August Wilson's Gem of the Ocean Sails Into Boston Sept. 24

News   August Wilson's Gem of the Ocean Sails Into Boston Sept. 24
Recently furnished with a new director and a new star, August Wilson's latest epic drama, Gem of the Ocean, will have its first Boston performance on Sept. 24 at the Huntington Theatre Company.
Phylicia Rashad in the Mark Taper Forum's production of Gem of the Ocean
Phylicia Rashad in the Mark Taper Forum's production of Gem of the Ocean Photo by Craig Schwartz

The producers of the upcoming Broadway staging announced Sept. 17 that Anthony Chisholm would take over for Delroy Lindo in the role of Solly Two Kings. Lindo left the production due to "creative differences," a statement read.

Chisholm is under the direction of Kenny Leon, who replaced Marion McClinton when the latter was hospitalized on Aug. 31.

Chisholm, who was previously slated to appear in the featured role of Eli, portrayed Solly Two Kings in earlier regional incarnations of Gem of the Ocean at Mark Taper Forum and The Goodman Theatre.

His other August Wilson credits include Two Trains Running (Broadway) and Jitney (Off Broadway, L.A., London), as well as regional productions of Ma Rainey's Black Bottom and Fences.

For the Huntington engagement of Gem of the Ocean, the role of Eli will be assumed by Eugene Lee. Gem will play at the Huntington through Oct. 30, and then begin previews at Broadway's Walter Kerr Theatre (219 West 48th Street) Nov. 4, with an official opening Nov. 11.

The staging stars Phylicia Rashad as Aunt Ester, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as Caesar and LisaGay Hamilton as Black Mary. The cast also features John Earl Jelks as Citizen Barlow and Raynor Scheine as Rutherford Selig.

"Gem of the Ocean is the ninth play in Wilson's extraordinary 10-play cycle chronicling the African American experience through each decade of the 1900s," according to production notes. "Set in 1904, it becomes the first play chronologically in Wilson's odyssey through the 20th century.

"Gem of the Ocean begins on the eve of the 287th birthday of Aunt Ester (a recurring character in Wilson’s play cycle). Citizen Barlow, a man who is in spiritual turmoil, arrives at Aunt Ester’s house in Pittsburgh's Hill District and is soon set off on a spiritual journey to find the mythic City of Bones, leading him to startling discoveries and setting him on a course of duty and redemption."

The Broadway producers are Sageworks, Benjamin Mordecai, Producers Four, The Araca Group and Jujamcyn Theaters.

For tickets, visit or call (212) 239-6200.

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