THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL Plays Clevland Playhouse, Closes 2/27
A haunting American classic, THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL marks the first Cleveland Play House production of a work by Pulitzer Prize- and Academy Award-winner Horton Foote, and the world-premiere performance of this play by an African-American cast. Receiving the blessing of Hallie Foote, daughter of the playwright, this co-production with Round House Theatre is helmed by Timothy Douglas and stars preeminent African-American actress Lizan Mitchell as Carrie Watts. THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL begins in the Drury Theatre at Cleveland Play House on Friday, February 4 and runs through Sunday, February 27, 2011. Tickets are available at Cleveland Play House box office by calling 216.795.7000 ext 4 or online at www.clevelandplayhouse.com. THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL is presented with support from US Bank, Turner Construction, Cuyahoga Arts and Culture, and the Ohio Arts Council.
"Cleveland Play House is extremely proud to be producing one of the great American dramas in a unique way. It's an event of national significance and a terrific way for us to celebrate Black History Month," says Artistic Director Michael Bloom.
"THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL remains one of my all time favorite plays, and has been on my director's wish list for some time. So equal to my intent of providing a moving theatrical vehicle for the incomparably talented Lizan Mitchell is my desire to honor the prolific and uniquely American playwright Horton Foote. And given his recent passing, I felt the timing to uniquely honor him couldn't be more appropriate," remarks director Timothy Douglas. In describing his choice for non-traditional casting, Douglas says, "Because I remain committed to the playwright's original intent, all of the augmented socially-specific examples will only be communicated by way of the stage picture, coupled with the audiences' individual and collective knowledge of race relations. I hope this production will impart powerful new meanings in a unique Trip to Bountiful."
Trapped in a cramped Houston apartment with her soft-spoken son and self-absorbed daughter-in-law, widow Carrie Watts dreams of returning to her home in the small Gulf Coast town of Bountiful, where she grew up and raised her own family. Fearing that she's an imposition and chafing under her daughter-in-law's watchful eye, she steals away with her latest pension check and heads home in the journey of a lifetime. The result is an unforgettable meditation on the idea of home and its power to sustain us.
THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL was originally written by Horton Foote as a movie for television in 1953. It starred Lillian Gish and Eva Marie Saint, who reprised their roles when the play went to Broadway later that year. Another prolific American actress, Geraldine Page, took on the role of Carrie Watts in 1985 in a film version written by Foote, winning the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance.
One of America's most celebrated dramatists, known for his distinctive literary grace chronicling the wistful side of the American odyssey, Horton Foote began writing his final screenplay Main Street in 2004 and completed it in late 2008. In a career that spanned seven decades and encompassed film, theatre and television during its' golden age, Foote drew his inspiration primarily from ordinary people coping with what he called life's "vicissitudes," those who's outward calm and stoicism belie their inner-turbulence. In more than 60 plays and films, Foote's work became part of America's great literary legacy, and his triumphs included his Pulitzer Prize-winning play The Young Man from Atlanta 1995 as well as his films THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL 1985, his Oscar-winning adapted screenplay of Harper Lee's classic To Kill a Mockingbird 1962, and his Oscar-winning original screenplay Tender Mercies 1983. Foote created emotionally rich, complex characters, particularly for women, as exemplified by Carrie Watts in THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL, originally played on television by Lillian Gish and later in the 1985 film by Geraldine Page in an Oscar-winning performance.
Lizan Mitchell (Carrie Watts) appeared on Broadway in Electra, Having Our Say, and So Long on Lonely Street. Off Broadway credits include an extended run of The Hurricane Katrina Comedy Festival, 2010's New York City Fringe Festival; Rosmersholm, 59E59 Theater; For Colored Girls Who have Considered Suicide when the Rainbow is Enuf, The American Place Theatre; Gum, Theatre Four/Women's Project; Salt, The Actors Studio; Ma Rose, Women's Project Theatre; and No Child, TheaterWorks. Selected regional work follows: The Last Fall, Crossroads Theatre Company; Having Our Say, McCarter Theatre; Fabulation, Baltimore CENTERSTAGE; Gem of the Ocean, Pittsburgh Public Theater; Starving, Wooly Mammoth Theatre; Goodman Theatre, Proposition Theatre, San Jose Repertory Theatre, Center Stage, Crossroads Theatre Company, and Actors Theatre of Louisville's Humana Festival. Film and television includes John Adams for HBO, The Good Wife, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, The Human Stain, The Preacher's Wife, Sesame Street, Law & Order and The Wire. Awards include Black Theatre Alliance, Best Actress; Helen Hayes, Best Actress; Audelco, Best Actress; and Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Nominations. Theatrical projects in development for this year include an adaptation of Uncle Vanya by Mallory Catlett and Blood Dazzler, an epic poem by Patricia Smith, adapted for the stage by Patricia and Paloma McGregor.
