Trinity Rep Presents Sweat
Pulitzer Prize-winning Drama and Broadway Hit April 2 – May 3
Providence, RI: Trinity Rep continues its 2019-20 Season with Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Sweat by Lynn Nottage. This Broadway hit is the story of the unintended consequences of community without opportunity. It is set during the Great Recession and in the years leading up to it in Reading, Pennsylvania, while friends try to stay afloat as their industrial jobs begin to disappear. This relevant and timely topic shines a light on American workers that are often forgotten. Sweat runs April 2 – May 3, with press opening on Monday, April 6 at 7:30 pm. Tickets start at $27. More information can be found at www.TrinityRep.com/sweat.
The Arthur P. Solomon and Sally E. Lapides Artistic Director Curt Columbus says of Sweat: “The play and its message are so powerful and urgent to our present American moment, and the telling so rich and rewarding that it has already sparked many conversations across the country and won its author the Pulitzer Prize. Lynn Nottage’s play is also a glorious character study, and one that invites great actors to be great in those lives. I’m thrilled that director Christie Vela has returned to direct with us, after her beautiful work on Native Gardens two seasons ago. I know that she, and the incredible artists working with her, will have something very important to add to the story.”
Deep in the Rust Belt, blue-collar factory workers swear by longtime friendships that seem unbreakable. These women spend their days working at physically-demanding jobs and their evenings laughing over drinks and dreaming of retirement. But mistrust, pride, and the economic pressures from a changing America introduce fissures in the foundation of this chosen family. Soon the bonds shatter, forever altering the path of two generations.
Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner and graduate of Brown University Lynn Nottage wrote Sweat after dedicating herself to writing about a time in American History that needed further examination. This led Nottage to Reading, Pennsylvania, a post-industrial city who had once seen financial prosperity with its textile and steel factories, the Reading railroad, and home to the first outlet malls, to conduct interviews with its community. After the Great Recession in 2008-09, Reading’s financial prowess fell apart – and at the time of Nottage’s interviews in 2011 – was considered to be the poorest city in America. Nottage interviewed all types of members of the community, from the city’s first African American mayor, to its homeless, and a group of middle-aged steel works who had been locked out of their factory for 93 weeks after working there for half their lives. The plight of the displaced workers and the struggles of the Americans that Nottage was in conversation with led to Sweat, a look at the people whose stories are often left untold.
Sweat debuted at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2015 and then opened off-Broadway the following year at The Public Theater, where it was met with a sold-out run. Sweat then opened on Broadway at the beginning of 2017 to critical acclaim. Sweat won the 2017 Obie Award for Playwriting, the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, and was nominated for a Tony Award for best play. It then went on to win the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in Drama.
Cast and Creative Team
Christie Vela was last at Trinity Rep directing the 2017-18 Season’s Native Gardens. She serves as the Associate Artistic Director at Theatre Three in Dallas, Texas, where she most recently directed a new adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. She is a founding member of the Brierley Resident Acting Company at The Dallas Theater Center, and she is a company member of Kitchen Dog Theater.
Lynn Nottage is an American playwright and the only woman to have the Pulitzer Prize for Drama twice, once in 2009 for Ruined and again for Sweat in 2017. Nottage is the recipient of a MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellowship as well as numerous other awards and fellowships. Most recently she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2018. Nottage received a Bachelor of Arts from Brown University in 1986, and her Master of Fine Arts in Playwriting from Yale University in 1989. Nottage’s plays have been produced worldwide.
Vela will be working alongside Dahlia Al-Habieli (set design), Jennifer Ables (costume design), Aaron Johansen (lighting design), and John M. Flores (sound design).
The cast of this production features resident company members Angela Brazil as Tracey, Mauro Hantman as Stan and Anne Scurria as Jessie. Joining the cast are Brown/Trinity MFA students Alfredo Antillon ’21 as Oscar, Andrew Gombas ’21 as Jason, Christopher Lindsay ’21 as Chris, and alumnus Rachel Christopher ’11 as Cynthia. Guest artist Dereks Thomas will play Evan and Brucie.
Community Partnerships and Special Events for Sweat
Continuing Trinity Rep’s tradition of offering affordable tickets for all, the theater will have discounted previews of Sweat. Thursday, April 2 is a Pay What You Can performance. Pay What You Can tickets go on sale at 6:30 pm that evening, and are limited to one per person.
Other special performances for Sweat include an Open Captioned performance for the show on Sunday, April 5 at 2:00 pm and Wednesday, April 15 at 2:00 and 7:30 pm. The Next Generation Night will be held on Thursday, April 9, and includes a special event for the next generation of theater-goers. The Teens Talk performance will be held on Friday, April 10, which features Trinity Rep’s Teen Ambassadors discussing their perspective on the show following the 7:30 performance.
A Context & Conversation panel discussion will be held in partnership with Providence Public Library on Monday, April 20 at 6:00 pm at Slater Mill at 67 Roosevelt Avenue in Pawtucket. At this free event, panelists from the community will examine the workforce, labor, and the relationships and connections we make at work. Christina Bevilacqua, Trinity Rep’s conversationalist-in-residence and programs and exhibitions director at Providence Public Library will moderate the discussion.
Sweat is sponsored by Brown University, with Rhode Island PBS as the Media Sponsor. The 2019-20 Season Sponsors are Ocean State Job Lot and Rhode Island Council on the Arts. The 2019-20 Season supporting sponsor is The Providence Tourism Council. Southwest Airlines is the official airline of Trinity Rep.
Trinity Repertory Company
Rhode Island’s Tony Award-winning theater, Trinity Rep has created unparalleled professional theater for and with its community since its founding in 1963. Trinity Rep strives to facilitate human connection and has been a driving force behind the creativity that fuels and defines the region for more than 50 years.
Trinity Rep is committed to reinventing the public square and inspiring dialogue by creating emotionally-stimulating live productions that range from classical to contemporary and innovative education programs for all ages and abilities. Its annual production of A Christmas Carol has brought families together for more than four decades and made memories for over a million audience members.
Subscriptions and single tickets are now on sale for the upcoming 2020-21 Season and the current 2019-20 Season, which included the world-premiere of The Prince of Providence by George Brant, based on the book The Prince of Providence by Mike Stanton; with Fade by Tanya Saracho; August Wilson’s Radio Golf; A Tale of Two Cities by Brian McEleney, based on the novel by Charles Dickens; and continues with Sweat by Lynn Nottage; and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by Hugh Wheeler.
For more information on our 2019-20 Season, call the box office at (401) 351-4242 or visit Trinity Rep's website at www.TrinityRep.com.