"One of the most important voices in the American theater"
--The New York Times
Gem of the Ocean (1900s)
Directed by Kenny Leon
Reality and mysticism collide in this haunting tale of a spiritually tormented young man who pays a visit to Aunt Ester, a former slave, on the eve of her 287th birthday. On his way to the mythic City of Bones at the bottom of the sea, he makes startling discoveries about guilt, duty, and redemption.
--Running Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes, with one intermission--
Eli: James A. Williams
Citizen Barlow: John Earl Jelks
Aunt Ester: Michele Shay
Black Mary: Tracie Thoms
Rutherford Selig: Raynor Scheine
Solly Two Kings: Anthony Chisholm
Caesar: Ruben Santiago-Hudson
An American icon, August Wilson depicted the human condition like no other playwright of his time. His legacy lives on through his crowning achievement: a cycle of 10 plays chronicling the African American experience, each set in a different decade of the 20th century. Crafted over nearly 25 years, these works garnered Wilson myriad accolades, including a Tony Award and two Pulitzer Prizes. Bringing them together for the first time ever, the Kennedy Center presents staged readings of all 10 of Wilson's masterpieces, frequently dubbed "The Pittsburgh Cycle," as all but one are grounded in the city of his youth.
More than 30 stars of stage and screen join Artistic Director Kenny Leon and six other acclaimed directors for this historic month-long celebration (March 4–April 6, 2008). Complemented with costumes, lighting, and scenery, the plays will be performed in chronological order--collectively revealing Wilson's sweeping vision of the challenge and glory of being black in America.
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