The play "The Trip to Bountiful," written by Horton Foote, tells the story of an elderly woman named Carrie Watts. She's living in Houston with her son and his domineering wife when one day she runs away to visit her childhood home in the small town of Bountiful, Texas.
Nearly three decades ago, Cicely Tyson saw Geraldine Page take on the role of Carrie Watts in a film version and was so moved by the Oscar-winning performance that she went straight to her agent and told him, "You get me my 'Trip to Bountiful' and then I will retire."
She never thought it would be possible to play the role herself, but she says, she just wanted one more good role. "I figured, you know, I have been really blessed throughout my career. And I said I just want more. I won't be greedy, just one more, and then I'll go away."
Tyson waited for years and then one day she met a woman who told her that she wanted to do a production of one of her father's plays, but with a black cast. She said she knew her father wouldn't want anyone else to play the lead role but Cicely Tyson.
When Tyson asked her who her father was, "She said 'Horton Foote.' I said, 'And the play?' She said, 'The Trip to Bountiful.' I fell off the chair," Tyson says. "I literally fell right off of the chair I was sitting on."
Tyson finally got her wish. She played Mrs. Watts on Broadway and won a Tony for her performance.
She also stars in a film version of the production along with Blair Underwood and Vanessa Williams that aired earlier this year. The trio is currently appearing in a production at the Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles.
And now that she's gotten to play her dream role, Tyson says that even after 200 performances (without missing one) she's still having a ball.
"It's really, it's a wonderful gift," Tyson says.
To hear the full interview with Cicely Tyson, Blair Underwood and Vanessa Williams, click the link above.
“The Trip to Bountiful” plays through Nov. 2, 2014. For tickets and information, click here.