Stephen Sondheim Theatre
124 West 43rd St. between Sixth & Seventh Aves.
Tuesday - Sunday through September 1, $42 - $142
For its sixtieth anniversary, Horton Foote’s simply lovely The Trip to Bountiful, about an elderly woman’s search for home, has found its own home again on Broadway for the first time since 1953. Cicely Tyson, making her return to the Great White Way after a thirty-year absence, is unforgettably sweet as Carrie Watts, a dream role previously played by Lillian Gish in the original Broadway production, Lois Smith in a 2005 off-Broadway revival, and, most famously, by an Oscar-winning Geraldine Page in Peter Masterson’s 1985 film. Carrie is tired of living in Houston with her henpecked son, Ludie (Cuba Gooding Jr.), and his demanding wife, Jessie Mae (Vanessa Williams). While Carrie sits in her rocking chair reading a book, Jessie Mae complains about not receiving her mother-in-law’s pension check, and Ludie continually allows her to walk all over him and his mother. Fed up with the situation, Carrie decides to take off one day, boarding a bus back to her hometown, Bountiful, which she is desperate to see one last time before she dies. In the bus station, she is befriended by Thelma (Condola Rashad), a young woman who finds Carrie to be charming, even taking pleasure when the older woman starts singing hymns, something that drives Jessie Mae crazy. But little things keep getting in Carrie’s way, jeopardizing her journey. Tyson is delightful as Carrie, whether shuffling in and out of the kitchen of Jeff Cowie’s cramped Houston set or telling station agent Roy (Arthur French) and the sheriff (Tom Wopat) about her youth in Bountiful. Williams is excellent as the domineering daughter-in-law, bossing around her wimp of a husband. Directed by Michael Wilson (Gore Vidal’s The Best Man, Talley’s Folly) with an easy-flowing grace, The Trip to Bountiful has indeed made a bountiful return trip to Broadway.