The show began performances April 5 at the Washington state company's Bagley Wright Theatre for a run through May 6. Rashad, who was Tony-nominated for her work in the Broadway production of Ocean, now steps behind the scenes.
Set in 1904, the play (which is the first, chronologically, of Wilson's decade plays) begins on the eve of Aunt Esther's 287th birthday. When Citizen Barlow comes to her home in Pittsburgh's Hill District seeking asylum, she sets him off on a spiritual journey to find a city in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
The cast features Crystal Fox (as Black Mary), William Hall, Jr. (Solly Two Kings), Khalil Kain (Citizen Barlow), Stanley Wayne Mathis (Caesar), Todd Jefferson Moore (Rutherford Selig), Michele Shay (Aunt Ester) and Allie Woods (Eli).
The design team includes John Iacovelli (scenic), Susan E. Mickey (costumes), Allen Lee Hughes (lighting) and Dan Moses Shreier (sound). The production also features music composed and arranged by Kathryn Bostic. Tim Pritchard serves as production sound supervisor.
Rashad earned her Tony for her turn in the Broadway revival of A Raisin in the Sun – which she will reprise for the forthcoming ABC television adaptation opposite her stage cast members Sean Combs, Sanaa Lathan, Bill Nunn and fellow Tony winner Audra McDonald. The actress, known to television audiences as the matriarch on "The Cosby Show," has also appeared onstage in Jelly's Last Jam, Into the Woods, Dreamgirls, The Wiz, Blue, Helen, The Story and Ain't Supposed to Die a Natural Death. Seattle Rep also currently presents Alan Rickman and Katharine Viner's My Name is Rachel Corrie (recently extended through May 6).
Tickets to Gem of the Ocean at Seattle Repertory Theatre, at 155 Mercer Street in Seattle, WA, are on sale by calling (206) 443-2222, toll free at (877) 900-9285 or online at www.seattlerep.org.