Saturday August 31st I uprooted my life and moved from Minnesota to New York City. So far, so good! The first night my sister was visiting so we had to see a show of course. Many plays were sold out on a Saturday night but we were lucky enough to get rush tickets to “The Trip to Bountiful”. Cicely Tyson won a Tony this year for the “Best Actress in a Play” for her portrayal of Mrs. Carrie Watts. Her lovely speech stated, “I had this burning desire to do one more role…you’ve wrapped me up in your arms and now I can go home with a Tony…thank you, thank you, thank you.” Alongside her she had two well-known actors Cuba Gooding Jr. and Vanessa Williams.
The story, put simply, is about an older woman wanting to go home. She has moved away to Houston with her son and his snooty wife and longs to be back on her farm in the middle of Texas. The play takes place in 1953 and the costumes and set pieces reflect the time period well.
It is no wonder Cicely Tyson won a Tony Award for her performance. She was wonderful in the part, very intriguing and a joy to watch. Plus, the audience loved her. When she sang hymns, they sang along. When a sad scene was taking place, they oohed and aahed. When things were going well they clapped and cheered. It was no surprise when she took her bow that everyone stood up and yelled “bravo”. It’s always nice to see people overjoyed by live theater and a spectacular performance by an actor. Years ago, my family and I saw Vanessa Williams onstage as The Witch in “Into the Woods”. Watching her in this show, was an interesting casting choice and somewhat odd. She played the role of a bratty lady who nagged her mother-in-law. I much prefer her as the headstrong, tough woman who has her ducks in a row and can stand up to anyone. There’s no question she is a good actress and has a lovely singing voice, just unsure that she was right for this particular part. Cuba Gooding Jr. who usually plays Ludie (the son), was out the night we saw it. His understudy Leon Addison Brown was fine but not memorable. Adepero Oduye who played Thelma, the younger woman on the bus, reminded me of Jennifer Hudson. She seemed so innocent and a kind soul to Mrs. Watts.
“The Trip to Bountiful” was a sweet story. The show was carried by Cicely Tyson and in that respect, it was wonderful to watch. Although the audience may have appreciated it a little more than I did, I would say it was worth seeing for Cicely Tyson alone. The show is running now through October 9th. For more information take a look at the website: http://thetriptobountifulbroadway.com