Tony Winner Lillias White Will Star in August Wilson's Gem of the Ocean at California's Rubicon

News   Tony Winner Lillias White Will Star in August Wilson's Gem of the Ocean at California's Rubicon
Tony Award winner Lillias White will star as Aunt Ester in Rubicon Theatre Company's first August Wilson production, Gem of the Ocean, which will begin performances May 16, prior to an official opening May 24, in California.

Lillias White
Lillias White

Directed by Rubicon artistic director and co-founder James O'Neil, the production will continue through June 10 as part of the company's 14th season.

Gem of the Ocean—part of Wilson's ten-play cycle dramatizing the African-American experience in the twentieth century—is "set in 1904 in Pittsburgh's Hill District," according to Rubicon. "At a local mill, a man is accused of stealing a bucket of nails. But rather than confess to a crime he didn't commit, he jumps in the river and becomes a martyr to his co-workers. Riots break out and the workers begin to strike. Against this turbulent backdrop, another young man named Citizen Barlow arrives at the home of Aunt Ester, a 285-year-old healer who is the keeper of tradition and history for her people. She sends Citizen on a spiritual journey aboard the slave ship Gem of the Ocean—where he must confront his ancestors and then face the truth about himself."

Joining White, a Tony Award winner for her performance in The Life, are Anthony J. Haney as Solly Two Kings, Chris Butler as Caesar Wilkes, Keith Arthur Bolden as Citizen Barlow, Pamela Shaddock as Black Mary and Tom Mueller as Rutherford Selig.

Talkbacks with the actors and director will be held after the 7 PM Wednesday performances on May 23, May 30 and June 6.

Other members of the creative team include dramaturg William Keeler, set and lighting designer Thomas S. Giamario, costume designer Marcy Froehlich, sound designer David Beaudry, props designer T. Theresa Scarano, dialect coach Rod Menzies and production stage manager Erica Christensen. Musical consultant Kevin Toney provides original compositions. The Rubicon Theatre is located at 1006 E. Main Street in Ventura, CA. For more information and tickets, call (805) 667-2900 or visit

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