Laguna Playhouse Presents DRIVING MISS DAISY

Laguna Playhouse presents the fourth show in its 98th season, four-time Emmy winner Michael Learned ("The Waltons") and Lance E. Nichols (HBO's "Treme") staring in the Pulitzer Prize award-winning play, DRIVING MISS DAISY, written by Alfred Uhry and directed by Michael Bloom. Executive Director Ellen Richard comments, "We are thrilled to bring in 2019 with this powerful and still vitally important play." Adds Artistic Director Ann E. Wareham, "Michael Learned and Lance E. Nichols will ignite the stage with their critically acclaimed powerful portrayals of these iconic characters. Led by our brilliant director Michael Bloom, this is a not-to-be-missed production to start the new year." DRIVING MISS DAISY will begin previews on Wednesday, January 9; will open on Sunday, January 13 at 5:30pm and perform through Sunday, January 27, 2019 at the Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Drive in Laguna Beach.
Sparks fly in Alfred Uhry's groundbreaking Pulitzer Prize-winning story about the decades-long relationship between a strong-willed, well-to-do Jewish woman and her black chauffeur, in the Jim Crow south. Set against a backdrop of changing world events between the late 1940s and early '70s, what begins as a troubled and hostile pairing soon blossoms into a profound, life-altering friendship that transcends all the societal boundaries placed between them.
MICHAEL BLOOM (Director) is the former artistic director of Cleveland Play House. Most recently directed Oh, Godat Mosaic Theatre, D.C. and The Invisible Handand The Price at Olney Theatre Center. Off-Broadway he directed the NY premiere of Sight Unseen at Manhattan Theatre Club (Drama desk nomination). Regional work includes Gross Indecency (Elliot Norton Award, Best production) at Huntington Theatre Company and the premiere of Dinner with Friends at Actors Theatre of Louisville. Other theatres include Williamstown Theatre Festival, South Coast Rep, Berkeley Rep, Old Globe Theatre, Long Wharf Theatre, Milwaukee Rep, Geffen Playhouse, Paper Mill Playhouse, Kansas City Rep, and Seattle Rep. In Tokyo: The Glass Menagerie and The Miracle Worker. Writings: Jane Austen's Emma (Samuel French), Nathan The Wise and Thinking Like a Director.
Alfred Uhry (Playwright) has the distinguishing honor of being the only American writer to win a Pulitzer Prize, an Oscar award and a Tony award. A graduate of Brown University, Uhry left his native Atlanta for the bright lights of New York City as a newlywed in 1959 to become a lyricist. Struggling to make ends meet for almost twenty years, he hit success in 1976 with The Robber Bridegroom- a bawdy Southern fairy tale based on a Eudora Welty story for which he received a Tony Award nomination for Best Book of a Musical. (The Tony went to the writers of A Chorus Line.) Ten years later he wrote his first play, the smash hit, Pulitzer Prize-winning Driving Miss Daisy. He would later win an Oscar for the movie adaptation starring Jessica Tandy and Morgan Freeman. Soon after, the Olympic Games' Cultural Olympiad commissioned Uhry to write a play for the Summer 1996 Olympics in his hometown of Atlanta. Thus the Tony Award-winning Last Night of Ballyhoo was born. Known for writing charming, engaging yet somewhat quirky Southern characters, Mr. Uhry's next endeavor, Parade, is a darker look at the nuances and history of the South. This chilling true-life story of the lynching of Leo Frank won a second Tony award for Mr. Uhry as Best Book of a Musical in 1999.
The cast of DRIVING MISS DAISY will feature:
MICHEAL LEARNED (Daisy Werthan) has won a record four Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series; three for The Waltons (1973, 1974, 1976), and one for Nurse (1982). She was also nominated for four Golden Globe awards for her work on The Waltons, and one People's Choice Award for Favorite Female Performer in a Television Program. Her work on stage has earned her multiple Drama-Logue Critic Awards and a Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Achievement for her work in Hapsgood. She's appeared on Broadway in Gore Vidal's The Best Man, The Sisters Rosensweig, and The Three Sisters and in the national tours of On Golden Pond, Three Tall Women and Love Letters. Regionally, she's performed across the country at theatres including a five-year stint with A.C.T. Ms. Learned has also made a number of television guest appearances, including recurring roles for "General Hospital," "Scrubs," "One Life to Live," and "Profiler."
LANCE E. NICHOLS (Hoke Colburn) This veteran character actor is best remembered in his starring role as dentist Larry Williams in four seasons of HBO's critically acclaimed "TREME". The series chronicled the lives of post Hurricane Katrina natives during the rebuild. His memorable performance as the "faith healing" preacher in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button", garnered high praise. He recurs as The River King in AMC's series "Into The Badlands" and recently appeared on the new SyFy/USA series "The Purge" as the villainous Otos under the direction of the Emmy Winning Anthony Hemingway. Mr. Nichols and his wife Zardis co-own Lanzardis Productions. They recently produced the television pilot "Shepherd", which won Best Drama and Best Actor in Drama, at the prestigious 2017 ITV Fest. Their win garnered a development meeting with HBO. Lanzardis also specializes in the training of young professionals in the entertainment industry.
David Nevell (Boolie Werthan) is thrilled to be returning to Laguna Playhouse, having previously appeared in Twelve Angry Men and The Odd Couple. Other credits include: Shakespeare in Love, Peter and the Starcatcher, Arms and the Man (South Coast Rep); A Walk in the Woods, God of Carnage (International City Theatre); Twelfth Night (New Swan Shakespeare); The Morini Strad (The Colony); Comedy of Errors, Twelfth Night, Romeo & Juliet (Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles); Crazy for You, On Borrowed Time, My Fair Lady (La Mirada Theatre). Regional: The Scene (Ensemble Theatre of Santa Barbara); Amphitryon (Huntington Theatre Company); The Crucible (Pittsburgh Public); Henry VIII, The Tempest (Utah Shakespeare Festival); The Game of Love and Chance (San Jose Rep); Light Up the Sky, The Winter's Tale, Arcadia, among many productions while a Resident Artist atPCPA/Theaterfest. Film/TV: Submerged and Americana.
The Design Team for DRIVING MISS DAISY is as follows: Scenic Design by James Fouchard; Lighting Design by Martha Carter; Original Sound Design by Aerik Harbert; Sound Design by Kate Wecker; Original Costume and Wig Design by Jackie Rebok and the Production Stage Manager is Karen Schleifer.
The season is generously underwritten by The Hale Family.
DRIVING MISS DAISY will begin previews on Wednesday, January 9; will open on Sunday, January 13 at 5:30pm and perform through Sunday, January 27, 2019 at the Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Drive in Laguna Beach.
Performances will be Wednesdays through Fridays at 7:30pm; Saturdays at 2pm & 7:30pm; Sundays at 1:00pm. There will no performance on Sunday, January 13 at 1:00pm. There will be added performances on Thursday, January 10 at 2pm; Tuesday, January 15 at 7:30pm; Sunday, January 20 at 5:30pm and Thursday, January 24 at 2pm.
Tickets range from $55 - $85 and can be purchased online at or by calling (949) 497-ARTS (2787). Group discounts are available by calling 949-497-2787 ext. 229. Prices subject to change.
The box office is open Mondays - Saturdays: 11a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sundays: 11a.m. - 4p.m. (open until showtime on all performance days).

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