*First lady Michelle Obama praised award-winning performer Cicely Tyson Monday at a special White House screening of her latest work, “The Trip to Bountiful.”
The event was held in recognition of African-American history month, which FLOTUS said is about “honoring those who came before us” and “resolving to do our part to live up to that example.”
The Tony-Award winning play — originally created by playwright Horton Foote in 1953 — was revived on stage by Tyson and a stellar cast which drew massive crowds during the show’s run on Broadway and earned accolades for their distinguished work. Cable network Lifetime tapped Tyson and her stage co-stars Blair Underwood and Vanessa Williams for a film adaptation, to debut next month.
The first lady herself caught the play on Broadway and she told the film screening attendees that she enjoyed the moral lessons carried in the play’s plot along with Tyson’s “impressive” performance.
“This is so exciting – it is a wonderful movie and I am so thrilled that we have the opportunity to show it here at the White House,” Mrs. Obama said. “I had the pleasure of seeing the Broadway play last summer in New York with my girls and we were blown away by the story of persistence and hope and the ties that bind us all together.”
The film, also starring Keke Palmer, is set in the Jim Crow South and tells the story of an elderly woman named Carrie Watts (Tyson) who is preoccupied with returning to her home in Bountiful, Texas before she dies.
Tyson scored a best actress Tony Award for her portrayal of the tenacious Watts – adding to her distinguished body of work, which has landed her two Emmy Awards, and Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations.
“But Ms. Tyson’s story is so much more than honors and accolades,” Mrs. Obama said. “It is really about character, and determination and it’s about breaking barriers, not just for herself but for all of us who are blessed by her legacy.”
“The Trip to Bountiful” premieres on Lifetime on March 8 at 8 p.m.