Set in the Hill District of Pittsburgh in 1904."August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean is like a great and mighty ship riding the waves of history. With sails at full mast, blown by the winds of clarity and tireless resolve, it surges onward toward its charted destination, the port of right understanding." —Phylicia Rashad"A swelling battle hymn of transported beauty. Theatergoers who have followed August Wilson’s career will find in Gem a touchstone for everything else he has written."—Ben Brantley, New York Times
Gem of the Ocean is the play that begins it all. Set in 1904 Pittsburgh, it is chronologically the first work in August Wilson’s decade-by-decade cycle dramatizing the African American experience during the twentieth century—an unprecedented series that includes the Pulitzer Prize-winning plays Fences and The Piano Lesson. Aunt Esther, the drama’s 287-year-old fiery matriarch, welcomes into her Hill District home Solly Two Kings, who was born into slavery and scouted for the Union Army, and Citizen Barlow, a young man from Alabama searching for a new life.
EXPLORE THE CENTURY CYCLE