Ahmanson Theatre presents THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL

Columnists, Kim's Kronicles, Theater — By on October 6, 2014 at 3:57 am

Cover photo: Actress Judith Light (L) and Charlayne Woodard of the TV series "Law and Order SVU" arrive to support "The Trip to Bountiful," at the Ahmanson Theatre. Inside photo: Actor Ben Vereen(L) poses next to the poster of the production, which features Blair Underwood(near left) Cicely Tyson and Vanessa Williams. Both photos by Kim Webster.

By Kim Webster

LOS ANGELES CA – Opening night anticipation was well rewarded during the performance of the stage play THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL. The play opens with a restless Carrie Watts (Cicely Tyson) and Jessie Mae Watts (Vanessa Williams) insisting that she go to bed.   Carrie’s son Ludie (Blair Underwood) intervenes and tries talking his Mother into resting.   Jessie Mae is protective in her own way but complains about things that Mother Watts does around the house and her wondering off.   Ludie often takes the role of mediator between the two.

Carrie begins her journey to Bountiful with the purchase of a bus ticket.  After discovering that Mother Watts is missing, Ludie and Jessie Mae go to the bus station and ask the ticket agent (Wade Dooley) if he had seen her.  He can’t help them because he didn’t sell her the ticket.  During the bus ride, Carrie enjoys the company of Thelma (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) who is going to another destination to stay with her in-laws while her husband serves in the War.   When Carrie arrives at the bus terminal near Bountiful she discovers that she forgot her purse on the bus.   She asks Roy (Arthur French), who works at the terminal, if he can locate her purse, he does but it will take a few hours to get there.  Weary from her journey, she decides to wait and rest.    In the meantime, Ludie and Jessie Mae are traveling to Bountiful to bring Carrie back home.

Carrie is happy to get her purse but now she needs a ride to Bountiful.  She pleads with the Sheriff (Devon Abner) to take her home to Bountiful…and he does.   There are no words for the joy that she feels, walking around the yard, sitting on the front steps and reminiscing about times so long ago.   Ludie and Jessie Mae arrive to take Carrie home, and in those moments they all experience a special bonding.

Stage setting, lighting, and period artifacts in this play contribute to a magnificent realism.  Written by Horton Foote and directed by Michael Wilson, THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL shows family dynamics between a loving son, his wife and his elderly Mother.  With determination, Carrie Watts defies all obstacles and finally feels the joy of returning to Bountiful.   Cicely Tyson performed the role of Carrie Watts on Broadway and earned three awards a Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Actress in a Play and starred in the Lifetime Movie adaptation.   Actress, author, recording artist, and Grammy, Tony, and Emmy nominated performer Vanessa Williams also starred in the Lifetime Movie adaptation.  Actor, director, producer, Grammy Award winner Blair Underwood received a Critics Choice Television Award for his performance in the Lifetime Movie adaptation.   THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL is playing now until November 2 at the Ahmanson Theatre 135 N Grand Avenue downtown Los Angeles.   For ticket info, please call 213-972-4400, group sales 213 972-7231 or go to www.CenterTheatreGroup.org.   Don’t miss your trip to BOUNTIFUL.

Starletta DuPois (L) and Ted Lange attend "The Trip To Bountiful." Photo by Kim Webster.

Phyllis Applegate, (Five Heartbeats, Big Momma's House) arrives at the Ahmanson Theatre for "The Trip To Bountiful." Photo by Kim Webster.

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