The cast also features Tony nominee Vanessa Williams, who co-starred in the recent Broadway production. The two are joined by Blair Underwood and Keke Palmer. Michael Wilson, who directed the stage production, is repeating his work for the TV film.
In "The Trip to Bountiful," according to press notes, "Carrie Watts (Tyson) begrudgingly lives with her busy, overprotective son, Ludie (Underwood) and her snooty daughter-in-law, Jessie Mae (Williams). No longer able to drive and forbidden to travel alone, she wishes for freedom from the confines of the house and begs her son to take her on a visit to her hometown of Bountiful. When he refuses, Mrs. Watts is undeterred and makes an escape to the local bus station, where she befriends Thelma (Palmer), a young woman traveling home. When Ludie and Jessie Mae discover she is gone, they call in law enforcement to help, but Mrs. Watts is one step ahead of them and convinces the local sheriff to help her on her journey home to Bountiful."
The play was nominated for four Tony Awards, including Best Actress in a Play (Cicely Tyson), Best Featured Actress in a Play (Condola Rashad), Best Sound Design for a Play (John Gromada) and Best Revival of a Play. Tyson won the Tony Award for her performance as Mother Carrie Watts, as well as the Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle Award.
The original Broadway company also included Academy Award winner Cuba Gooding Jr. ("Jerry Maguire," "Red Tails"), Tony Award nominee Condola Rashad (Lifetime's "Steel Magnolias," Broadway's Stick Fly), Tony nominee Tom Wopat, Devon Abner, Curtis Billings, Pat Bowie, Leon Addison Brown, Arthur French, Susan Heyward, Bill Kux, Linda Powell and Charles Turner.
Michael Wilson directed.
The Trip to Bountiful, according to Broadway press notes, tells the story of "Carrie Watts (Tyson), an elderly woman who dreams of returning to her small hometown of Bountiful, TX one last time, against the wishes of her overprotective son and domineering daughter-in-law (Williams). Her journey becomes a heartbreaking but ultimately life-affirming and inspiring tale that examines the fragility of memory and celebrates the enduring power of hope and faith."
The Trip to Bountiful premiered as a teleplay on NBC in 1953, starring Lillian Gish as Carrie Watts. The play had its Broadway premiere later that year with the same cast, which also included Eva Marie Saint. The play was adapted by Foote into an acclaimed 1985 film starring Geraldine Page, for which she won the Academy Award. In 2005, Signature Theatre produced the play Off-Broadway starring Lois Smith, for which she won Lortel, Obie, Outer Critics and Drama Desk Awards.
The Broadway creative team included Jeff Cowie (scenery), Van Broughton Ramsey (costumes), Rui Rita (lighting), Paul Huntley (hair design), Angelina Avallone (makeup design) and John Gromada (original music and sound design). David Alpert was the associate director.
The Trip to Bountiful was produced on Broadway by Nelle Nugent, Paula Marie Black, Kenneth Teaton, Carole L Haber, Philip Geier, Sharon A. Carr, Patricia R. Klausner, Wendy Federman, Carl Moellenberg, Richard Hornos, Kevin Liles, Joseph Sirola, Stephen Byrd, Alia M. Jones, Howard and Janet Kagan, Charles Salameno, Willette Murphy Klausner, Fifty Church Street Productions and Hallie Foote.