Lynn Nottage's SWEAT Makes Indy Debut at Phoenix Theatre
With only two productions to go in the Park Avenue location, Phoenix Theatre plans to go out with a bang. Sweat by Lynn Nottage, who won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for the script, is a fiery story of identity, racial tension, and economic politics in the industrial, blue-collar world of the American labor force. Joining the stellar cast is Indianapolis and Bloomington favorite, Diane Kondrat, returning to Indy after adding some Portland, Oregon credits to her resume. Upon returning, Kondrat said she has most missed her theatre home at Phoenix: "Since my first show here in the 1989-90 season, I have done beautiful roles in compelling scripts on both the upper and lower stages. The Phoenix was my home theatre for twenty-five years. I'm very grateful to be back for the final mainstage show." Travel wasn't a drawback for the opportunity to play this role, which Kondrat calls "a highly emotional character who instigates a lot of activity." As she puts it, "roles this dynamic are rare in my age range" so the flight from Oregon was a short leap to take stage in this fascinating play.
Sweat marks the final production on the current Steve & Livia Russell stage before Phoenix moves to their new building in May. Producing Director Bryan Fonseca, who directs Sweat, was looking for a strong story with huge community impact to close out that stage. With rallying cries like "One of us has to be left standing" and "Nostalgia is a disease," the intense conflict between what was and what is- a view which differs greatly depending on the character-Sweat is exactly the story Phoenix needs. It's nearly impossible to divorce this play from the current political climate despite it being set in the early 2000s. While Nottage penned the drama before President Trump's election, cries of "Make America Great Again" echo in the undercurrent of the story-cries both in favor and against the mantra. A fantastically scripted story, Sweat will have you calling for a strike on labor politics by the final curtain.
Other cast includes Phoenix regulars: Rob Johansen, Angela Plank, Nathan Robbins, Dena Toler, Ian Cruz, and Ramon Hutchins and new artists to Phoenix: Josiah McCruiston and Dwuan Watson. Designers include Michael Moffatt, lighting design; Phil Male, scenic design; Brittany Kugler, costume design; Danielle Buckel, properties design, and Tom Horan, sound design.
Sweat runs February 8-March 4, 2018. Tickets are available by calling the box office at 317-635- 7529 or going online at www.phoenixtheatre.org. Tickets are: $27 for regular Thursdays at 7pm, Fridays at 8pm, and Sundays at 2pm. Opening night Friday and Saturdays at 8pm are $33.
The Phoenix Theatre is Indiana's only professional contemporary theatre, and has presented productions to challenge and entertain the Indianapolis community for over 34 years. An Equity house, the Phoenix presents the Midwest and Indiana premieres of many popular Broadway and Off-Broadway plays, and has presented approximately 100 world premieres. The Phoenix operates the 130-seat proscenium Livia and Steve Russell Stage as well as the 75-seat cabaret-style black box Frank and Katrina Basile Stage. Both venues are housed along with administrative offices in a renovated 1907 church in downtown Indianapolis' historic Chatham Arch neighborhood, part of the Mass Ave Arts and Culture District. The Phoenix Theatre is a founding member of the National New Play Network and the League of Indianapolis Theatres, and is supported by the Indiana Arts Commission, the Arts Council of Indianapolis, and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as local corporate and foundation funders and more than 400 individual donors.