According to a representative for The Trip to Bountiful, Mrs. Obama and her family received a standing ovation from the audience when they took their seats as the 8 PM performance began on Aug. 24 at the STephen Sondheim Theatre. They also visited the cast and crew following the performance. Earlier in the day the Obama family attended the U.S. Open.
The First Lady and her daughters also took in the Aug. 25 matinee of the new Broadway musical Motown.
The Obama family has attended Broadway performances on several occasions. The First Lady, her mother Marian Robinson and Sasha and Malia, attended productions of Memphis and The Addams Family. The President and First Lady also attended the 2009 revival of Joe Turner's Come and Gone.
The Trip to Bountiful, which officially opened April 23, was greeted with critical praise and was twice extended to Oct. 9. Read reviews of the play here.
Bountiful 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 cast also includes Academy Award winner Cuba Gooding Jr. ("Jerry Maguire") as Ludy; Emmy Award nominee Vanessa Williams ("Ugly Betty," "Desperate Housewives"), Adepero Oduye, Tom Wopat, Devon Abner, Curtis Billings, Pat Bowie, Arthur French, Susan Heyward, Billy Eugene Jones, Bill Kux, Linda Powell and Charles Turner.
Michael Wilson directs.
"For years I have been searching for the perfect project to bring me back to my true home — the stage," said Tyson in an earlier statement. "In many ways Broadway is my Bountiful and I'm eager and honored to return with this strong, passionate, and funny character in a timeless American classic."
"The Trip to Bountiful is among Horton’s most beloved plays, and Carrie Watts, one of his most memorable characters. To do the play and role justice, you need an actress of rare stature and command," added director Wilson. "Cicely Tyson has, over the span of a distinguished career, depicted iconic Americans engaged in immense struggle. Her legendary performances — from Jane Pittman to Coretta Scott King to Harriet Tubman, to name just a few — have contributed mightily to our sense of national identity and character. I am thrilled that she is returning to the stage now to have her trip, to lead us all on a journey that promises to be unforgettable."
The Trip to Bountiful, according to 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 (Gooding) 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 includes 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 is the associate director.
The Trip to Bountiful is produced 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 in association with 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.
Stephen Sondheim Theatre is located at 124 W. 43rd St. Tickets are available by visiting Telecharge.com. For more information visit TheTripToBountifulBroadway.com.