Driving Miss Daisy tells the warm-hearted and humorous story of the unexpected relationship between a stubborn Southern matriarch and her soft spoken chauffeur. Set in 1948 Georgia, the story revolves around Daisy Werthan, a 72 year old widow who is reluctant to accept the help of the compassionate Hoke Colburn, who has been hired by her son to drive her around. She eventually gives in and over the span of decades, their relationship transforms from one of necessity to companionship. This iconic tale of pride, changing times and the power of genuine friendship has warmed the hearts of millions. From its landmark Off-Broadway production in 1987 to the remarkable success of the Oscar-winning film version (4 Academy Awards, including Best Picture), the Mayfield Dinner Theatre is proud to present this Pulitzer Prize winning play that has become one of the most beloved stories of the late twentieth century.
Starring Michael Learned from The Waltons
By Alfred Uhry
From the landmark Off-Broadway production in 1987 and the Oscar-winning film (4 Academy Awards. including Best Picture)
Welcome to the Mayfield Dinner Theatre and our production of Driving Miss Daisy. This beautiful play was written in 1987 and won a Pulitzer Prize the following year. It is of course very well known due to the huge success of the movie in 1989, but prior to that the play enjoyed a very successful off –Broadway run, and also had brilliant revivals recently in both New York and London.
It is a warm-hearted and humourous study of the unlikely relationship between an aging, crotchety white southern lady and a proud, soft spoken African-American man. The play is set in 1948 in the deep south just prior to the civil rights movement, and spans a period of 25 years. We are thrilled to be able to present this show here at the Mayfield. My good friend Ron Ulrich is back to direct this. He has done a beautiful job bringing this production to the stage. We are also very excited to have an amazing cast perform this piece for you, all of whom are new to our theatre. It features three very talented actors; among them is of course Michael Learned, famous for her role as the mother on The Waltons. I am personally thrilled to have Michael appearing on our stage in this great play! Enjoy your evening at the theatre and thank you for your patronage
I love being at the Mayfield Theatre. It is second home to me, and being able to work here with Artistic Director Van Wilmott, this super crew, and the entire Mayfield staff is nothing short of a great pleasure.
I was Artistic Director here when it was Stage West, and then again after it became the Mayfield Dinner Theatre. It was a joy working with a great many stars of national and international reputation…being able to do this show with Michael Learned, Walter Borden and Doug Mertz is a gift! I am currently Artistic Director of Theatre Aquarius in Hamilton, Ontario, and have been, over the years, Artistic Director of Stage West Calgary, Huron County Playhouse, Neptune Theatre in Halifax, and of course, the Mayfield.
I’ve directed a huge range of projects throughout my career. Some favourites include: Double Act with George Segal, Rumors with Elliot Gould, California Suite with Elke Sommer, Social Security with Anson Williams, Proof with William Christopher, The Foreigner with Gary Sandy, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf with Fiona Reid and Nigel Bennet, Dinner With Friends with Joyce DeWitt, Frozen with Larry Yachimec, Who’s Under Where with Ian Clark and Michael Lamport, and a host of musicals including The Rocky Horror Show, Cats, The Producers, White Christmas, Beauty and the Beast, Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story, Jesus Christ Superstar and more.
Ms. Learned is a four-time Emmy award-winning actress; three for her work as Olivia Walton on the acclaimed TV series, The Waltons, and one for her role as Mary Benjamin in her own series, Nurse. She is also a three-time Golden Globe nominee. On stage, she most recently appeared in Driving Miss Daisy at both the New Theatre and The Rubicon, and also in Lewis Black’s One Slight Hitch at the Falcon Theatre. Other theatre appearances include Elizabeth The Queen at the Folger Shakespeare Library, Edward Albee’s All Over at The Gramercy Theatre and the McCarter Theatre, on Broadway in Gore Vidal’s The Best Man and Wendy Wasserstein’s The Sister’s Rosenzweig. West Coast premieres include Woman in Mind and Hapgood, both for American Conservatory Theatre. Ms. Learned’s involvement as a leading lady with ACT dates back to 1967. In Los Angeles she has appeared at the Ahmanson in Mary Stuart and Picnic; at the Mark Taper in A Month in the Country; and at the Geffen in Looking for Normal. She has toured in A. R. Gurney’s Love Letters and Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women. Michael premiered in Arthur Miller’s The Ride Down Mt. Morgan at Williamstown Theatre Festival. The eldest of six sisters, Ms. Learned spent her first decade on her family’s farm in Conneticut. When she was 11, Ms. Learned moved to Austria where her father worked for the U. S. State Department. While attending boarding school in England, she discovered the theatre and made it her life’s work. She was the leading lady at San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theatre where she frequently taught and appeared with her first husband, actor Peter Donat. Ms. Learned has appeared in the films For the Love of Mary, Life During Wartime, Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, and Power, directed by Sidney Lumet. Television appearances include Law and Order: SVU, Living Dolls, Profiler, A Father for Brittany, A Walton Easter, A Walton Wedding, Murder in New Hampshire, Roots: The Gift and All My Sons, to name a few. Michael lives with her husband in Los Angeles when not on location with respect to work.
Walter Borden CM is a Canadian actor, poet, playwright and activist originally from New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. Most prominent as an actor, he has performed throughout Canada, in Europe and the United States. Among his most significant work are the title roles in Hamlet (Persephone), Merchant of Venice (Acadia University Theatre) and Tartuffe (Neptune Theatre). Other stage credits are: Romeo and Juliet, Hosanna, Angels in America, Whale Riding Weather, Our Town, Gospel at Colonus (Neptune Theatre); Duchess of Malfi, Henry VIII, Harlem Duet, the Odyssey, MacBeth, Edward II (Stratford); Medea, Orpheus Descending (Stratford/MTC/Mirvish Productions); Fernando Krapp Wrote Me This Letter, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Canadian Stage); The Adventures of a Black Girl in Search of God, (Odsidian/Mirvish Productions). Film and Television includes: Nurse Fighter Boy, The Event, Feast of All Saints, Gerontophilia, Lexx and Platinum. He also recorded the album Walter Borden Reads the Sonnets of William Shakespeare to the Music of Fernando Sor with classical guitarist Paul Martell. Mr. Borden has received the Queen Elizabeth II Gold and Diamond Jubilee Medals; the Portia White Prize; the Leslie Yeo Award; the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award; and two Honorary Doctorates. He was inducted into the Order of Canada in 2006. This is his first performance in the province of Alberta.
Doug is thrilled to be making his Mayfield debut with this wonderful company! Since moving from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania almost four years ago, Doug has worked at many of Edmonton’s theatres, most recently at Shadow Theatre as Clay in Evie’s Waltz. Other Canadian credits include: Captain Markinson in A Few Good Men at the Citadel and Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, Pedro in The Absent One for StageLab, Antonio in The Tempest and various roles in Julius Caesar for Freewill Shakespeare, Egeus and Peter Quince in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Citadel, Doubt at Shadow Theatre, The Unseen at the Fringe (winner of the first ever Critics’ Choice Award), Pervert for Northern Light Theatre and August, Osage County also at the Citadel. Doug teaches part-time in the Drama Department at the University of Alberta and is the Director of the Foote Theatre School and Citadel Young Companies.