‘Ocean’ toasts its gem

B'way show saved at the last minute

Angela Bassett and Cynthia Nixon came to the opening night of August Wilson‘s “Gem of the Ocean” on Monday, but the evening’s real star was Carole Shorenstein Hays, who saved the Broadway production by chipping in $1 million at the 11th hour.

Hays and Wilson “had a long, long talk and I just couldn’t say no,” recalled Hays, who is also putting up “Julius Caesar” and “Doubt” this season. “George C. Wolfe once said to me that anyone can do the easy ones, but it’s the hard ones that need to be done.”

At the after-party at Barbetta, play’s star Phylicia Rashad put a good spin on the funding delay. “It allowed us to take a nap,” she said.

Also at the show and party: helmer Kenny Leon, Jonathan Demme, Andre De Shields, Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis.

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