Totem Pole Playhouse hosted four-time Emmy Award Winner, Ms. Michael Learned, Olivia Walton from the classic TV series “The Waltons” (as seen locally weekdays at 3 & 4 pm on the Inspire Network) on Thursday, May 11. She answered questions about her upcoming role as ‘Daisy Werthan’ in Totem Pole Playhouse’s season opening production of Driving Miss Daisy. Joining Ms. Learned was her co-star, Lance E. Nichols, from the HBO series ‘”Treme,” who will portray the chauffer, ‘Hoke Coleburn,’ in the play, as well as the production’s director, Michael Bloom.
Michael Learned and Lance Nichols have performed “Driving Miss Daisy” seven different times, all at different theaters. Lance has performed it an additional three times without Michael. Mr. Nichols said, though the play is 30 years old, the message is just as valid today as it was so many years ago. “Driving Miss Daisy” is not only a love story, but it’s funny. Ms. Learned commented that sometimes getting a first laugh is like giving someone the best Christmas present ever.
Set in mid-century Atlanta, “Driving Miss Daisy” tells the story of an elderly Jewish matron, Daisy Werthan, who is none too happy about being forced to rely on a black man to get her from one place to the next. Gradually, however, Hoke wins her over, and during the 25-year span of the play, the two develop a deep-rooted affection. The Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece is a delicate depiction of racial tensions, the passage of time, and the experience of aging. Playwright Alfred Uhry creates two outsiders who come to a mutual respect grounded in each of their independence, strength, and stubborn integrity.
Totem Pole Playhouse is presenting “Driving Miss Daisy” May 26 to June 11. Purchase tickets online here or contact the box office at 888-805-7056 or 717-352-2164.