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Cicely Tyson will return to Broadway in 'The Trip to Bountiful'

December 04, 2012|By Deborah Vankin
  • Cicely Tyson arrives at the premiere of "Alex Cross" at the Arclight Theater in October.
Cicely Tyson arrives at the premiere of "Alex Cross" at the Arclight… (Kevin Winter/Getty Images )

Emmy Award winner and Academy Award nominee Cicely Tyson is known for playing strong women facing great adversity – from civil rights leader Coretta Scott King to abolitionist Harriet Tubman.

Now she’ll bring her stage presence to the role of Carrie Watts in a new production of Horton Foote's “The Trip to Bountiful,” directed by Michael Wilson.

The role marks a return to Broadway for Tyson after three decades. “For years I have been searching for the perfect project to bring me back to my true home – the stage,” Tyson said in a statement. “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.”

“To do the play and role justice, you need an actress of rare stature and command,” added Wilson. “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.”

Tyson, who was married for seven years to Jazz icon Miles Davis, has been famously uncompromising in choosing acting parts – she has even turned down parts she felt were not realistic depictions of African American women.

On the big screen, Tyson portrayed a sharecropper’s wife in 1972's "Sounder," a role that earned her an Oscar nomination; she won two Emmys for the 1974 TV movie, "The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman," in which she played a former slave. Her role in the 1994 teleplay “Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All” also earned her an Emmy.

More recently, Tyson appeared in this year’s "Alex Cross," adapted from James Patterson's mystery series, as well as last year’s “The Help.”

"I said I have never — and never will — just work for money because I would end up on the psychiatrist's couch and all the money would go to him,” Tyson told The Times earlier this year. “I would rather have my peace of mind."

"The Trip to Bountiful" – about an elderly woman in the 1940s who yearns to return home to the small Texas town where she grew up – originally aired as a 1953 NBC teleplay starring Lillian Gish, who also starred in the Broadway version later that year. Foote adapted it as a 1985 movie. The film starred Geraldine Page, who won the Academy Award for her performance.   

The newest incarnation of "The Trip to Bountiful," produced by Nelle Nugent, will begin previews March 31, 2013, at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre. It opens April 23 for a 14-week limited engagement.  

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