Group planning auditions for ‘Driving Miss Daisy’

Tribune staff reports

Jackson County Community Theatre will conduct auditions for the spring production of the comedic drama “Driving Miss Daisy” at 7 p.m. Feb. 15 and 16 at the Royal Off-the-Square Theatre, 121 W. Walnut St., Brownstown.

“Driving Miss Daisy” is a heartwarming drama about Daisy Werthan, a rich, sharp-tongued Jewish widow of 72. The setting is the Deep South in 1948 prior to the beginning of the civil rights movement. Having recently demolished another car, Daisy is informed by her son, Boolie, that henceforth she must rely on the services of a chauffeur.

The person Boolie hires for the job is a thoughtful, unemployed black man, Hoke, who Miss Daisy immediately regards with disdain and who, in turn, is not impressed with his employer’s patronizing tone and, he believes, her latent prejudice.

But, in a series of absorbing scenes spanning 25 years, the two, despite their mutual differences, grow ever closer to and more dependent on each other. Slowly and steadily, the dignified, good-natured Hoke breaks down the stern defenses of the ornery old lady as she teaches him to read and write.

In a gesture of goodwill and shared concern, she invites him to join her at a banquet in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. As the play ends, Hoke has a final visit with Miss Daisy, now 97 and confined to a nursing home, and while it is evident that a vestige of her fierce independence and sense of position still remain, it also is movingly clear that they have both come to realize they have more in common than they ever believed possible — and that times and circumstances would ever allow them to publicly admit.

The play appeared off-Broadway from 1987 to 1990, winning the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for drama and several other awards. The play was adapted into a screenplay for a 1989 film starring Jessica Tandy, Morgan Freeman and Dan Aykroyd, an adaption which was awarded the Academy Award for Writing Adapted Screenplay.

Roles to be cast for this production are Miss Daisy, an elderly white Southern woman; Hoke, an African-American man, also elderly, but somewhat younger than Miss Daisy; and Boolie, Miss Daisy’s middle-aged son.

The actors portraying Miss Daisy and Hoke do not necessarily have to be elderly but should be in the middle-age range or beyond. Joel McGill is directing. No preparation for the audition is necessary.

Anyone wishing to work on the production in an offstage capacity (lights, sound, set building, painting, ushering, costuming, etc.) is welcome to attend auditions or contact JCCT at 812-358-5228 or email mail@jcct.org.

“Driving Miss Daisy” is the last show of the 2015-16 season.

For information, visit jcct.org or contact JCCT by phone or email. The season is sponsored by a grant from the arts partnership of Indiana Arts Commission, National Endowment for the Arts and Columbus Area Arts Council.