Asolo Rep Presents Pulitzer Prize-Winner SWEAT
Asolo Repertory Theatre proudly presents the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama winner and Tony nominee for Best Play: SWEAT, penned by one of today's foremost playwrights, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Lynn Nottage. Directed by Nicole A. Watson, this poignant new drama humanizes the U.S. labor crisis and its impact on Reading, Pennsylvania. SWEAT previews February 6 and 7, opens February 8 and runs through April 13 in rotating repertory in the Mertz Theatre, located in the FSU Center for the Performing Arts.
Set during the economic collapses of 2000 and 2008, SWEAT chronicles the stories of the resilient people of Reading, a steel town in Pennsylvania and one of the poorest in the nation. For decades, generation after generation has worked at the same factories with the promise of the American Dream. But mass layoffs, salary cuts, and factory closures mean a new status quo for the Reading community and for Tracy and Cynthia, whose friendship and families are tested when their jobs and futures are on the line. The second most produced play in the U.S. for the 2018-19 season, SWEAT dynamically magnifies the domino effect of economic downturn in the heart of working-class America.
"The beauty of SWEAT is that it vividly captures the soul of the Pennsylvania community during one of the greatest recessions in our nation's history. The brilliant Lynn Nottage breathes life into these real people, who are filled with tremendous heart, humor and hope despite their seemingly insurmountable obstacles," said Producing Artistic Director Michael Donald Edwards. "I urge our community to experience SWEAT, a compelling and heartfelt masterpiece that could not be more timely."
The cast features Carolyn Ann Hoerdemann (Tracy), who is also in The Crucible at Asolo Rep this season. She has previously been seen at American Players Theatre (Measure for Measure), the Goodman (Camino Real, Measure for Measure, Feathers and Teeth) Steppenwolf Garage (Venus), Chicago Shakespeare Theatre and more. Her television credits include Chicago Fire and Empire. Danielle Lee Greaves (Cynthia), also in The Crucible, returns to Asolo Rep after appearing in the theatre's 2008 production of Working. She has been seen on Broadway in A Streetcar Named Desire, Hairspray, Rent, Show Boat and Sunset Boulevard. Her television credits include The Blacklist, The Americans, Nurse Jackie, Smash and more.
The cast also includes Matt DeCaro (Stan, a bartender), who previously appeared in The Great Society, The Little Foxes and Rhinoceros and more at Asolo Rep, Gabriel Lawrence (Evan, a parole officer), Matthew Kresch (Jason, Tracy's son), Bruce A. Young (Brucie, Cynthia's husband), who all appear in The Crucible this season. It also features Rudy Galvan (Oscar, a busboy at the bar), Kevin Minor (Chris, Cynthia's son) and Liz Zweifler (Jessie, a factory worker and Tracy and Cynthia's friend).
Nottage was inspired by a New York Times article on Reading and the Occupy Wall Street grassroots movement and spent years interviewing the people of Reading in order to authentically tell their stories on stage. Her other works include the Pulitzer Prize-winning Ruined as well as Intimate Apparel (New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Play); Fabulation, or the Re-Education of Undine (Obie Award); Crumbs From the Table of Joy; Las Meninas (produced by Asolo Rep in 2011); Mud, River, Stone; Por'knockers; and Poof!
Nicole A. Watson, who directed The Great Society at Asolo Rep in 2017, is the Associate Artistic Director at Round House Theatre in Washington, D.C. She has also helmed Skeleton Crew (Baltimore Center Stage), Dot (Playmakers Rep), the world premieres of Fear City and World Builders (CATF) Night of The Living N-Word and more. She has been a guest director at A.C.T., Smith College, UNCSA, NYU and Long Island University.
"In Lynn Nottage's SWEAT, the people of Reading do what so many people in this country do: work hard and try to take care of their families. They are not asking for pity or handouts. They are asking for a fair deal. They are asking for promises to be kept," said Director Nicole A. Watson. "Lynn's play highlights the declining power of unions in favor of increased profits for the one percent and, in doing that, sheds light on the fallacy of the American Dream. The play takes place between 2000 and 2008, following the election and presidency of George W. Bush. I hope that seeing the past through our political and economic cycles sheds light on our present moment."