Cicely Tyson may be small of frame and advanced in years, but she can still bust clear through a wall. The fourth wall, I mean: the one that separates the audience from Horton Foote's wistful, beautifully wrought diorama, The Trip to Bountiful...Rashad is understated and touching as Carrie's temporary traveling companion...Gooding and Williams flesh out their roles with acute sensitivity and humor...Tyson, returning to Broadway after 30 years, looks perfectly at home...This soul-stirring and flawless staging performs the same rejuvenation: Bountiful seems as fresh and vibrant as the day Foote finished it.
THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL Broadway Reviews
Reviews of The Trip to Bountiful on Broadway. See what all the critics had to say and see all the ratings for The Trip to Bountiful including the New York Times and More...
Bountiful doings on Broadway indeed: Cicely Tyson gives a beautiful performance in a sterling new production of Horton Foote's touching play, "The Trip to Bountiful." The show...marks Tyson's first Broadway appearance in 30 years. It is obvious from her sensitive yet secure work here that Tyson has lost none of her stage technique. Expect to enjoy a memorable performance that you will cherish always.
“The Trip to Bountiful” is an American treasure, and Wilson and his wonderful company show us why in this not-to-be-missed production.
Nothing and everything happens on Carrie’s trip to Bountiful. Tyson, 79, suffuses every scene in Michael Wilson’s meticulous production with feeling yet little sentimentalism, a deft achievement that keeps the show from going gooey.
The casting here is splendid. Not only is Tyson feisty and funny and glowing with inner light, but her co-stars prove more than compelling: Vanessa Williams is politely savage as her preening daughter-in-law, icy without becoming a dragon. Cuba Gooding Jr., making his Broadway debut as her son, nails the kind man unfortunately caught in the middle of these two women. And the rising talent Condola Rashad, as a soldier's wife, turns a small role into a star turn...Michael Wilson...lets the words and action flow with a genuine gentleness and respect that allows each eye roll, shuffle and sigh to have its maximum impact. The care and love all the creators have for this play pours out from the stage.
For Carrie, played in the new Broadway revival (*** out of four) by a sparkling Cicely Tyson, Bountiful has become almost as mythic - a place she wants to revisit before receiving her greater reward. Standing in her way are her now middle-aged child, Ludie, and his self-serving wife, Jessie Mae, played by Cuba Gooding Jr. and Vanessa Williams. Ludie, struggling financially, frets about Carrie, while Jessie Mae frets about her mother-in-law's pension checks, which have been helping her sustain a modest but indulgent lifestyle.
No wonder this first-ever Broadway revival drew a powerhouse cast: Cicely Tyson is Mrs. Watts, with Cuba Gooding Jr. and Vanessa Williams as Ludie and Jessie Mae. They share the natural, prickly-but-affectionate rapport of a real family, not hired stars.
Following a 30-year Broadway absence, Tyson gives an awe-inspiring performance. She sings, she dances, she does everything but cartwheels. She's well matched by Vanessa Williams - wickedly funny as her bossy daughter-in-law - if not by Oscar winner Cuba Gooding Jr. (Jerry Maguire), who's out of his emotional depths as her broken-down son. Yet perhaps Tyson's best scene is with ex-Dukes of Hazzard star Tom Wopat. You'd think a burly, white small-town sheriff going nose to nose with a tiny black woman would be unsettling. But it's simply, quietly moving. B+
Tyson, who has said she admired this play since she saw Geraldine Page in the 1985 movie, says she told her agent, "get me my 'Trip to Bountiful' and I'll retire." Better, perhaps she'll make Broadway home.
Start shining the Tony award for Cicely Tyson, who's just plain wonderful in The Trip To Bontiful, Horton Foote's play about an older lady who wants to return to the Texas town of her youth, remembering it as a place of fertility and goodness.
This is a tender, deceptively simple work that requires great sensitivity. Director Michael Wilson has the right touch, but the dynamic seems off in the earlier scenes. Vanessa Williams comes on so strong, the other two characters seem in danger of being eaten by her. Later on, they all seem to find their stride, and by the end, Cuba Gooding Jr. delivers a moving portrayal.
The title destination in Horton Foote's "Trip to Bountiful"...is said to be a small, obscure town in Texas. But on the evidence of the performance of Cicely Tyson, who stars in the production that opened on Tuesday night under Michael Wilson's slow-handed direction, Bountiful is a code name for the Fountain of Youth..."Bountiful" often undercuts itself by broadening comic moments, especially in the early family-friction scenes in the Houston apartment...By the production's end...Ms. Tyson's Carrie has blossomed into genuine beauty during her nostalgic road trip, which makes the play's final moments considerably less sorrowful than they usually are. The 2005 Signature Theater revival of "Bountiful," starring Lois Smith, left me drenched in tears. But at the end of this one, I felt kind of optimistic.
[Tyson's] performance as Mrs. Watts is as remarkable for its spry, shuffling energy and wiliness as for its warmth and emotional transparency...Tyson's ability to convey stubborn resilience in the face of defeat is profoundly touching...But the production's tone is inconsistent, too often sacrificing truthful poignancy in favor of jaunty humor and manufactured sentiment. Instead of a quiet elegy that can cut deep with its sense of reaching for a past that exists now only in the imagination, it has become a heartwarming dramedy (a word I hate) of a kind regularly found on basic cable. It's still perfectly entertaining, just a long way from being all that this play can be.
Unlike some other famous dramas that have been uncomfortably adapted for African-American casts, Michael Wilson's tender revival of "The Trip to Bountiful" works extraordinarily well with the Watts family played by African-American actors...Cicely Tyson delivers a fully animated, very spirited performance that makes the audience want to root for her to finally arrive home. The statuesque Vanessa Williams is also an ideal choice for the self-centered Jessie May. Cuba Gooding Jr., who is making his professional stage debut, stresses Ludie's boyish persona, but looks ill-at-ease compared with his colleagues. 3 stars
Broadway for Cicely Tyson is clearly like riding a bike. Her last rendezvous in the rialto was in "The Corn Is Green" in 1983, but you'd never know that 30 years had passed by her exquisitely understated performance in the revival of Horton Foote's "The Trip to Bountiful"...This is Tyson's Carrie Watts, and not a false note is struck...It's a shame that the rest of the production, directed by Michael Wilson, one of Foote's most reliable interpreters, isn't up to Tyson's level. Gooding...is the weak link in the cast. What he brings in name recognition he takes away in inexperience.
The wonderful veteran actress Cicely Tyson packs plenty of that playing Carrie Watts, a homesick woman who goes to great lengths to remedy her ache. Tyson slowly but surely drives her way into your heart in a Broadway revival that casts the Watts family as African-American.
The problem, intermittently, is the tone. The director, Michael Wilson, a Foote expert, for some reason lets much of the first act play like comedy. Humor is there in the script, no doubt, especially in the animosity between the two women; when Jessie Mae fumes, Carrie feigns subservience, then does exactly what she wants to anyway. But Williams’s hauteur and stupendous beauty throw the scale out of whack, and Tyson overcompensates with antic old-ladyisms.
The play moves along deliberately, and glibly. It's easy to root for Carrie to establish her independence and reconnect with the joy of her youth, but her trip doesn't make great demands on our emotions.