Cicely Tyson is a living legend but she’s not content to just sit home and enjoy the spoils of a six-decade career in entertainment. The actress is currently starring on Broadway with Cuba Gooding Jr. and Vanessa Williams in “The Trip To Bountiful.” For her work, she was recently nominated for a Tony Award. Given all her accomplishments, the two-time Emmy Award winner says that she can’t definitely answer which time in her life has been the best thus far.
“I think that each decade for me has been remarkable,” Tyson told The Tom Joyner Morning Show.
“Each one. Each one has offered and taught me something and led me to the next one. Its very difficult for me to say these are the best, because I don’t know what’s to come. But they’re good.”
LIke “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” and “Streetcar Named Desire,” both Broadway revivals with predominantly black casts, “The Trip to Bountiful,” is another example of the success of “color-blind” casting.
The original play was turned into a 1985 film starring Geraldine Page, John Heard and Rebecca DeMornay which one Page an Oscar for her role as Carrie Watts. In the play and film, Watts, the role played by Tyson, is an elderly woman who wants to return to her small Southern hometown against the wishes of her son and daughter-in-law. Asked how she remembered all the lines as she’s on stage more than any of the other actors, Tyson says that’s the easy part.
“That’s the least of it. It truly is. During the entire time of my career, I’ve had one process. That is to read the script as many times as is humanly possible. In the reading, I learn who I am, and why am I in that piece. What purpose do I serve in forwarding the story of the writer? Once I do that and I understand why I’m there, the lines come. There are reasons to say the lines.” Though Tyson has won five NAACP Awards, A SAG Award and two Emmys – one of them for the lead role in the now classic TV movie “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman” in 1974, this is her first Tony nomination. Sybil Wilkes, of The Tom Joyner Morning Show, who has seen the play, says she is rooting for Tyson to win.
“From your mouths to God’s ears. One thing I did not expect was the kind of love and attention and support I have gotten throughout this play. I mean to tell you that that the house is in the spirit and they participate, which is the most surprising. When I was told that the audience was singing with me I didn’t quite understand or believe it because I’m so focused on what’s going on onstage I did not hear it until after the opening when I relaxed and could sink into the part and be apart of all that’s around me. And I heard them singing. It is incredible.”
The Tony Awards air this Sunday, at 8 p.m. on CBS, live from Radio City Music Hall. “The Trip To Bountiful” continues its Broadway run at the Stephen Sondheim Theater.
Click here to purchase “The Trip to Bountiful on Broadway” tickets.
Love Em Or Hate Em: On Screen Moms
27 photos Launch gallery
1. Kimberly Elise played the naive, yet insanely sweet mom in 'Set It Off'
1 of 27
2. Monique played the hilariously funny mom on "The Parkers"
2 of 27
3. Wendy Racquel Robinson played the funny, neck-rolling 'Tasha Mack' on The Game.
3 of 27
4. Tasha Smith starred in 'Daddy's Little Girl's' as the ghetto, loud-mouthed baby mama.
4 of 27
5. Janet Hubert played the sassy mom on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'
5 of 27
6. Lisa Raye played the funny, witty mom on "All About Us"
6 of 27
7. Nia Long played the lovable mom in "Big Mama's House", "Are We There Yet"
7 of 27
8. Jackee Harry is most known for her role as "Lisa" in Sister, Sister.
8 of 27
9. Whitney Houston played Jordin Sparks' mom in 'Sparkle'
9 of 27
10. Everyone wanted "Clair Huxtable" as their mom, the stylish, hard-working attorney who kept her large family in-tact. (AP)
10 of 27
11. Who can forget A.J. Johnson in "Baby Boy" as Jody's fun-loving, feisty mother. (PR)
11 of 27
12. Juanita Moore's classic role as a maid whose daughter rejects her to pass as white in "Imiitation of Life." (Retna)
12 of 27
13. Angela Bassett as the "uppity" mom in "Jumping The Broom" or vengeful in "Waiting to Exhale" she always aces it. (PR)
13 of 27
14. Jenifer Lewis has been everyone's mama, including Tina Turner to Melvin's in the "Temptations" & many more. (PR)
14 of 27
15. Esther Rolle, best known as "Florida Evans" was the backbone of her family on "Good Times." (AP)
15 of 27
16. Alfre Woodard has commonly played the homemaking,hardworking, kind mother and does it great every time. (PR)
16 of 27
17. It was hard not to hate Lynne Whitfield in "Madea's Family Reunion" in her role as an evil mom.
17 of 27
18. Irma P. Hall's role as "Big Mama" in "Soul Food" surely had everyone leaving the theater in tears. (PR)
18 of 27
19. Loretta Devine has many heartwrenching roles as mom, including her classic role in "Waiting to Exhale." (PR)
19 of 27
20. Marla Gibbs as "Mary Jenkins" on "227" was the gossipy mom who had her friend's backs. (PR)
20 of 27
21. Diahann Carroll as the single mother in "Claudine" is very memorable. (PR)
21 of 27
22. Cicely Tyson always sheds a lot of wisdom to her deserving daughters in her roles as mom. (PR)
22 of 27
23. Halle Berry earned an Oscar for her role as mom in "Monster's Ball." (AP)
23 of 27
24. Tichina Arnold on "Everybody Hates Chris" as the loud, in-your-face mom who kept things in order for her three kids and husband. (PR)
24 of 27
25. Maybe memorable for not being so good, Beyonce played "Sharon" young mother in "Obsessed." (PR)
25 of 27
26. Jo Marie Payton was the better half of "Carl Winslow" who kept the Winslow family tight. (Retna)
26 of 27
27. Taraji P. Henson played opposite Tyrese Gibson as his mother in the movie "Baby Boy." (Photo: AP)
27 of 27