BY HENRY EDWARDS
One of Broadway's greats, Academy Award nominee and Emmy Award-winning actress Cicely Tyson will return to Broadway for the first time in 30 years to star in a new production of Horton Foote's classic play, "The Trip to Bountiful," directed by Michael Wilson and produced by Nelle Nugent.
The 14-week limited engagement begins previews on Easter Sunday, March 31 at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre. Opening night is scheduled for Tuesday, April 23.
"The Trip to Bountiful" tells the story of Carrie Watts, an elderly woman who dreams of returning to her small hometown of Bountiful, Texas one last time, against the wishes of her overprotective son and domineering daughter-in-law. Her journey becomes a heartbreaking but ultimately life-affirming and inspiring tale that examines the fragility of memory and celebrates the enduring power of hope and faith.
One of the most celebrated actresses of the last 50 years, Tyson, 78, is the first African American to win an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress and the only actress to receive an unprecedented two Emmy Awards for the same role as Jane in "The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman." She was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in the feature film "Sounder."
Tyson’s first professional stage performance, in the highly acclaimed, long running stage production of Jean Genet's "The Blacks," along with her performance as Mavis in "Moon on a Rainbow Shawl," earned her the coveted off-Broadway Vernon Rice Award. Her last stage appearance was in the Broadway revival of "The Corn is Green" in 1983. She received an additional Emmy Award for “The Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All” and was also nominated for her performances in “Roots,” “King” (portraying Coretta Scott King), “Sweet Justice,” “The Marva Collins Story,” “A Lesson Before Dying” and “Relative Stranger.”
Director Michael Wilson is one of the most acclaimed interpreters of Horton Foote’s plays, having directed "Dividing the Estate" on Broadway, as well as the premiere of Foote’s three part, nine-hour epic "The Orphans’ Home Cycle," for which he received a Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Direction of a Play. He also staged Foote’s "The Carpetbagger’s Children" for Lincoln Center Theatre and "The Day Emily Married" for Primary Stages.
Foote, who died in 2009 at the age of 92, was an American playwright and screenwriter, perhaps best known for his screenplays for the 1962 film "To Kill a Mockingbird" and the 1983 film "Tender Mercies," and his notable live television dramas during the Golden Age of Television. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1995 for his play "The Young Man from Atlanta." In 2000, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts.
"The Trip to Bountiful" premiered as a teleplay on NBC in 1953, starring Lillian Gish as Carrie Watts. The play had its Broadway premiere later that year with the same cast, which also included Eva Marie Saint. The play was adapted by Foote into an acclaimed 1985 film starring Geraldine Page, for which she won the Academy Award. In 2005, Signature Theatre produced the play Off-Broadway starring Lois Smith, for which she won Lortel, Obie, Outer Critics and Drama Desk Awards.