Actress to star in spring revival of Foote's play

Cicely Tyson will topline a new Broadway revival of “The Trip to Bountiful,” bowing in the spring at the Stephen Sondheim Theater.

Nelle Nugent (“Time Stands Still,” “Stick Fly”) produces the revival of Horton Foote’s teleplay, which had a Broadway run soon after its initial 1953 airing on NBC. Michael Wilson, who’s directed a string of Foote plays including Rialto outing “Dividing the Estate” and Off Broadway marathon “The Orphans’ Home Cycle,” helms.

Tyson, the Emmy winner (“The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman”) whose film credits include “Sounder,” “The Help” and “Alex Cross,” was last on Broadway in “The Corn is Green” in 1983.

Gotham’s most recent major revival of “Bountiful” saw Lois Smith take on the lead role in a 2005 staging at Off Broadway’s Signature Theater. Production was well-received enough to stir talk of a Broadway transfer, but that never materialized because an appropriate Rialto house wasn’t available at the time.

Storyline centers on an old woman who at last makes a long dreamed-of return to her Texas hometown one final time.

Tyson’s stint in the lead role reps a twist in that prior stagings have toplined white actresses. But such race-blind casting is nothing Broadway hasn’t seen before, for example in the recent diverse-cast revivals of “Cat on a Hot in Tin Roof” (in 2008) and last season’s “A Streetcar Named Desire.”

On the bigscreen, “Trip to Bountiful” was adapted into a 1985 film that starred Geraldine Page in the role that won her an Oscar.

Creative team for the new stage production includes Jeff Cowie (sets), Van Broughton Ramsey (costumes), Rui Rita (lights) and John Gromada (music and sound). Production begins previews March 31 ahead of an April 23 opening for a run skedded to play 14 weeks.

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