Gem, which has already had a couple of regional productions, will next be staged in Boston at the Huntington Theatre Company, Sept. 10-Oct. 10. Rashad will go from Raisin to star in that production. From there Gem will travel to Broadway in fall 2004, Rashad said backstage at the Tony Awards ceremony. Set in 1904, the new play (the first, chronologically, of his decade plays) begins on the eve of Aunt Esther's 287th birthday. When Citizen Barlow comes to her Pittsburgh's Hill District home seeking asylum, she sets him off on a spiritual journey to find a city in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Rashad, who performed in the Los Angeles run of the play to award-winning success, reprises her role.
Rashad is the first African-American woman to win in the Tony category of Best Leading Actress in a Play.