SWEAT Opens Tonight At Goodman Theatre
Powerful drama: still made in America. Lynn Nottage's 2017 Pulitzer Prize-winning play Sweat opens tonight in its Chicago premiere at Goodman Theatre. Ron OJ Parson directs the collision of race, class and friendship at a pivotal moment in America-hailed as "extraordinarily moving" (The New York Times) and "passionate and necessary...a masterful depiction of the forces that divide and conquer us" (Time Out New York). Sweat marks the fourth Nottage play to be produced at the Goodman, following Crumbs from the Table of Joy (2006), Ruined (a 2008 world-premiere Goodman commission that earned the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Drama) and By the Way, Meet Vera Stark (2013). Sweat appears through April 14 in the Albert Theatre. Tickets ($20 - $80; subject to change) are available at Goodmantheatre.org/Sweat, by telephone at 312.443.3800 or at the box office (170 N. Dearborn).
"When I read the play, which toggles back and forth in time between 2000 and 2008, I thought our audiences would appreciate its adroit examination of the deindustrialization of American cities, its incisive portrayal of race relations and its lively characters whose quotidian daily concerns belie the vast scope of their story," said Artistic Director Robert Falls. "We are proud to welcome back both Lynn and Ron for this work that is as enthralling as it is though-provoking, as we look back on the first decade of this century with the perspective of all that has happened in our nation since."
Friends in a Rust Belt town have spent their lives sharing secrets and laughs on the factory floor. But when layoffs begin to chip away at their trust, they're pitted against each other in a heart-wrenching fight. "Lynn Nottage goes into the heart of working-class America" (Variety) in this "superb, vital contribution to contemporary drama that could not be more timely" (The New York Times). The ensemble cast includes Tyla Abercrumbie (Cynthia), Steve Casillas (Oscar), Mike Cherry (Jason), Ronald Conner (Evan), Chaon Cross (Jessie), Kirsten Fitzgerald (Tracey), Keith Kupferer (Stan), Edgar Sanchez (Chris) and André Teamer (Brucie). The creative team includes Kevin Depinet (Set Design), Mara Blumenfeld (Costume Design), Keith Parham (Lighting Design) and Richard Woodbury (Sound Design). Alden Vasquez is the Production Stage Manager.
Playwright Lynn Nottage is the first woman in history to win two Pulitzer Prizes for Drama. Her plays have been produced widely in the United States and throughout the world. Sweat (Pulitzer Prize, Obie Award, Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, Tony Award nomination, Drama Desk Award nomination) moved to Broadway after a sold-out run at The Public Theater. It premiered and was commissioned by Oregon Shakespeare Festival American Revolutions History Cycle/Arena Stage. Her other plays include By The Way, Meet Vera Stark (Lilly Award, Drama Desk Nomination), Ruined (Pulitzer Prize, OBIE, Lucille Lortel, New York Drama Critics' Circle, Audelco, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards), Intimate Apparel (American Theatre Critics and New York Drama Critics' Circle Awards for Best Play), Fabulation, or The Re-Education of Undine (OBIE Award), Crumbs from the Table of Joy, Las Meninas, Mud, River, Stone, Por'knockers and POOF! In addition, she is working with composer Ricky Ian Gordon on adapting her play Intimate Apparel into an opera (commissioned by The Metropolitan Opera/Lincoln Center Theater). She is also developing This is Reading, a performance installation based on two years of interviews, which opened at the Franklin Street, Reading Railroad Station in Reading, PA in July 2017. She is currently an artist-in-residence at the Park Avenue Armory. She is the co-founder of the production company Market Road Films, whose most recent projects include The Notorious Mr. Bout directed by Tony Gerber and Maxim Pozdorovkin (premiere at Sundance Film Festival 2014), First to Fall directed by Rachel Beth Anderson (premiere at International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, 2013) and Remote Control (premiere at Busan International Film Festival 2013, New Currents Award). She has also developed original projects for HBO, Sidney Kimmel Entertainment, Showtime, This is That and Harpo. She is writer/producer on the Netflix series She's Gotta Have It directed by Spike Lee. Nottage is the recipient of a MacArthur "Genius Grant" Fellowship, Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, PEN/Laura Pels Master Playwright Award, Arts and Letters Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Grant Letters, Columbia University Provost Grant, Doris Duke Artist Award, The Joyce Foundation Commission Project & Grant, Madge Evans and Sidney Kingsley Award, Nelson A. Rockefeller Award for Creativity, The Dramatists Guild Hull-Warriner Award, the inaugural Horton Foote Prize, Helen Hayes Award, the Lee Reynolds Award and the Jewish World Watch iWitness Award. Her other honors include the National Black Theatre Fest's August Wilson Playwriting Award, a Guggenheim Grant, Lucille Lortel Fellowship and Visiting Research Fellowship at Princeton University. She is a graduate of Brown University and the Yale School of Drama. She is also an associate professor in the theater Department at Columbia School of the Arts. Nottage is a board member for BRIC Arts Media Bklyn, Donor Direct Action, Dramatist Play Service, Second Stage and the Dramatists Guild. She recently completed a three-year term as an Artist Trustee on the Board of The Sundance Institute. She is member of the The Dramatists Guild and WGAE.
Director Ron OJ Parson returns to Goodman Theatre, where he previously directed Let Me Live (1998). As an actor, he last appeared at the Goodman in Romance. He is a resident artist at Court Theatre, and former co-founder and artistic director of The Onyx Theatre Ensemble. Recent directing credits include Skeleton Crew and Detroit 67 at Northlight Theatre; Fences at Kansas City Repertory Theatre; Five Guys Named Moe, Gem of the Ocean, Seven Guitars, The Mountaintop and Waiting For Godot at Court Theatre; East Texas Hot Links at Writers Theatre (where he is an associate artist); Paradise Blue, A Raisin in the Sun and Sunset Baby at TimeLine Theatre Company (where he is an associate artist), Apt. 3 A at Windy City Playhouse and The Who & The What at Victory Gardens Theater. Additional Chicago credits include Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Black Ensemble Theater, ETA Creative Arts, Congo Square Theatre Company, Teatro Vista (where he is an associate artist), Chicago Dramatists, UrbanTheater Company, Chicago Theatre Company, American Blues Theater and City Lit Theater. Regional and New York credits include Virginia Stage Company, Paul Robeson Theatre, Portland Stage, Studio Theatre, Studio Arena Theatre, Roundabout Theatre Company, Morris A. Mechanic Theatre, Baltimore Center Stage, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, The St. Louis Black Repertory, Pittsburgh Public Theater, Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company, Geva Theatre Center, Signature Theatre (New York), Alliance Theatre, South Coast Repertory and Pasadena Playhouse. In Canada, he directed the world premiere of Palmer Park at the Stratford Festival. Parson is a member of AEA, SAG-AFTRA and SDC. Parson hails from Buffalo, New York and is a graduate of the University of Michigan's professional theater program. RonojParson.com