Directed by Chuck Smith


(out of 4)
Chicago Sun-Times

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

3 hours and 15 minutes with intermission

Gem of the Ocean

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.

Wardell Julius Clark will be appearing as Citizen Barlow for all remaining performances.

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

Check out Behind the Curtain, our digital interview series with Director Chuck Smith and cast members of Gem of the Ocean where they discuss August Wilson’s work, their roles and more. Watch the full interviews here.


Please note: Proof of vaccination with an FDA or WHO-authorized vaccine is required for all guests. Masks are required at all times and patrons under 5 are not permitted. Learn more at

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