Regional Reviews: Connecticut & the Berkshires
Regional Reviews by Zander Opper
Driving Miss Daisy
In the role of Miss Daisy's son Boolie, Mike Boland lends excellent support, and director Kevin Connor's fluidly staged production seems just right. It is a bit of a slender playjust 90 minutes without an intermissionbut Music Theatre of Connecticut has made the most of it in its pleasurable staging and it should offer much enjoyment to audiences.
On an elegant, multi-faceted set provided by scenic designer David Heuvelman, Driving Miss Daisy is essentially a lovingly written series of short scenes set in Atlanta, Georgia, between the time period of 1948 and 1973. As anyone who is familiar with either the play or the 1989 Oscar-winning movie version, the plot is about the growing relationship between Miss Daisy Werthan, an elderly Southern Jewish woman, and the African-American Hoke Coleburn, whom Miss Daisy's son has hired to drive his mother around. It is this slowly evolving tale that is at the center of the play and, consequently, it is of utmost importance that these roles are exceedingly well cast. Music Theatre of Connecticut's production is fortunate in having found ideal actors for these roles.
Rebecca Hoodwin gives a beautifully modulated performance as Miss Daisy. Ranging from extreme stubbornness to a kindness that is almost beyond her own will, this portrayal is a marvel. Likewise, Lorenzo Scott is equally wonderful and his Hoke proves to be the perfect foil for Miss Daisy. Ever warm and smiling, Hoke is full of charm, but he also displays an honesty that can pierce the heart. Alfred Uhry has provided dialogue that feels completely true to these two characters and it is a joy to watch Rebecca Hoodwin and Lorenzo Scott at work, as their characters' relationship slowly changes. As Miss Daisy's son Boolie Werthan, Mike Boland is quite fine and he rounds out the cast perfectly.
Director Kevin Connors keeps the action flowing smoothly throughout and his work with his actors is just marvelous. And while it can be argued that Driving Miss Daisy is a rather slim play, at its heart, Alfred Uhry's writing is quite beautiful, with many moments that can sneak up and move one to tears. Music Theatre of Connecticut's production is all you could ask for and it provides the ideal showcase for Rebecca Hoodwin and Lorenzo Scott to give indelible performances, lingering in memory long after the show has ended.
Driving Miss Daisy continues performances at Music Theatre of Connecticut in Norwalk, Connecticut through February 22, 2015. For tickets, please visit www.musictheatreofct.com or call (203) 454-3883.