Stage Review

The Trip to Bountiful (2013)

THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL Cicely Tyson and Cuba Gooding Jr.
Image credit: Joan Marcus
THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL Cicely Tyson and Cuba Gooding Jr.
EW's GRADE
B+

Details Opening Date: Apr 23, 2013; Lead Performances: Cuba Gooding Jr., Condola Rashad, Cicely Tyson and Vanessa Williams; Writer: Horton Foote; Director: Michael Wilson; Genres: Drama, Revival

Spontaneous audience sing-alongs may be popular on stage these days (see: Motown the Musical), but they don't characterize the somber, contemplative dramas of the late Texas playwright Horton Foote — particularly not The Trip to Bountiful, which follows a woman on her long, slow march toward death. But in the new, lovingly staged Broadway revival, when fierce and feisty Carrie Watts (played by fierce and feisty octogenarian Cicely Tyson) erupts in a chorus of ''Blessed Assurance,'' hymn-loving theater-goers may be moved to join in.

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+

(Tickets: Telecharge.com or 800-432-7250)

Originally posted Apr 23, 2013