NEW YORK -- Ending a three-decade absence from Broadway, Cicely Tyson will star in a revival this season of Horton Foote's 1953 play, The Trip to Bountiful, about the emotional return from Houston of an elderly woman to the small Texas town where she grew up.
Produced by Nelle Nugent, the play will be directed by Michael Wilson, whose productions of the late Foote's work, including Dividing the Estate and The Orphans' Home Cycle, have garnered considerable acclaim Off Broadway in recent seasons.
Tyson will take on the role of Carrie Watts, the central character traditionally played by a white actress. Bountiful originally premiered as a television drama starring Lillian Gish, who later took the play to Broadway. Geraldine Page won the best actress Oscar for the role in the 1985 film adaptation, and Lois Smith drew tremendous acclaim and a string of theater awards in the 2005 Off Broadway staging.
“For years I have been searching for the perfect project to bring me back to my true home – the stage,” said Tyson. “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.”
A 14-week limited engagement, the Broadway revival begins previews March 31 at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre, with opening night scheduled for April 23. Additional casting will be announced in the coming weeks.
Tyson won two Emmy Awards in 1974 for The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman and a third Emmy in 1994 for Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All. She was nominated for a best actress Oscar in 1973 for Sounder and more recently was seen onscreen in The Help.
"Cicely Tyson has, over the span of a distinguished career, depicted iconic Americans engaged in immense struggle," said Wilson. "Her legendary performances – from Jane Pittman to Coretta Scott King to Harriet Tubman, to name just a few -- have contributed mightily to our sense of national identity and character. I am thrilled that she is returning to the stage now to have her trip, to lead us all on a journey that promises to be unforgettable.”
The last appearance by the 78-year-old actress on Broadway was in The Corn is Green in 1983.