Delroy Lindo, Ruben Santiago-Hudson Join Rashad in Wilson's Gem of the Ocean on Broadway

News   Delroy Lindo, Ruben Santiago-Hudson Join Rashad in Wilson's Gem of the Ocean on Broadway
The Broadway staging of August Wilson's Gem of the Ocean will star Tony Award nominee Delroy Lindo, 2004 Tony Award winner Phylicia Rashad, Tony Award winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson and LisaGay Hamilton, the producers announced.
Ruben Santiago-Hudson in Lackawana Blues (top) and Delroy Lindo in
Ruben Santiago-Hudson in Lackawana Blues (top) and Delroy Lindo in "Gone in 60 Seconds" (bottom) Photo by Michal Daniel and Touchstone

Directed by Marion McClinton, Gem of the Ocean will begin previews at the Walter Kerr Theatre, home to many past Wilson plays, Oct. 23. Opening night is Nov. 11.

The cast of Gem of the Ocean also includes Anthony Chisholm, John Earl Jelks and Raynor Scheine.

The casting of Rashad (who won the Tony for this year's A Raisin in the Sun revival) and the dates of the staging were previously reported by Playbill On-Line. She appeared in Gem at Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, as did Jelks and Scheine. Lindo was Tony and Drama Desk nominated for Wilson's Joe Turner's Come and Gone. Santiago-Hudson won his Tony for Wilson's Seven Guitars. LisaGay Hamilton starred as Grace in the original Broadway company of August Wilson's The Piano Lesson.

According to the casting announcement, "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. Set in 1904, it becomes the first play chronologically in Wilson’s odyssey through the 20th century."

The play "begins on the eve of Aunt Ester's (a character first encountered in Wilson's Two Trains Running and whose death is told in King Hedley II) 287th birthday. Citizen Barlow, a man who 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." Designers will be David Gallo (scenic), Constanza Romero (costumes), Donald Holder (lighting), Dan Moses Schreier (sound), with original music by Kathryn Bostic.

Gem of the Ocean will play a pre-Broadway engagement at the Huntington Theatre Company in Boston with previews beginning Sept. 10, 2004, Opening night is Sept. 22 and closing there is Oct. 17.

The play had its world premiere production at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago on April 28, 2003. A subsequent production opened July 31, 2003 at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles.

Gem of the Ocean is presented on Broadway by Sageworks, Producers Four and Jujamcyn Theaters. Tickets will be available through (212) 239-6200 beginning Aug. 23, and in-person at the Walter Kerr Theatre box office (219 West 48th Street) beginning Oct. 2. Ticket prices are scaled at $25-$85.


Wilson is the author of Jitney, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Fences, Joe Turner's Come and Gone, The Piano Lesson, Two Trains Running, Seven Guitars and King Hedley II, all works that "explore the heritage and experience of African Americans, decade by decade, over the course of the 20th century." He won Pulitzer Prizes for Fences and The Piano Lesson, a Tony Award for Fences and seven New York Drama Critics' Circle Awards.

The cast recording of Ma Rainey's Black Bottom received a Grammy and Wilson received an Emmy nomination for TV's "The Piano Lesson."

Early works include the one-act plays The Janitor, Recycle, The Coldest Day of the Year, Malcolm X, The Homecoming and the musical satire Black Bart and the Sacred Hills.

Director has been involved with the work of August Wilson for many years, having directed the Broadway revival of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom; the premiere of King Hedley II on Broadway, at Pittsburgh Public Theater, Seattle Repertory and the Mark Taper Forum; Jitney Off-Broadway at Second Stage, The Huntington Theatre Co., Studio Arena Theatre, The Goodman Theatre, Pittsburgh Public Theater, Seattle Repertory, and the Royal National Theatre (as well as having performed as Fielding in the 1985 version of Jitney at Penumbra Theatre Company in St. Paul); Gem of the Ocean at the Goodman Theatre and the Mark Taper Forum; Seven Guitars and Two Trains Running at Baltimore Center Stage; Joe Turner's Come and Gone at Missouri Repertory; Fences at Indiana Repertory Theatre; and "Fences" for Paramount Pictures.

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