Why it’s definitely time to revisit ‘Driving Miss Daisy’

Courtesy The Eisemann Center for Performing Arts

The laughs are as delightful, but the drama delivers thought-provoking insight related not only to aging and losing one’s independence, but also the transcendence of racial prejudice and social convention as we learn to love each other.  

The Pulitzer-winning play is so iconic it is almost a parody unto itself; it spawned five Tony awards, a film starring Morgan Freeman and Jessica Tandy, not to mention a Saturday Night Live “Toonces the Driving Cat” skit in 1990, a Fallon-Freeman bit almost 30 years later and a torrent of lampoons and takeoffs in between.

Playwright Alfred Uhry (who also wrote the screenplay) is comedic, with cause, the narrative’s dialogue witty and poignant. The film toned down the hilarity, successfully so it could score Best Picture that year, because it just doesn’t much happen for comedies, and we’re talking the year “Glory” was in the running.

(Denzel for “Glory” did take home best actor over Freeman—I mean, that single teardrop during a brutal pole lashing is unsurpassed in the annals of acting, and the scene secured Washington’s rep as a leading man).

Dearly departed Roger Ebert wrote of “Miss Daisy”: “After so many movies in which shallow and violent people deny their humanity and ours, what a lesson to see a film that looks into the heart.” Aww.

Despite that KERA produced a star-studded (James Earl Jones, Angela Lansbury) “Great Performances: Driving Miss Daisy” a couple years ago, there’s a whole generation or two or three who sadly have no point of reference for the “Toonses” spoof. Who don’t even know who the hell Toonses is, for that matter, but that’s another story for another time.

And how sad is that? Because the narrative (while it might feel more contrived today) is dense with wisdom as sage as (at least in our imaginations) Morgan Freeman himself.

Fear not of missing out if you, your kiddos or significant other never enjoyed the satisfaction or good cry and life lessons that accompany “Driving Miss Daisy,” because your chance is Sunday, April 15—drag the brood or go solo to the live performance including a 1 p.m. pre-show reception and 2 p.m. show, for who knows how long it will be before another opportunity arises.

Plus, the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance, with the Eisemann, will use ticket sales to support the Holocaust Museum’s special exhibitions and year-round educational and community outreach initiatives—so basically if you have a heart (and expendable income), see you Sunday?

Finer details, summed up:

WHEN: Sunday, April 15, 2018, 1 p.m. pre-show reception, 2 p.m. performance

WHERE: Eisemann Center, 2351 Performance Dr, Richardson, TX 75082

STARRING:

Sheree J. Wilson, star of the television show “Dallas,” as Miss Daisy

Clarence Gilyard, star of the television show “Walker, Texas Ranger,” as Hoke Colburn, the driver

DETAILS:

Tickets and sponsorships may be purchased through the Museum by calling 469.399.5202, emailing Events@DallasHolocaustMuseum.org, or through this link.

Single tickets may be purchased for $150 apiece, and sponsorships begin at $1,000.

(So, if you are a struggling artist or journalist, etc. You can watch the full play here.)

The Dallas Holocaust Museum’s mission is to teach the history of the Holocaust and advance human rights to combat prejudice, hatred and indifference. So, ya know, good time for all that, huh? Located at 211 N. Record Street. Hours are Monday through Friday 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, please visit DallasHolocaustMuseum.org or call 214.741.7500.

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