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Casting Announced For GEM OF THE OCEAN at the Goodman

Gem of the Ocean appears January 22 – February 27.

Goodman Theatre kicks off the new year with a major revival of August Wilson's Gem of the Ocean-nearly two decades after the play premiered on the same stage.

Resident Director Chuck Smith, who served as the original production's dramaturg, directs a cast of seven-featuring Sharif Atkins (Citizen Barlow), Sydney Charles (Black Mary), Lisa Gaye Dixon (Aunt Ester), Gary Houston (Rutherford Selig), Kelvin Roston, Jr. (Caesar), A.C. Smith (Eli) and James A. Williams (Solly Two Kings).

Originally directed by the late Marion McClinton at the Goodman in 2003, Gem of the Ocean is the play that chronically launches Wilson's famed "American Century Cycle"-10 plays, each set in a different decade of the 20th century, that together chronicle 100 years of the African-American experience. In conjunction with the production, audiences can support local African American artisans at "Hidden Gems: A Celebration of African American Artists & Art"-an on-site pop-up market featuring arts, crafts and more, available prior to and post select shows.

Gem of the Ocean appears January 22 - February 27; opening night is January 31. Tickets ($25 - $80, subject to change) are now available at or by phone at 312.443.3800. More details about "Hidden Gems," including information about participating artists, will be released soon. Goodman Theatre is grateful for the support of Sponsor Partners Abbott Fund and Allstate.

Tensions flare into riots across Pittsburgh's Hill District as chaos threatens a city desperate for freedom. It's 1904, the dawn of the new century-yet slavery's shadow looms large. There is solace to be found at the home of 285-year-old Ester Tyler, keeper and transmitter of African American history and cleanser of souls. When a suspicious traveler appears at her door in search of a new life, Aunt Ester guides him on a journey of spiritual awakening.


Eli - A.C. Smith
Citizen Barlow - Sharif Atkins
Aunt Ester - Lisa Gaye Dixon
Rutherford Selig - Gary Houston
Black Mary - Sydney Charles
Solly Two Kings - James A. Williams
Caesar - Kelvin Roston, Jr.

Understudies for this production include Wardell Julius Clark-Citizen Barlow; Ronald L. Conner-Eli/Caesar; Krystel McNeil-Black Mary; Joseph Primes-Solly Two Kings; Ron E. Rains-Rutherford Selig; and TayLar-Aunt Ester.


Set Design by Linda Buchanan
Costume Design by Evelyn Danner
Lighting Design by Robert Perry
Sound Design by Pornchanok Kanchanabanca
Projection Design by Mike Tutaj

Casting is by Lauren Port, CSA and Rachael Jimenez, CSA. Dramaturgy is by Jared Bellot and Fatima Sowe. Briana J. Fahey is the Production Stage Manager and Nikki Blue is the Stage Manager.

Touch Tour and Audio-Described Performance: Saturday, February 19, 12:30pm Touch Tour; 2pm performance - The action/text is audibly enhanced for patrons via headset. NOTE: Touch Tours for the 2021/2022 Season will not have access to the stage due to current health and safety protocols, but will feature alternate pre-show sensory introductions.

ASL-Interpreted Performance: Friday, February 25 at 8:00pm - A professional American Sign Language interpreter signs the action/text as played.

Open-Captioned Performance: Saturday, February 26 at 2pm - An LED sign presents dialogue in sync with the performance.

Visit Goodman for more information about Goodman Theatre's accessibility efforts.

Health and Safety Note: Proof of full vaccination with an FDA or WHO-authorized vaccine is required for all guests over 12 and a recent negative test must be presented for children under 12. Patrons must wear face coverings at all times while inside Goodman Theatre. Learn more

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