffeur Hoke Colburn and his white employer Daisy Werthan began as a successful stage play by Alfred Uhry, which debuted Off-Broadway in 1987 (starring Freeman as Hoke) and won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1988. Uhry’s play, the first of three he wrote inspired by his experiences growing up Jewish in Atlanta, has been staged numerous times in the past three decades, including on Broadway in 2010.
Now Las Vegas-based actor (and UNLV theater professor) Clarence Gilyard and his onetime Walker, Texas Ranger co-star Sheree J. Wilson are mounting a new tour of the play, which stops in Vegas this week at The Smith Center. Although the play was written in the 1980s and takes place from the ’40s through the ’70s, Gilyard feels that its message of human connection is as relevant now as it ever was. “Hoke, in particular, must journey in history and spiritually survive a lifetime to affect humankind’s integrity. His story is critical to a healthy society,” Gilyard says. “These 90 minutes are a gift for your soul.”
The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, 7:30 p.m. Jan. 31, starting at $20 plus tax and fee. 702.749.2000