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Last updated: Thu. Jan. 09, 2014 - 10:25 am EDT

Unlikely friendship the foundation as First Presbyterian Theater's 'Driving Miss Daisy' explores race and aging

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'Driving Miss Daisy'

What: A wealthy, Jewish southern woman, Daisy, and her African-American chauffeur, Hoke, forge an unlikely friendship.

When: 7:30 p.m. tonight, Friday, Saturday and Jan. 17, 18, 24 and 25; and 2 p.m. Jan. 19

Where: First Presbyterian Theater, 300 W. Wayne St.

Cost: Thursday preview $10. Pre-sale tickets are $20 general admission, $18 for ages 65 and older; full-time students free with reservations. Tickets purchased at the door are $24 general admission, $22 for ages 65 and older, and $10 for full-time students. Call 422-6329 or 426-7421, Ext. 121, to purchase tickets, or order at www.firstpresbyteriantheater.com.

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They were polar opposites who became best of friends. And their story still resonates today, reminding us to look beyond differences in skin color and background to find our common ground.

“They” are Daisy Werthan and Hoke Colburn, fictional characters from the beloved play and movie “Driving Miss Daisy.” First Presbyterian Theater is putting on the play this weekend and the next two.

Written by Alfred Uhry, the play won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1988. It is set in the years from 1948 to 1973, during the height of the civil rights movement. In 1989, it was made into a movie starring Morgan Freeman as Hoke, Jessica Tandy as Daisy and Dan Aykroyd as Daisy's son, Boolie. The movie won four Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actress for Tandy.

Both a comedy and a drama, the story focuses primarily on race, but also is a story about aging. As the story begins Daisy, 72, a wealthy southern Jewish widow, has just wrecked her brand-new car. Her son insists she stop driving and hires Hoke, a 60-year-old African-American, to be her chauffeur.

At first, Daisy has nothing to do with Hoke, but eventually she warms up to him. Over the years, they become friends and discover they have more in common than they ever imagined.

Eventually, Daisy begins to show signs of dementia, and Hoke stops driving, enlisting his granddaughter to drive for him. Hoke and Daisy remain best friends as she slowly slips away from him.

clarson@news-sentinel.com


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