When actress Cicely Tyson returned to the Broadway stage in 2013 after a 30-year absence, she said she was compelled by the role offered to portray the matriarch in a dramatic production called “Trip To Baltimore.”
She also said then that she was uncertain that as an octogenarian she would have an opportunity to return to the Great White Way.
Her command of the character, the ease with which she escorted audiences from Houston, Texas to a small town named Bountiful and the maternal instincts she exhibited against colleagues Vanessa Williams, Cuba Gooding and Condola Rashad earned kudos, extended performances and the big prize – theater’s highest award, the 2013 Tony award for best performance as an actress in a leading role in a play.
Since that time, it seems the star of screen and stage has been busier than ever.
Making appearances from coast to coast, she is now embracing another role on the Great White Way and this time she is tagged with another octogenarian to execute the challenging nightly routine.
Tyson will join Tony Award-winner James Earl Jones in a revival of D.L. Coburn’s “The Gin Game” at the Golden Theatre.
Slated for a limited sixteen-week run, previews begin Sept. 23.
In the 1978 Pulitzer Prize-winning play, an elderly man and woman living in a retired home, repeatedly play games of gin.
Together they share stories and explore their failures.
“Weller Martin (James Earl Jones) and Fonsia Dorsey (Cicely Tyson) meet on the porch of their nursing home and strike up a friendship, with Weller teaching Fonsia how to play gin rummy. As they play, they share stories about the lives they led in the outside world. But when Fonsia wins every hand, Weller becomes increasingly frustrated, until their gin games and conversations become a battleground, with each player exposing the other’s failures, disappointments and insecurities.”
Jones and Tyson were last on Broadway together in 1966 when they appeared in “A Hand Is on the Gate.”
They also starred in the long-running off-Broadway production of Jean Genet’s “The Blacks.”
Tyson’s age has been reported to be from 81 to 90.
Most frequently reported to born in Harlem on Dec. 18, 1924, at times she is acclaimed to have entered the world in 1933.
What is certain is the actress whose roots sprouted after her parents migrated from the Caribbean island of Nevis is a three-time Emmy winner that won a Tony in “The Trip to Bountiful” in 2013.
Jones, 84, won Tony awards for “Fences” and “The Great White Hope.”
He recently starred on Broadway in the comedic drama: “You Can’t Take It With You.”