Jan 22 - Feb 27, 2022 in Goodman's Albert Theatre

Around 3 hours and 15 minutes with intermission

A major revival of the play that begins August Wilson’s epic 10-play American Century Cycle—on the stage where it premiered in 2003.

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.

Read Content Advisory Info
  • Gem of the Ocean is appropriate for ages 14 and up. It contains mature themes and adult language. For more information contact the box office at 312.443.3800

Please note: In compliance with the City of Chicago vaccine requirement, proof of vaccination with an FDA or WHO-authorized vaccine is required for all guests. Masks are required at all times in the theater and patrons under 5 are not permitted. Learn more at GoodmanTheatre.org/Protocols.

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2021/2022 Memberships

Packages are now available for our Homecoming Season

CLASSIC Membership: Premium seating, yours to renew year after year. 4-show packages start at just $80. BUY NOW

CHOICE Membership: Choose 3 or more plays in the Albert or Owen Theatre. Save 15-25%. BUY NOW

WHENEVER Membership: Get 4-10 passes to use whenever you'd like. Ages 35 & under save even more. BUY NOW



Contact the box office at 312.443.3800 (12noon - 5pm, daily).

  • August Wilson

    August Wilson Playwright

  • Chuck Smith

    Chuck Smith Director

  • Sharif Atkins

    Sharif Atkins Citizen Barlow

  • Sydney Charles

    Sydney Charles Black Mary

  • Lisa Gaye Dixon

    Lisa Gaye Dixon Aunt Ester

  • Gary Houston

    Gary Houston Rutherford Selig

  • Kelvin Roston, Jr.

    Kelvin Roston, Jr. Caesar

  • A.C. Smith

    A.C. Smith Eli

  • James A. Williams

    James A. Williams Solly Two Kings

  • Wardell Julius Clark

    Wardell Julius Clark Understudy

  • Ronald L. Conner

    Ronald L. Conner Understudy

  • Krystel V. McNeil

    Krystel V. McNeil Understudy

  • Joseph Primes

    Joseph Primes Understudy

  • Ron E. Rains

    Ron E. Rains Understudy

  • TayLar

    TayLar Understudy

  • Linda Buchanan

    Linda Buchanan Set Designer

  • Evelyn Danner

    Evelyn Danner Costume Designer

  • Robert Perry

    Robert Perry Lighting Designer

  • Pornchanok (Nok) Kanchanabanca

    Pornchanok (Nok) Kanchanabanca Sound Designer

  • Mike Tutaj

    Mike Tutaj Projection Designer

  • Briana J. Fahey

    Briana J. Fahey Production Stage Manager

  • Nikki Blue

    Nikki Blue Stage Manager

  • Lauren Port

    Lauren Port Casting

  • Rachael Jimenez

    Rachael Jimenez Casting

  • Jared Bellot

    Jared Bellot Dramaturg

  • Fatima Sowe

    Fatima Sowe Dramaturg

  • Mac Gay Anderson-Cooper

    Mac Gay Anderson-Cooper Assoc. Director

  • Michelle E. Benda

    Michelle E. Benda Asst. Lighting Designer

  • Stan Brown

    Stan Brown Voice & Text Coach

  • Rebecca Goodman

    Rebecca Goodman Asst. to the Director

  • Nick Sandys

    Nick Sandys Fight Coordinator & Intimacy Consultant


Join us for any of the following accessible performances.

Questions? Please contact 312.443.3800 (voice), 312.443.3829 (TTY/TDD) or email Access@GoodmanTheatre.org.

Touch Tour and Audio Described performanceTouch Tour* and Audio-Described Performance
Saturday, February 19
12:30pm Touch Tour & 2pm Performance

American Sign Language Interpreted PerformanceAmerican Sign Language-Interpreted Performance
Friday, February 25 at 8pm

Open Caption Performance Open-Captioned Performance
Saturday, February 26 at 2pm

See All Accessibility Information for Gem of the Ocean

*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.

Recommended Reads
  • August Wilson

    The Ground on Which He Stood

    June, 1996 - Legendary playwright August Wilson stood before an audience at the Theatre Communications Group National Conference and gave a keynote address that sent shock waves through the theater industry. In this article, Gem of the Ocean Dramaturg Jared Bellot summarizes the life, legacy and lasting impact of Mr. Wilson.


  • Standing Up

    Standing Up

    August Wilson had a special relationship with Chicago– including a one-of-a-kind collaboration with longtime Goodman Resident Director Chuck Smith. As he prepares to direct what he considers the most important work in the 10-play Century Cycle, Mr. Smith opens up about his time spent with the Pulitzer Prizewinning playwright.


Season Overview

Welcome back to your home for theater, Goodman Theatre.

A thrilling line-up awaits as we return to stage and resume performances. The 2021/2022 Season reflects the artistic excellence that you love, and the commitment to our Chicago community that you expect. Come share the moments—together, in-person, once again—that inspire our collective humanity.