Hummingbird Theatre Company is presenting the Pulitzer Prize and Oscar-winning play Driving Miss Daisy February 27 through March 3 at the Multi-use Community Cultural Center on Atlantic Avenue in Rochester.
Director Don Bartalo and his wife Denise, who plays Daisy, discussed the play and its themes Monday during News 8 at Noon.
Bartalo said by his recollection Driving Miss Daisy hasn’t been staged locally since Geva and the JCC produced it in the early 1990s. He felt the time was right, especially for the role of Miss Daisy. “The gal sitting next to me is – I think – a very good candidate to play the part of Daisy and these opportunities don’t always come along, and although this is not generally the kind of play I do, it’s a wonderful play. I just love it!”
For Denise Bartalo, playing Miss Daisy is a dream role. “I’m very pleased to be able to do it,” she said. “It’s a challenging role. It’s one of those iconic roles that a lot of actresses would kill for.”
Her character ages several decades during the course of the show. Joining her on stage is Jahaka Mindstorm as the chauffeur Hoke Coleburn and Tom Bigongiari as Daisy’s son Boolie.
The evolution of the relationship between Miss Daisy and Hoke is at the heart of the play. “She has a lot of inherent racist prejudices – and some of the thing that actually she says I find cringe-worthy- I’m kind of like, guh! – but, I think the whole point of this thing is that it – the play – is that the friendship between Hoke and Daisy as it evolves throughout the play,” Denise said. It shows that humanity and human beings connect in spite of all other things underneath. It shows that the love between two people can be a higher power, so to speak.
See this rare performance of Driving Miss Daisy at the Multi-use Community Cultural Center by purchasing your tickets for $20 at the door, or $15 in advance online at muccc.org.