Driving Miss Daisy-Ross Valley Players-July 11 to August 17-2008

Driving Miss Daisy - A Play by Alfred Uhry

When I first saw the movie, Driving Miss Daisy, I was taken by how well the actors portrayed their roles (Morgan Freeman as Hoke, Dan Aykroyd as Boolie and Jessica Tandy as Daisy). However, there was something missing in the movie version. The viewer didn’t get the feeling of intimacy with the players—specifically one felt that although the acting was impeccable, the actors in the movie were indeed acting their roles and somehow that prevented the viewer to empathize with the characters.
I realized thus that for this type of work to be effective, it should be in “live-real time” format and not in the detached movie version.
With top notch and careful direction and acting by Cris Cassell, Hoke played by Berton Bruno, Daisy by Anne Ripley, and Boolie by Alex Shafer we can identify and feel a compassion for each of the players.
Interestingly enough, the authentic dialects and personas of the players are almost identical to those of the actors in the movie. However, Hoke (Berton Bruno) in the play was far more convincing and more humble that Morgan Freeman in the movie. Miss Daisy (Anne Ripley) in the play was more realistic and down-to-earth than Jessica Tandy in the movie. And Alex Shafer (Boolie) in the play was more personable and not as superficial as Dan Aykroyd in the movie.
If you had already seen the movie version, by all means you are in a treat with the play. If you see the play first, it would be better to savor those images of the characters as they are in the play and there would be no need to see the movie other than for a pure intellectual or comparative exercise.

Ross Valley Playhouse www.rossvalleyplayers.com

As an afternote, for many who will be curious about the music in the play:

As Sound Designer for the Ross Valley Players’ production of “Driving Miss Daisy,” Billie Cox of Ross selected the various songs for the musical scene transitions featured in the play.

“Since the play moves from 1948 to the 70's pieces were chosen to evoke the period of each scene, create the right mood and, if possible make a humorous or serious comment in addition to the practical business of covering scene and costume changes,” said Cox.

Below is a chronological list of most of the music featured in “Driving Miss Daisy” :

After the Ball
Sittin' in the Sun -Louis Armstrong
Hard Times - Mavis Staples
Ain't She Sweet -Eddie Cantor
Free Eats - Count Basie
Cross Over the Bridge - Patti Page
Wide Open Spaces - Arthur Godfrey
Volga Boat Song - Paul Robeson
Speech on prejudice - Martin Luther King
Instrumentals -Ry Cooder
Summertime Blues - Eddie Cochran
Nice Work - Ella Fitzgerald
Psalm 19
_A_ You're Adorable (The Alphabet Song) - Jo Stafford & Gordon Macrae
Santa Baby - Eartha Kitt
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer - Gene Autry
Swing Down - Golden Gate Quartet
Feels Like Home - Bonnie Raitt
Old Friends - Lacy J Dalton
(Love Is Like A) Heatwave - Martha And The Vandellas
Freedom Train - Sweet Honey In The Rock
Cab Driver - Mills Brothers

In addition:
”Walk In” music was cuts from the late 40's when the play begins.
“Intermission Music” brought us chronologically from 1956 to 1964