By Tambay A. Obenson
shadow and act
First announced on this site on December 3rd, Cicely Tyson is returning to Broadway for the first time in 30 years, to star in a revival of Horton Foote’s 1953 drama The Trip to Bountiful, which will be directed by Michael Wilson.
The show is set to start a 14-week run on April 23, 2013 after previews that begin on March 31, at the Stephen Sondheim Theater.
Announced this afternoon, joining Tyson in the play, will be Cuba Gooding Jr. (making his Broadway debut), Vanessa Williams and Condola Rashad, who was most recently nominated for a Tony award, for her performance in Stick Fly (which is now becoming a film for HBO).
Here’s the entire plot of the play:
Set in the 1940s, the play tells the story of an elderly woman, Carrie Watts, who wants to return home to the small town where she grew up, but is frequently stopped from leaving Houston, by her daughter-in-law, and an overprotective son who won’t let her travel alone. However, old Mrs. Watts is determined to outwit her son and bossy daughter-in-law, and sets out to catch a train, only to find that trains don’t go to Bountiful anymore. She eventually boards a bus to a town near her childhood home. On the journey, she befriends a girl traveling alone and reminisces about her younger years and grieves for her lost relatives.
Her son and daughter-in-law eventually track her down, with the help of the local police force. However, Mrs. Watts is determined. The local sheriff, moved by her yearning to visit her girlhood home, offers to drive her out to what remains of Bountiful. The village is deserted, and the few remaining houses are derelict. Mrs. Watts is moved to tears as she surveys her father’s land and the remains of the family home. Her son eventually turns up, and drives her back to Houston.
Ms. Tyson will of course play Carrie Watts. Gooding Jr. will play her overprotective son and Williams, her bossy daughter-in-law; and Rashad will play the girl traveling alone who Carrie befriends on her journey.
The play was first produced as a teleplay on NBC in 1953, starring Lillian Gish as Carrie Watts; it would later premiere on Broadway premiere that same year with the same cast.
And in 1985, a film version of the play was produced, and starred Geraldine Page, who won an Academy Award for her performance.
So, clearly, this is a work that we could say should put Cicely Tyson in the running for what will be her first Tony nomination, and possibly win, in 2014.
The 14-week limited engagement will officially open on April 23.
“For years I have been searching for the perfect project to bring me back to my true home – the stage… In many ways Broadway is my Bountiful and I’m eager and honored to return with this strong, passionate, and funny character in a timeless American classic,” said Cicely Tyson in a press statement.