Best Of 2008

BEST ACTRESS: Sharon Scott

Scott dominated the stage in August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean at American Stage, easily convincing us that yes, she was 285 years old, and no, age hadn’t diminished her authority — moral and emotional — one bit. Gem was all about Ester, and about Citizen Barlow (Leonard Williams), who had committed some terrible crime and who came to her to have his soul “washed.” Mesmerizing him and us, Ester informed him that what he really needed was a mystical voyage to the mysterious City of Bones — and then proceeded to take him and us on that journey. Tough and tender, wise and patient, Scott played Aunt Ester as if she were powerful enough to carry the whole suffering world on her shoulders and still have a few good words about compassion and tolerance. Acting like hers quivers the spine and warms the heart.