Phylicia Rashad to Reprise Gem Role for Santiago-Hudson Production in San Francisco
By Ernio Hernandez
Tony Award winner Phylicia Rashad returns to her role as Aunt Ester in the upcoming American Conservatory Theater production of August Wilson's Gem of the Ocean, which will be directed by her Broadway co-star, Ruben Santiago-Hudson.
Rashad — who earned her Tony for her turn in the Broadway revival of A Raisin in the Sun — also earned a nomination for her work in the Broadway staging of the Wilson drama. The actress known to television audiences as the matriarch on "The Cosby Show" appeared opposite her new director Santiago-Hudson in the work.
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 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.
Santiago-Hudson earned a Tony Award for his featured turn in Seven Guitars. The actor has also appeared in Jelly’s Last Jam and in the title role of Henry VIII for the 1997 New York Shakespeare Festival. He recently adapted his Obie-Award winning one-man play Lackawanna Blues for HBO. George C. Wolfe directed the film starring S. Epatha Merkerson, Jeffrey Wright, Liev Schreiber, Jimmy Smits, Rosie Perez and the scribe himself.
A.C.T.'s 39th anniversary season continues with Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Oct. 13-Nov. 13), David Mamet's Sexual Perversity in Chicago (Jan. 5-Feb. 5, 2006), August Wilson's Gem of the Ocean (Feb. 10-March 12, 2006), Richard Brinsley Sheridan's The Rivals (March 23-April 23, 2006), Caryl Churchill's A Number (April 28-May 28, 2006) and Michael Feingold's adaptation of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's Happy End (June 8-July 9, 2006).
Tickets and subscriptions are available to the season at A.C.T., 415 Geary St. in San Francisco, CA, by calling (415) 749-2228. For more information, visit www.act-sf.org.
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