One day a few weeks ago quite by happenstance I discovered that the Alhambra Dinner Theatre was currently performing Driving Miss Daisy. I am a huge fan of the movie staring Morgan Freeman and Jessica Tandy. As luck would have it I was looking for something to do for my wife’s [redacted]th birthday. This seemed perfect.
It has been many years since we went to the Alhambra, since before they changed ownership and re-opened in 2009. Before that we had seen a number of shows there including 1776 and A Christmas Carol.
As usual the Theatre, which has been in operation in Jacksonville for 46 years, did not disappoint. The food and service was excellent and the wine we chose in the dark with little to go on turned out great as well.
In this production Daisy is played by Michael Learned of The Waltons fame. She has big shoes to fill being compared to Jessica Tandy but she pulls off the role beautifully. Lance E. Nichols carries the role of Hoke with great poise and humor. Together the chemistry is fantastic as it has to be for this story to work.
The story of Daisy and her reluctant acceptance of an African American chauffeur after wrecking her car and losing her ability to drive is told in this version in a series of short vignettes with only Learned, Nichols and Michael Edward Hodge (as Boolie) in the cast. Two stools represent the various cars where a large part of the story takes place. The sets are minimal but the acting was superb and the story is as always tremendously compelling. Filled with humor and with great sadness this production does great honor to this fine drama and made for a wonderful experience and a night I hope my wife will remember for many birthday’s to come.
We have already purchased tickets for our next Alhambra production Murder Among Friends staring Loretta Swit. The ADT is truly a Jacksonville treasure.