Wilson's Gem Has New Start Date of Nov. 23

News   Wilson's Gem Has New Start Date of Nov. 23
 
The financially troubled Broadway production of August Wilson's Gem of the Ocean will now start previews on Nov. 23 and open Dec. 6.

Producer Carole Shorenstein Hays, whose credits include Take Me Out and Caroline, or Change, is the angel producer who saved the Broadway venture.

Hays' involvement, which was first broken by Variety, was first reported by Playbill On-Line on Nov. 10.

"I am deeply passionate about this beautiful play by one of America's preeminent playwrights," said Hays in a statement. I am especially proud to be working with August again. Our last project together, Fences, remains one of the high points in my producing career."

Gem of the Ocean, which has been struggling over the past weeks to replace a shortfall in its $2 million production budget, cancelled its Nov. 4-21 performances.

Rocco Landesman, president of Jujamcyn Theatres, told the Times that the deal happened because his company and Hays received concessions from vendors and creative personnel. The trouble began late in October, when a major investor pulled out of the venture, taking an unspecified chunk of the $2 million capitalization with them. The unexpected loss of cash sent lead producer Benjamin Mordecai in search of new investors. Meanwhile, the load-in of the production's set into Broadway's Walter Kerr Theatre has been delayed, and a new marquee remains unhung.

Gem ended a Boston run on Oct. 30. It was to have begun previews at the Walter Kerr Theatre on Nov. 4 and open Nov. 11.

The staging stars last season's Tony Award-winner, Phylicia Rashad (A Raisin in the Sun), 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.

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