Carlo Alban, Kate Nowlin, and More to Star in The Public's Mobile Unit Tour of SWEAT
The Public Theater will begin performances of the MOBILE UNIT NATIONAL TOUR of Lynn Nottage's powerful Pulitzer Prize-winning play, SWEAT, directed by Kate Whoriskey, on September 27 in Erie, Pennsylvania. The Mobile Unit, originally founded by Joe Papp in 1957 and currently touring to the five boroughs biannually, will begin its first national initiative with a free, four-week tour to 18 cities across Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin from Thursday, September 27 through Tuesday, October 23, 2018.
"Our SWEAT tour is intended to be just a start to rich, ongoing dialogues with the communities we visit," said Artistic Director Oskar Eustis. "We have been overwhelmed with the enthusiasm of our community partners across the Midwest, and look forward to much, much more together."
SWEAT tells the story of a group of friends who have spent their lives sharing drinks, secrets, and laughs while working together on a factory floor. But when layoffs and picket lines begin to chip away at their trust, the friends find themselves pitted against each other in the hard fight to stay afloat.
The complete cast of MOBILE UNIT NATIONAL TOUR OF SWEAT includes Carlo Albán (Oscar), Benton Greene (Brucie), Rebecca Hart(Jessie), Hunter Hoffman (Jason), Jenny Jules (Cynthia), Steve Key (Stan), Kate Nowlin (Tracey), Calvin Leon Smith (Chris), and Lance Coadie Willams (Evan).
"I am thrilled to bring SWEAT to the first audiences of the Mobile Unit National Tour," said director Kate Whoriskey. "This production features the most intimate relationship between the actor and audience to date. Our work in the rehearsal room is vitalized and grows more specific as we learn about the lives of the people we will meet on the road. We look forward to being in conversation."
SWEAT premiered in New York at The Public Theater in 2016 and was extended three times, with critics writing about the play's breathtaking timeliness, compassion, and power. The play opened on Broadway on March 26, 2017 at Studio 54 produced by Stuart Thompson and Louise Gund, won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Play. The MOBILE UNIT NATIONAL TOUR OFSWEAT performances in Minnesota are produced in collaboration with the Guthrie Theater.
Before, during, and after performances, MOBILE UNIT NATIONAL TOUR will facilitate additional programming tailor-made with and for the 18 cities on the tour. This array of community-driven artistic activities-co-organized by leaders in both the Midwest and The Public-will support the vital work already happening in the communities. Taken together, the performance and programmatic components center on local issues and unite neighbors around their shared experiences, theatrical and local alike. Activities range from story circles (a small group of individuals sitting in a circle, sharing stories from their own experience, focusing on a common theme), to public art projects, to theater-driven workshops exploring issues, like opioid addiction, through an interactive experience with teaching artists and local experts.
In 2017, the MOBILE UNIT celebrated the 60th anniversary of its inaugural mobile tour in 1957, which began with a production of Romeo and Juliet directed by Joseph Papp with Bryarly Lee and Stephen Joyce in the titular roles. The 1957 Mobile Unit tour received early support from New York City authorities. Stanley Lowell, then deputy mayor, was an early champion for free theater, and mobilized city resources and departments to support Papp's production. The first Mobile Unit rolled up to performance venues across the city in a borrowed Department of Sanitation vehicle with a wooden folding stage mounted to a truck bed and portable seating risers to accommodate 700 people per venue. The city's Parks Department permitted performances in local parks across all five boroughs. Subsequent productions included The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Macbeth, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Henry V, The Taming of the Shrew, Ti-Jean and His Brothers, Take One Step, Unfinished Women Cry in No Man's Land While a Bird Dies in a Gilded Cage, and Volpone, among many others. Currently, The Public's Mobile Unit biannually brings Shakespeare and other works to audiences who have limited or no access to the arts by visiting correctional facilities, homeless shelters, social service organizations, and other community venues. Recent New York Mobile Unit productions include Henry V; The Winter's Tale; Twelfth Night; Hamlet; Romeo & Juliet; The Comedy of Errors; Measure for Measure; Richard III; Much Ado About Nothing; Pericles, Prince of Tyre; and Macbeth.
Photo Credit: Walter McBride / WM Photos