The play, the ninth play written in Wilson's ten-play Century Cycle chronicling the African-American experience through each decade of the 1900s, centers on Citizen Barlow, who finds himself at the door of Aunt Esther on the eve of her 285th birthday. Though Gem is Wilson's penultimate work, it stands as the first play chronologically in the Century Cycle.
Hartford Stage associate artistic director Hana Sharif will direct Gem of the Ocean, which will run May 12-June 5.
Nelson will play Aunt Esther, with Williams as Citizen Barlow and Faison as Solly Two Kings. The cast will also feature Ernest Perry Jr. as Eli, Ray Anthony Thomas as Cesar, Joniece Abbott-Pratt as Black Mary and David Manis as Rutherford Selig.
Gem of the Ocean will have set design by Scott Bradley, costume design by Ilona Somogyi, lighting design by Lap Chi Chu and sound design by Daniel Baker.
For tickets and more information, phone (860) 527-5151 or visit hartfordstage.org.