Doug Brown (Roy/ensemble) most recently appeared in Radio Golf at Milwaukee Repertory Theater. Other favorite productions include Piano Lesson and Jitney at Syracuse Stage and Actors Theatre of Louisville, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom at The Studio Theatre, Fuddy Mears at Woolly Mammoth Theatre, Crumbs from the Table of Joy at Round House Theatre, and Much Ado About Nothing at Folger Theatre.
Jessica Frances Dukes (Thelma) is a company member at Woolly Mammoth Theatre and earned her Masters of Fine Arts from The Catholic University of America. Her acting work includes Woolly Mammoth Theatre, IN THE NEXT ROOM or The Vibrator Play, Full Circle, Eclipsed, Fever Dream, Antebellum, and Starving; Studio Theatre, Passing Strange and Caroline, or Change; Round House Theatre, Permanent Collection; Ford's Theatre in association with African Continuum Theater, Jitney; Indiana Repertory Theatre, The Piano Lesson; Geva Theatre Center, The Piano Lesson; Theatre J, In Darfur; The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Unleashed: The Secret Lives of White House Pets and Izzy Icarus Fell Off the World; Tribute Productions in association with African Continuum Theater, Spunk Helen Hayes Award Nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress; Horizon Theatre Company, The Bluest Eye; Theater Alliance, The Bluest Eye and Insurrection: Holding History; Washington Stage Guild, Fanny's First Play; and African Continuum Theater, The Story.
Chinai J. Hardy (Jessie Mae Watts) most recently appeared in the world premiere of Pearl Cleage's The Nacirema Society Requests the Honor of Your Presence at a Celebration of Their First One Hundred Years at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival and ALLIANCE THEATRE. Other favorite productions include In the Red and Brown Water, Intimate Apparel and The Heart is a Lonely Hunter at ALLIANCE THEATRE; A Lesson Before Dying at Theatrical Outfit; Secrets of a Soccer Mom at Theatre in the Square; and In Darfur at Horizon Theatre. She is a 2008 Sundance Institute Acting Company member and an inaugural member of the New Bridges Fest with Aspen Theatre Masters and Palm Beach Dramaworks. Hardy is featured in the film Life Lines. She is a graduate of Stillman College.
Robert Jason Jackson (Ludie Watts) returns to Cleveland Play House after playing Scott Joplin in Tin Pan Alley Rag, 2001. He recently appeared as Othello with Denver Center Theatre Company. Other credits include Aida on Broadway, the Palace Theater; Richard II, Mark Taper Forum; Hamlet, Shakespeare Theatre Company; Permanent Collection, Arizona Theatre Company and Ensemble Studio Theatre; Oak and Ivy, Crossroads Theatre; Piano Lesson, Trinity Repertory Company; The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds her Chameleon Skin, Playwright Horizons; The Treatment, Public Theater, Funnyhouse of a Negro, Signature Theatre; A Soldier's Play, 2econd Stage Theatre; Death and the Kings Horseman, Goodman Theatre; and he appeared in the original cast of Colored Museum, Crossroads Theatre Company. Film and television includes Law & Order, Law & Order: SVU, Third Watch, New York Undercover, New Jersey Drive and Altamont High. Jackson is jazz vocal soloist on Conjure: Music to the Texts of Ishmael Reed and Dancing with Cab Calloway, both on Pangaea Records.
Lawrence Redmond (Sheriff/ensemble) Recent efforts this year include portraying Alfred Morris in Permanent Collection at Round House Theatre, Dimas in the musical version of Triumph of Love at Olney Theatre Center, Valkenburgh in New Jerusalem by David Ives at Theater J, Wordsworth and others in Travels With My Aunt at Rep Stage, and Duke of Norfolk in Henry VIII at the Folger Shakespeare Library. He finishes out the season as Harari in Ruined by Lynn Nottage at The Mead Center for American Theatre at Arena Stage. Redmond is a 2010 Artist Fellowship Grantee from the Washington, DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, a recipient of the Theater Lobby/Mary Goldwater Award and a two-time recipient, and nine time nominee of the Helen Hayes Award.
