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August Wilson nears end of theater cycle

Aug. 12, 2004 at 1:10 PM

NEW YORK, Aug. 12 (UPI) -- The ninth play in August Wilson's 10-play cycle on the black experience in America decade by decade in the 20th century is scheduled to open on Broadway.

The League of American Theaters and Producers said the play, "Gem of the Ocean," will be directed by Marion McClinton at the Walter Kerr Theater, beginning Nov. 11. It had its premiere in Chicago last year.

The Wilson, 59, several of whose plays have won the Pulitzer Prize, began the cycle in 1984 with "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom," set in the 1920s. Another play, "Fences," set in the 1960s, won a Tony award for best play on Broadway in 1987. Most of the plays have been set in Pittsburgh, Pa., Wilson's birthplace. He was a high school dropout who began writing poetry before turning to drama.

"Gem of the Ocean" will star Phylicia Rashad, who won the 2004 Tony for best actress in a Broadway play, Delroy Lindo, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, and Lisa Gay Hamilton.

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