The all-black stage production of “The Trip to Bountiful” will soon be a Lifetime TV movie.
Surely, there can be nothing more “heady” for an actor than being sought to reprise the role she so fully embodied onstage, in another medium: TV.
Such is the case for actors Cicely Tyson and Vanessa Williams as per a notice published on Backstage.com. In the play, Tyson stars as Carrie Watts, an elderly woman with dreams of returning to her childhood home and Williams co-stars as the bossy daughter-in-law that constantly tries to stop her.
The plot of the play goes like this:
Set in the 1940s, the play tells the story of an elderly woman, Carrie Watts, who wants to return home to the small town where she grew up, but is frequently stopped from leaving Houston, Texas by her daughter-in-law, and an overprotective son who won’t let her travel alone. However, old Mrs. Watts is determined to outwit her son and bossy daughter-in-law, and sets out to catch a train, only to find that trains don’t go to Bountiful anymore. She eventually boards a bus to a town near her childhood home. On the journey, she befriends a girl traveling alone and reminisces about her younger years and grieves for her lost relatives. Her son and daughter-in-law eventually track her down, with the help of the local police force. However, Mrs. Watts is determined. The local sheriff, moved by her yearning to visit her girlhood home, offers to drive her out to what remains of Bountiful. The village is deserted, and the few remaining houses are derelict. Mrs. Watts is moved to tears as she surveys her father’s land and the remains of the family home. Her son eventually turns up, and drives her back to Houston.
The Trip to Bountiful cast also included Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Condola Rashad; yet ironically, both of these actors dropped out due to scheduling conflicts. Rashad (eventually replaced by Adepero Oduye) took the co-starring role in the Broadway production of Romeo and Juliet with Orlando Bloom; and Gooding, Jr. who made his Broadway debut here, went on to another gig as well. He was later replaced by Leon Addison Brown.
This revival of the play was directed by Michael Wilson.
No word on whether any of the revival’s original (or replacement) cast will transition to the Lifetime movie adaptation as well; but casting is currently underway and shooting is set to take place in Atlanta, GA throughout the month of November.
The Trip to Bountiful first debuted in 1953 and starred Lillian Gish as Carrie Watts.