A haunting American classic, THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL marks the first Cleveland Play House production of a work by Pulitzer Prize- and Academy Award-winner Horton Foote, and the world-premiere performance of this play by an African-American cast. Receiving the blessing of Hallie Foote, daughter of the playwright, this co-production with Round House Theatre is helmed by Timothy Douglas and stars preeminent African-American actress Lizan Mitchell as Carrie Watts. THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL begins in the Drury Theatre at Cleveland Play House on Friday, February 4 and runs through Sunday, February 27, 2011. Tickets are available at Cleveland Play House box office by calling 216.795.7000 ext 4 or online at www.clevelandplayhouse.com. THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL is presented with support from US Bank, Turner Construction, Cuyahoga Arts and Culture, and the Ohio Arts Council.
"Cleveland Play House is extremely proud to be producing one of the great American dramas in a unique way. It's an event of national significance and a terrific way for us to celebrate Black History Month," says Artistic Director Michael Bloom.
"THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL remains one of my all time favorite plays, and has been on my director's wish list for some time. So equal to my intent of providing a moving theatrical vehicle for the incomparably talented Lizan Mitchell is my desire to honor the prolific and uniquely American playwright Horton Foote. And given his recent passing, I felt the timing to uniquely honor him couldn't be more appropriate," remarks director Timothy Douglas. In describing his choice for non-traditional casting, Douglas says, "Because I remain committed to the playwright's original intent, all of the augmented socially-specific examples will only be communicated by way of the stage picture, coupled with the audiences' individual and collective knowledge of race relations. I hope this production will impart powerful new meanings in a unique Trip to Bountiful."
Trapped in a cramped Houston apartment with her soft-spoken son and self-absorbed daughter-in-law, widow Carrie Watts dreams of returning to her home in the small Gulf Coast town of Bountiful, where she grew up and raised her own family. Fearing that she's an imposition and chafing under her daughter-in-law's watchful eye, she steals away with her latest pension check and heads home in the journey of a lifetime. The result is an unforgettable meditation on the idea of home and its power to sustain us.
THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL was originally written by Horton Foote as a movie for television in 1953. It starred Lillian Gish and Eva Marie Saint, who reprised their roles when the play went to Broadway later that year. Another prolific American actress, Geraldine Page, took on the role of Carrie Watts in 1985 in a film version written by Foote, winning the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance.
One of America's most celebrated dramatists, known for his distinctive literary grace chronicling the wistful side of the American odyssey, Horton Foote began writing his final screenplay Main Street in 2004 and completed it in late 2008. In a career that spanned seven decades and encompassed film, theatre and television during its' golden age, Foote drew his inspiration primarily from ordinary people coping with what he called life's "vicissitudes," those who's outward calm and stoicism belie their inner-turbulence. In more than 60 plays and films, Foote's work became part of America's great literary legacy, and his triumphs included his Pulitzer Prize-winning play The Young Man from Atlanta 1995 as well as his films THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL 1985, his Oscar-winning adapted screenplay of Harper Lee's classic To Kill a Mockingbird 1962, and his Oscar-winning original screenplay Tender Mercies 1983. Foote created emotionally rich, complex characters, particularly for women, as exemplified by Carrie Watts in THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL, originally played on television by Lillian Gish and later in the 1985 film by Geraldine Page in an Oscar-winning performance.