On the Scene: ‘How I Learned To Drive’ Opens on Broadway

The 1997 play is playing on Broadway for the first time and stars part of its original cast.

“How I Learned To Drive” is officially running in New York. The Pulitzer Prize-winning play is running on Broadway for the first time since its release in 1997. The play by Paula Vogel first ran Off-Broadway in 1997 with actors Mary-Louise Parker (Li’l Bit ) and David Morse (Uncle Peck)  as the leads. Both actors are back to originating their titular roles. The show is currently staged at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre and produced by the Manhattan Theatre Club.

“How I Learned To Drive” is a very honest story about complex family relationships. Li’l Bit is trying to grow up in an environment where she’s not supported by her mother, stepfather, or grandmother so she turns to Uncle Peck. Their relationship seems healthy on the surface, but in actuality, it’s far from it.

There are moments that garner complete silence and moments of huge laughter,  but in general,  you’re left speechless. The staging is pretty simple, ensuring that the performances are really what shape the play.  The show is composed primarily of Li’l Bit’s monologues and Parker is definitely able to carry the show on her own, but the ensemble truly stands out as her family members. Parker and Morse have such remarkable chemistry as well. The play has no intermission and works well without it as each scene constantly demands attention.

“How I Learned To Drive” is a must-see before it closes on May 29. The show has gained three Tony nominations including Best Revival of a Play.


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