Horton Foote (Playwright) One of America's most celebrated dramatists, known for his distinctive literary grace chronicling the wistful side of the American odyssey, Horton Foote began writing his final screenplay Main Street in 2004 and completed it in late 2008. In a career that spanned seven decades and encompassed film, theatre and television during its' golden age, Foote drew his inspiration primarily from ordinary people coping with what he called life's "vicissitudes," those who's outward calm and stoicism belie their inner-turbulence. In more than 60 plays and films, Foote's work became part of America's great literary legacy, and his triumphs included his Pulitzer Prize winning play The Young Man from Atlanta 1995 as well as his films THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL 1985, his Oscar winning adapted screenplay of Harper Lee's classic To Kill a Mockingbird 1962, and his Oscar winning original screenplay Tender Mercies 1983. Foote created emotionally rich, complex characters, particularly for women, as exemplified by Carrie Watts in THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL, originally played on television by Lillian Gish and later in the 1985 film by Geraldine Page in an Oscar winning performance. Georgiana, one of the five pivotal characters in Main Street played by Ellen Burstyn is her kindred spirit. Another highlight of Foote's film career was Tender Mercies for which Robert Duval won an Oscar as Best Actor portraying a washed up alcoholic country western singer. Frank Rich, chief theatre critic of The New York Times, called Foote "one of America's living literary wonders" and "a major American dramatist whose epic body of work recalls Chekhov in its quotidian comedy and heartbreak, and Faulkner in its ability to make his own corner of America stand for the whole." Charles McNulty of Los Angeles Times is quoted as saying, "The truth is that every time an actor steps into one of Foote's characters, something wonderful has the potential to occur. Behind this remarkable longevity is a reverence for the interior life, that fortress of consciousness in an inexplicable wilderness, and a compassion for all of those courageous enough to confront the confounding reality of their being." 2009 saw Horton Foote's landmark nine-play epic, The Orphans' Home Cycle that many believe to be his theatrical masterpiece. It was produced by Hartford Stage September 3rd - October 24th, 2009 and Signature Theatre November 5th, 2009 - April 10th, 2010, garnering critical acclaim and several awards including The Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Off Broadway Play, the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play, and a Special Drama Desk Award for Excellence in Theatre.
Timothy Douglas (Director) was recently named artistic director of Chicago's Remy Bumppo Theatre Company and will begin his duties there this summer. He served as associate artistic director for Actors Theatre of Louisville from 2001 - 2004 where he directed numerous productions including three Humana Festival premieres. He has directed nearly 100 stage productions, and recent credits include his acclaimed Caribbean-inspired Much Ado About Nothing for the Folger Shakespeare Theatre, the world premiere of August Wilson's Radio Golf for Yale Repertory Theatre, Insurrection for Theatre Alliance garnering Douglas two Helen Hayes Award nominations, and a premiere translation of Ibsen's Rosmersholm off Broadway for Oslo Elsewhere. Representative assignments include In the Blood, Guthrie Theater; Bocon, Mark Taper Forum where he was Mellon fellow / director in residence; the world premiere of Line in the Sand, Virginia Stage Company; the world premiere of The Night is a Child, plus Gem of the Ocean and Trouble in Mind, Milwaukee Repertory Theater; the west coast premiere of A Feminine Ending, South Coast Rep and Portland Center Stage; Good Breeding, American Conservatory Theater; Pride and Prejudice, Playmakers Rep; Assassins and Blues for an Alabama Sky, Berkshire Theatre Festival; Shakespeare's R&J, Sorrows and Rejoicings, and A Raisin in the Sun, City Theatre; The Crucible and Intimate Apparel, Syracuse Stage; The Game of Love and Chance, San Jose Rep; Portia Coughlin and The Cripple of Inishmaan, Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre; Valley Song, Berkeley Rep; and Mules for Downstage Theatre in Wellington, New Zealand. Douglas is a graduate of Yale School of Drama.
Bridget Leak (Assistant Director) is an "army brat," having lived in such places as Georgia, Indiana twice, Virginia, New York, Germany, Texas, Pennsylvania, Switzerland, Belgium and France twice. As a director, she has worked in France; Pennsylvania; Minnesota; Washington, DC; and New York City. Her recent NYC directing credits include The River Valeo, New York International Fringe Festival; Black Meat, The Samuel French Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival; Admitted, Theatre Row; This Is Our Youth, The Tank; and a Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints interpretation of The Taming of the Shrew, The Secret Theatre. She recently received her Master of Fine Arts in Directing from The Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University and has a Bachelor of Arts in German and French from Lycoming College. Leak is an associate member of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.
Tickets for THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL range from $46 to $66, with discounts available for groups of ten or more, for senior citizens aged 60 and over, and for military reservists and their families. Tickets are $10 for all students under the age of 25. Based on availability, a limited number of $10 rush tickets go on sale 90 minutes before curtain and remain on sale until 30 minutes before curtain. Cleveland Play House is located at 85th and Euclid Ave. next door to the Cleveland Clinic near University Circle.