Driving Miss Daisy Recoups Investment

News   Driving Miss Daisy Recoups Investment
Producers Jed Bernstein and Adam Zotovich announced Dec. 21 that the Broadway production of Alfred Uhry's Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Driving Miss Daisy, has recouped its initial investment of $2.6 million in less than three months, making it the first play of the 2010-11 Broadway season to do so.

Vanessa Redgrave
Vanessa Redgrave Photo by Annabel Clark

In a joint statement, Bernstein and Zotovich said, "Clearly, audiences have taken to this production in a big way, and we couldn’t be more pleased."

It was recently announced that the production will extend its Broadway premiere engagement through April 9, 2011, at the John Golden Theatre. The play’s three stars, Tony Award winners James Earl Jones, Vanessa Redgrave and Boyd Gaines, will all remain with the production.

Directed by David Esbjornson, Driving Miss Daisy opened on Broadway at the Golden Oct. 25, 2010, where it has since broken all house records. The production was originally scheduled to run through Jan. 29, 2011.

From its Off-Broadway production in 1987 to the success of the Oscar-winning film version (four Academy Awards, including Best Picture), Driving Miss Daisy, according to producers, "is a timeless, searing, funny, and ultimately hopeful meditation on race relations in America, told through the complex relationship between two of popular culture's most enduring characters."

The play concerns Daisy Werthan, "a widowed, 72-year-old Jewish woman living in midcentury Atlanta, [who] is deemed too old to drive, [and] her son hires Hoke Colburn, an African American man, to serve as her chauffeur. What begins as a troubled and hostile pairing, soon blossoms into a profound, life-altering friendship that transcends all the societal boundaries placed between them." The production features scenic design by John Lee Beatty, costume design by Jane Greenwood, lighting design by Peter Kaczorowski, projection design by Wendall K. Harrington and sound design by Christopher Cronin with music by Mark Bennett.

In addition to the Pulitzer Prize, Uhry received the Academy Award for his screenplay of Driving Miss Daisy, and is the recipient of two Tony Awards – for his play The Last Night of Ballyhoo (Best Play 1997), and his book for the musical Parade (1998).

James Earl Jones won Tony Awards for his performances in The Great White Hope and Fences and was also Tony-nominated for his work in On Golden Pond. The actor has also been seen on Broadway in Cat On a Hot Tin Roof, "MASTER HAROLD"…and the boys, Othello, A Lesson from Aloes, Paul Robeson, Of Mice and Men, The Iceman Cometh, Les Blancs, A Hand Is on the Gate, Danton's Death, Infidel Caesar, The Cool Wind and Sunrise at Campobello. Jones' screen credits are numerous and include an Oscar-nominated performance in "The Great White Hope" and Emmy-winning turns in "Gabriel's Fire" and "Heat Wave."

Vanessa Redgrave is a Tony winner for her performance as matriarch Mary Tyrone in the recent revival of Long Day's Journey Into Night, and she was also Tony-nominated for her work in The Year of Magical Thinking. The acclaimed actress also earned an Oscar for her performance the film "Julia."

Boyd Gaines has won Tony Awards for his performances in Gypsy (2008), The Heidi Chronicles (1989), She Loves Me (1994) and Contact (2000). He was also Tony-nominated in 2007 for his work in the revival of Journey's End.

Driving Miss Daisy is produced on Broadway by Jed Bernstein, Adam Zotovich, Elizabeth Ireland McCann, Roger Berlind, Beth Kloiber, Albert Nocciolino, Jon Platt, StylesFour Productions, Ruth Hendel/Shawn Emamjomeh, Larry Hirschhorn/Spring Sirkin, Carl Moellenberg/Wendy Federman, Daryl Roth/Jane Bergére, in association with Michael Filerman.

John Golden Theatre is located at 252 West 45th Street. Tickets, priced $65-$125, are currently on sale via Telecharge.com.

Boyd Gaines and James Earl Jones
Boyd Gaines and James Earl Jones Photo by Carol Rosegg
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