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DRIVING MISS DAISY - See the American Classic Before It Rides Off on a National Tour! Now - February 2

December 30, 2013

Philadelphia, PA: Walnut Street Theatre’s Independence Studio on 3 continues its season with Alfred Uhry’s Pulitzer Prize-winning classic Driving Miss Daisy. Philadelphia audiences will be the first to travel this timeless, hopeful journey before it becomes the fourth national tour of a Walnut Street Theatre production. Driving Miss Daisy begins in Philadelphia with previews on January 14th, opens January 16th and runs through February 2nd in the intimate Independence Studio on 3.

Audiences are invited to take a ride down memory lane and experience the magic that made Driving Miss Daisy a Pulitzer Prize-winning hit and an Academy Award-winning film. It's Atlanta, 1948. When the elderly Miss Daisy has an accident, her son hires Hoke, an African American, to be her chauffeur. At first Miss Daisy will have none of it. On their journey however, the two become friends. Driving Miss Daisy is an iconic tale of pride, changing times and the transformative power of friendship that has warmed the hearts of millions.

Driving Miss Daisy was written by American playwright and screenwriter Alfred Uhry in 1987, and went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off-Broadway Play. This play was the first in Uhry’s “Atlanta Trilogy.” The second in the trilogy, The Last Night of Ballyhoo, received the 1997 Tony Award for Best Play. The third, Parade, was awarded with the 1999 Tony Award for Best Book (Musical) for the libretto, which was written by Uhry. In 1989 he wrote the screenplay for Driving Miss Daisy, which received four Academy Awards, including Best Screenplay, Best Picture and Best Actress (Jessica Tandy). He is one of only a few individuals who have received a Pulitzer Prize, an Academy Award and a Tony Award.

Driving Miss Daisy had its world premiere Off-Broadway in April, 1987 at the Playwrights Horizons and ran through June, 1990. In 1988, a production opened in London’s West End, where it saw a revival in 2011. Driving Miss Daisy had its Broadway debut in October, 2010, and extended its run through April, 2011, due to popular demand. The Broadway production then toured Australia in 2013 with Angela Lansbury, James Earl Jones and Boyd Gaines.

Directing Driving Miss Daisy is Bernard Havard. He is proud to be directing this production as “the rich history of Atlanta and its people is important to the history of our great country. This show is a journey of the heart, as much as it is an actual journey. On stage you see a deep love develop through friendship during a turbulent time in America’s past, which inspires hope for everyone,” Havard noted. His directorial credits include Walnut Street Theatre’s 2013 production Good People, as well as God of Carnage, ART, Someone to Watch Over Me, Skylight and A Life in the Theatre. He has spent his life in theatre as an actor, stage manager, director, managing director and producer. Havard is recognized as one of America's leading theatre producers. Under his leadership, the Walnut became a not-for-profit, self-producing theatre and has gained international recognition as one of America's premier regional theatres.

Creating the roadmap to guide the journey is Set Designer Andrew Thompson (Around the World in 80 Days, Proof, The Glass Menagerie, Side by Side by Sondheim). He is joined by Costume Designer Julia Poisez (Doubt, Speaking in Tongues), Sound Designer Cory Neale (Proof, Noël and Gertie) and Lighting Designer Shon Causer (Elf, Good People, Ethel!).

With Johnnie Hobbs Jr. as Hoke Colburn, Wendy Scharfman as Daisy Werthan and Bill Van Horn as Boolie Werthan, Director Havard referred to the cast of Driving Miss Daisy as his dream cast. Hobbs Jr. is making his Walnut debut in this role, having recently retired after 30 years at University of the Arts’ Ira Brind School of Theatre Arts. He has performed in many of Freedom Theatre’s productions, including Black Nativity, Simply Heaven and Zooman and the Sign. Scharfman was last seen at the Walnut on its Mainstage as Lady Markby in Oscar Wildes’ An Ideal Husband. She toured with Walnut’s production of The Glass Menagerie in 2011 as Amanda. Bill Van Horn joins the cast fresh from playing Santa in the Walnut’s production of Elf. Van Horn has performed in many WST productions, including Around the World in 80 Days, Proof, The Music Man, Curtains and Fiddler on the Roof.

Following the success of the first three national tours of Walnut Street Theatre productions, The Glass Menagerie, Proof and Around the World in 80 Days, Driving Miss Daisy is the fourth Walnut production to embark on a tour. The Walnut celebrates Philadelphia’s finest talents and is proud to share them with America. For more information about Walnut Street Theatre national tours, visit

Season sponsor for the 2013-2014 Independence Studio on 3 Season is The Independence Foundation. Media season sponsors are Philadelphia Weekly and WRTI Radio. Tickets are $30-$40 and are now available at 215-574-3550 or 215-336-1234. Tickets are also available at or