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Public Theater Mobile Unit National Launches With Lynn Nottage's SWEAT

Public Theater Mobile Unit National Launches With Lynn Nottage's SWEAT The Public Theater announced today that the Mobile Unit, originally founded by Joe Papp in 1957 and currently touring to the five boroughs biannually, will expand in September to launch MOBILE UNIT NATIONAL with a free, four-week tour of Lynn Nottage's powerful Pulitzer Prize-winning play, SWEAT, directed by Kate Whoriskey. SWEAT, staged in its entirety, will tour to 18 Midwest cities across Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and Wisconsin beginning Thursday, September 27 through Tuesday, October 23, 2018.

"The Sweat Mobile National Tour is our most dramatic attempt to break out of our New York bubble and speak to those who the non-profit theater has largely ignored: the rural communities of the upper Midwest," said Artistic Director Oskar Eustis. "If the culture belongs to everyone, it belongs to the citizens of Kenosha, Erie, and Saginaw as much as it belongs to Manhattan. We are thrilled to be bringing Lynn Nottage's brilliant Pulitzer Prize-winning play across America."

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.

"Sweat tells the story of Reading, Pennsylvania, but it could be any post-industrial city across the landscape," said playwright Lynn Nottage. "One of the beautiful things about what we're trying to do with the Mobile Unit National Tour is to link narratives and bring people not just in the communities into dialogue, but people across communities into dialogue and figure out how can we strategize and shift the national 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, won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Play. The SWEAT MOBILE NATIONAL TOUR performances in Minnesota are produced in collaboration with the Guthrie Theater.

Initial casting for the SWEAT MOBILE UNIT NATIONAL TOUR includes Carlo Albán (Oscar), Benton Greene (Brucie), Hunter Hoffman (Jason), Steve Key (Stan), and Lance Coadie Willams (Evan).

SWEAT will feature scenic design by Wilson Chin, costume design by Christopher Metzger, and sound design by Rob Milburn and Michael Bodeen.

With its inaugural production of SWEAT, The Public's MOBILE UNIT NATIONAL will increase the reach of the current Mobile Unit program in New York and strengthen The Public's commitment to belief that theater belongs to all by producing world-class productions in partnership with community partners nationwide.

In addition to performances, the MOBILE UNIT NATIONAL TOUR will engage with communities before and after the performance through a variety of interrelated programming in each community, coordinated by both local partners and The Public, on the issues and conversations most alive in their communities. Activities will range from story circles-a small group of individuals sitting in a circle, sharing stories from their own experience or imagination, focusing on a common theme-to community art projects and theater-driven workshops where they will explore an issue, 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 borrowed Department of Sanitation vehicles 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 brings Shakespeare and other works to audiences biannually 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.


Erie County, Pennsylvania | September 27

Crawford County, Pennsylvania | September 28

Ashtabula County, Ohio | September 29

Summit County, Ohio | October 2

Portage County, Ohio | October 3

Macomb County, Michigan | October 5

Saginaw County, Michigan | October 6

Eaton County, Michigan | October 8

Calhoun County, Michigan | October 9

Blue Earth County, Minnesota | October 11

Stearns County, Minnesota | October 12

Olmstead County, Minnesota | October 13

Kenosha County, Wisconsin | October 16

Rock County, Wisconsin | October 17

Columbia County, Wisconsin | October 18

Sauk County, Wisconsin | October 19

Vernon County, Wisconsin | October 21

Sawyer County, Wisconsin | October 23

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