Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Driving Miss Daisy Auditions

Beth Marshall Presents will bring "Driving Miss Daisy" to the Winter Garden Theater February 12th to the 28th. I sat in on the auditions for this show. Seated at the table are Aradhana Tiwari, the Director, and Beth Marshall the Producer. This auditions process stood in stark contrast to the auditions for Crimes of the Heart. Crimes took 2 agonizing days for the cast to be solidified but this auditions process was fast and painless taking only about 3 hours with about a dozen actors and actresses auditioning.
One actress with a bit of a haughty attitude who reminded me of Sheila in Chorus Line, entered the room and when she greeted the director she wouldn't let go of her hand. The actresses head shot was from about 20 years ago. After doing the reading she demanded to read another section of the play. Beth said that would be fine and she could come back in after the next set of actors had finished their audition. The actress said emphatically "I should say so". After a long pause, Beth said, "You know what, lets not waist your time or mine, you can leave." Beth felt bad for the actor who had auditioned with this actress. She could see that he was embarrassed by the exchange.
Another actress who auditioned for the roll of Daisy was about 30 or 40 years to young for the part. She walked in wearing a black dress with a white lace collar and a gray haired wig. She reminded me of Norman Bates Mother in "Psycho". Beth glanced over at me and smiled. I was smiling as well. There is something charming about an actress going for a role which is so out of reach.
When I sketched the auditions I tried to pick the actors that I felt were best for the rolls to go in my sketch. At this audition I hit a home run and sketched Elizabeth Murff who will play Daisy and Michael Mormon who will play Hoke. I had met Elizabeth once before at Beth Marshall's Halloween Party. Elizabeth had won for the best costume as a Cougar. Michael who is 60 had played the roll of Hoke 20 years ago. He has a natural ease and seems very comfortable in the role. Elizabeth brings a humor and honesty to the part of Daisy that is endearing. When she said "Hoke, you are my best friend" the sincerity of this unlikely friendship warmed me, even in this early reading.
As they were packing up to leave, Beth remarked to Aradhana, "Now I had experienced the most difficult and the easiest auditions ever with you."

2 comments:

Beth Marshall said...

I love this so much.
This is also some of your best writing :)

Thor said...

Beth, so happy you liked the article. Writing about conflict is of course the most fun and I was worried I might have painted with broad strokes.