Tag: Horton Foote

Queen Latifah’s Bessie Smith biopic “Bessie” Set to Debut May 16th on HBO (VIDEO)

Official Still of Queen Latifah as Bessie Smith in HBO's biopic
Queen Latifah as Bessie Smith in HBO’s biopic (Courtesy: HBO)

Queen Latifah stars as legendary blues singer Bessie Smith in the HBO Films drama “Bessie,” which is directed by Dee Rees, from a screenplay written by Rees, Christopher Cleveland & Bettina Gilois.

With a story by Rees and Horton Foote, the film focuses on Smith’s transformation from a struggling young singer into “The Empress of the Blues,” one of the most successful recording artists of the 1920s.

HBO has announced its movie will debut on Saturday, May 16 at 8PM.

The cast includes Michael Kenneth Williams as Bessie’s husband, Jack; Khandi Alexander as Bessie’s older sister, Viola; Mike Epps as Richard, a bootlegger and romantic interest; Tika Sumpter as Lucille, a performer and romantic interest; Tory Kittles as Bessie’s older brother, Clarence; Oliver Platt as famed photographer and writer Carl Van Vechten; Bryan Greenberg as renowned record producer and music critic John Hammond; with Charles S. Dutton as Ma Rainey’s husband, William “Pa” Rainey; and Mo’Nique as blues legend Ma Rainey.

The film will offer an intimate look at the determined woman whose immense talent and love for music took her from anonymity in the rough-and-tumble world of vaudeville to the 1920s blues scene and international fame, capturing her professional highs and personal lows, and ultimate legend.

Described by HBO as a labor of love for the filmmakers, “Bessie” has been 22 years in the making. The first draft was written by playwright Horton Foote. Queen Latifah was approached by producers Richard and Lili Fini Zanuck to take on the role of Bessie when she was just launching her acting career. She eventually came on board as an executive producer, along with producing partner Shakim Compere.

Director Dee Rees caught HBO’s attention with the buzz around her award-winning film, “Pariah.”

Says Latifah, “I have been excited about this project since the very beginning. When HBO got involved, we were thrilled and we worked together to make something that would capture Bessie’s life honestly and respectfully.”

Watch the telepic’s first full-length trailer below:

original article by Tambay A. Obenson via blogs.indiewire.com

“Bountiful’s” Cicely Tyson Moves Broadway Audiences to Sing Along to “Blessed Assurance”

Not long after the curtain rises on the second act of “The Trip to Bountiful,” the Broadway revival of the Horton Foote play at the Stephen Sondheim Theater, something unusual happens. Cicely Tyson, as Mrs. Carrie Watts, sits on a bus station bench in a small Texas town. She is on the run from her abusive daughter-in-law and henpecked son in Houston, desperate to see the family farm in Bountiful once more before she dies.

Audience members join in as Ms. Tyson sings “Blessed Assurance.”  Overcome with emotion, she begins singing an old Protestant hymn, “Blessed Assurance.”

From the first note, there’s a palpable stirring among many of the black patrons in the audience, which the play, with its mostly black cast, draws in large numbers. When Ms. Tyson jumps to her feet, spreads her arms and picks up the volume, they start singing along. On some nights it’s a muted accompaniment. On other nights, and especially at Sunday matinees, it’s a full-throated chorus that rocks the theater.

Continue reading ““Bountiful’s” Cicely Tyson Moves Broadway Audiences to Sing Along to “Blessed Assurance””

Tony-Award Nominated ‘Trip to Bountiful’ Extends Broadway Run Through Summer

trip to bountiful full

The new Broadway production of Horton Foote’s “The Trip to Bountiful,” featuring Emmy-winning stage and screen star Cicely Tyson, has extended its run at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre.  The production, which officially opened April 23, had been scheduled for a 14-week limited engagement through July 7. It has now extended an additional eight weeks and will continue through Sept. 1.  “Bountiful” was recently nominated for four Tony Awards, including Best Actress in a Play (Tyson), Best Featured Actress in a Play (Condola Rashad), Best Sound Design for a Play (John Gromada) and Best Revival of a Play.

The cast also includes Academy Award winner Cuba Gooding Jr. (“Jerry Maguire,” “Red Tails”), Emmy Award nominee Vanessa Williams (“Ugly Betty,” “Desperate Housewives”), Rashad (Lifetime’s “Steel Magnolias,” Broadway’s Stick Fly), Tom Wopat, Devon Abner, Curtis Billings, Pat Bowie, Leon Addison Brown, Arthur French, Susan Heyward, Bill Kux, Linda Powell and Charles Turner.  Michael Wilson directs.

View some behind-the-scenes vignettes below:

article via eurweb.com

Cicely Tyson and Vanessa Williams Return to Broadway in ‘The Trip To Bountiful’

trip-to-bountifulAfter three weeks of previews, the Broadway production of Horton Foote’s The Trip to Bountiful starring Emmy winner Cicely Tyson, Academy Award winner Cuba Gooding Jr., Emmy Award nominee Vanessa Williams and Tony Award nominee Condola Rashad, opened on Tuesday at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre to several rave reviews (see below). Directed by Michael Wilson and produced by Nelle Nugent, the 14-week limited engagement will end on June 30, so if you’re interested, get your tickets by clicking here.

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article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson