Sweat

October 12 – November 4, 2018

Tue. 6:30pm * Wed. 1pm & 7pm * Thur. 7pm * Fri. 8pm * Sat. 2 & 8pm * Sun. 3pm

Winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize!

By Lynn Nottage
Directed by Justin Emeka
Scenic Design by Christopher Ash
Costume Design by LeVonne Lindsay
Lighting Design by Aly Docherty
Sound Design by Christopher Colucci
Props by Mark Williams
Fight Direction by Rick Sordelet

Honorary Executive Producers: Victor Keen & Jeanne Ruddy Keen
Honorary Producers: Linda & David Glickstein

Reading, Pennsylvania. A valley town of fiercely proud families who worked for generations in the plants and factories of a thriving county seat. Unions rule, well-paying jobs are coveted and politics are personal. As industries disappear, the men and women of Reading are rendered powerless as they watch their income, legacy and relationships follow suit. Based on Lynn Nottage’s extensive research in Reading, Sweat shares the fear, tragedy and hopefulness of a community being forced to accept inevitable change.  

Run Time: 2 hrs 30 mins with one intermission
Recommended for ages 14+  This play contains strong language, the use of herbal cigarettes and illusions of violence.

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PTC will open the  2018-2019 season with the Philadelphia Premiere of Lynn Nottage’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play Sweat. Sweat will run October 12 to November 4, 2018. Filled with warm humor and tremendous heart, 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 in Reading, PA. However, when layoffs and picket lines begin to chip away at their trust, the friends find themselves pitted against each other in a heart-wrenching fight to stay afloat. The play was nominated for the 2017 Drama Desk Award-Outstanding Play and received three 2017 Tony Award nominations for Best Play and Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play for both Johanna Day and Michelle Wilson.

Lynn Nottage began working on the play in 2011 by interviewing residents of Reading, which at the time was, according to the United States Census Bureau, officially one of the poorest cities in America, with a poverty rate of over 40%. Nottage was particularly influenced by a New York Times article reporting on the city specifically, and by the Occupy Wall Street movement more generally. She particularly examined the loss of heavy industry and a changing ethnic composition of the region.

“One of the hardest jobs anyone can have is the job of being poor,” said Nottage. “To survive from day to day is an epic struggle to find a way to feed yourself, clothe yourself, put a roof over your head. It is the most Herculean path when you have nothing.”

Price added, “I thought it was important for us to bring this Pennsylvania story to life. At PTC’s See and Be Scene showcase, the audience expressed so much enthusiasm for this show. Sweat tells the story of people not far from here, and yet the themes in it certainly are relatable to people who live in Philadelphia. It’s a socially relevant work, written by a leading black American female playwright. It pulls no punches, revealing complex issues and deep passions in a story that is playing out with slight variations, in communities all over America.”

Awards & Accolades

2017 Drama Desk Award Nominee
Outstanding Play and Outstanding Fight Choreography

2017 Tony Award Nominee
Best Play
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play – Johanna Day
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play – Michelle Wilson

2017 Pulitzer Prize Winner for Drama

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Meet the Playwright & Director

Playwright Lynn Nottage

Lynn Nottage is a playwright and screenwriter and 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 Nomination, Drama Desk 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 Mlima’s Tale (upcoming, Public Theater), 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 Award), 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 Met/LCT).  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/Sundance 2014), First to Fall directed by Rachel Beth Anderson (Premiere/ IDFA, 2013) and Remote Control (Premiere/Busan 2013- New Currents Award) Over the years, she has 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 “Mimi” Distinguished Playwright Award, PEN/Laura Pels Master Playwright Award, Merit and Literature Award from The Academy of Arts and Letters, Columbia University Provost Grant, Doris Duke Artist Award, The Joyce Foundation Commission Project & Grant, Madge Evans-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 Theatre 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 Justin Emeka

Justin Emeka is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society and uses artistic and cultural innovation to create high quality, thoughtful, entertaining theatre–specializing in new approaches to “classic” texts, as well as imaginative staging of popular and emerging playwrights.  Off-Broadway credits include A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Romeo and Juliet at Classical Theatre of Harlem; Regional theatre productions include: Stick Fly at Intiman Theatre in Seattle; Detroit ’67 at Karamu House in Cleveland; A Raisin in the Sun at the Oberlin Summer Theatre Festival. At Oberlin College he directed Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman; Dominique Morrisseau’s Follow Me To Nellie’s; Shakespeare’s Macbeth; Alice Childress’s Wedding Band; and Gabriel Emeka’s The Compromise. At the University of Washington Ethnic Cultural Theatre he directed Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie; Amiri Baraka’s Dutchman; and Aishah Rahman’s Unfinished Women Cry in No Man’s Land While a Bird Dies in a Gilded Cage.  At Yale Repertory Theater he served as the movement coordinator and played the role of ‘Edgar’ in a unique African-American production of King Lear starring Avery Brooks. He helped found the Oberlin Summer Theater Festival where he directed and/or performed in A Raisin in the Sun, Crumbs from the Table of Joy, and The Glass Menagerie. He is also a writer and has received awards in playwriting from the Seattle Arts Commission, and screenwriting from the Washington State Film Commission. He recently published an essay “Seeing Shakespeare through Brown Eyes” in the book Black Acting Methods: Critical Approaches. Mr. Emeka is a Drama League Fellow and a tenured professor of Theatre (Directing & Acting) and Africana Studies at Oberlin College.

Meet the Cast of Sweat

Walter DeShields

Walter DeShields (Chris) is co-founder and co-artistic director for Theater in the X.  Recent acting performances in the area include Swallowing Dark, Hairy Ape, Othello, The Meeting, Milk Like Sugar, The Bends, Our Lady of 121st Street, Titus Andronicus, A Lesson Before Dying; Two Noble Kinsmen, To Be Young Gifted & Black, Blues for an Alabama Sky, A Soldier’s Play, Night Watch, Raisin in the Sun, The Exonerated, Jeffrey, and Wonder of the World. In front of the camera, he can be seen in over twenty short and feature films and several episodic TV and webseries. Walter holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and Theatre from Penn State.  Thank you Sydney, Malik, London and Walter.

Kimberly S. Fairbanks

Kimberly S. Fairbanks (Cynthia)  is thrilled to be in the cast of this Pulitzer play. Recent credits include – Theatre: Internationally: I Will Speak for Myself (Edinburgh Fringe Festival); Off Broadway: I Will Speak for Myself (59E59 Theater); The Mecca Tales (Sheen Center); Regional: Sanctions (World Premiere/Delaware Theatre Company), I Will Speak for Myself (Eugene O’Neill Foundation), Sing the Body Electric (Theatre Exile), Human Rites (InterAct Theatre), Passing Strange (The Wilma Theater); Film/Television: Glass, The Upside, Instinct, Madam Secretary, The Looming Tower, Delco Proper, House of Cards and The Family. Kimberly is a National Partners American Theatre Classical Acting Award Recipient and a Barrymore Award Nominee for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical. Thank you, Lynn Nottage; your work excites and inspires me!

Rich Hebert

Rich Hebert (Stan) has been seen in Philadelphia over the years at The Forrest (CATS 1st National), The Academy (Dad in Billy Elliot 1st national) and The Walnut St. ( Damn Yankees). He was last seen in NYC playing the role of Kelly OHara’s dad, Mr. McLaren in the 70th Anniversary Production of Brigadoon directed by Christopher Wheeldon at City Center. Before that, he played Adrian Saunders in The Last Ship with Sting at The Neil Simon. Other Broadway and National tours include Saturday Night Fever, The Life (original cast), Sunset Boulevard (original cast), Les Misérables ( Bay Area Critics Award for Valjean), and Rock and Roll The first 5000 Years. Mr. Hebert originated the role of “Zoser” in the world premiere production of Elton John’s Aida at The Alliance Theater and played Khashoggi in the first U.S. production of Queen’s We Will Rock You at The Paris in Las Vegas. Recently Rich has appeared in the one-man show The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelky, Clever Little Lies, August Osage County and The Arsonists (written by Jackie Goldfinger), at The B St Theater and Capital Stage Theater, respectively in Sacramento CA. He has guest starred in many television shows including Brotherhood, Law and Order SVU, The Sopranos, NYPD Blue, and The Young and the Restless. Rich can be seen in the upcoming film Brampton’s Own among many other films. He has appeared on two Grammy Award-winning albums and is very excited to be part of Paige Price’s inaugural season with the company.

J. Hernandez

J. Hernandez (Oscar) 2018 marks J’s 5th year of working with the Philadelphia theatre community and Sweat is his first at-bat with PTC. In and around town he’s worked for Lantern Theatre Co, Delaware Shakespeare, Philadelphia Artists’ Collective, Hedgerow Theatre, Commonwealth Classic Theatre, Delaware Shakespeare, InterAct Theatre Co, where he earned a Barrymore nomination for his work in How to Use a Knife, and Quintessence Theatre Group, where he earned a Barrymore nomination for his work as Lucky in Waiting for Godot. This winter and spring, J will be working for Arden Theatre Co and Quintessence Theatre, respectively. Many thanks to Paige Price, everyone at PTC, Justin Emeka, and the cast/crew of Sweat. Mucho amor por Mandy y mi familia en Tejas. Siempre resistir.

 

Suli Holum

Suli Holum (Jessie) Recent credits include co-directing and performing The Wholehearted with Stein | Holum Projects (www.steinholum.org) at Z Space (San Francisco), Center Theatre Group (LA), La Jolla Playhouse, and Abrons Arts Center (NYC), directing John Jarboe’s You Can Never Go Down the Drain with The Bearded Ladies at Joe’s Pub, La Mama and The Wilma, writing A Fierce Kind of Love, which will be remounted at FringeArts this spring, and appearing in Cabaret (Arden), Happy Birthday and Hope & Gravity (1812), and Company (11th Hour). Up next is performing in The Few at Theatre Horizon and directing/writing a world premiere commissioned by the National Constitution Center with support from The Pew. Holum has been awarded a Drama Desk, a Barrymore Award, a TCG/Fox Fellowship, a HARP residency, and an Independence Fellowship. She was a founding member of Pig Iron Theatre Company.

Kittson O'Neill

Kittson O’Neill (Tracey) is making her PTC Debut. Recent acting work includes:  Hand to God (Boise Contemporary Theater), Informed Consent (Lantern Theater Co), Grounded (InterAct, Barrymore Nomination – Best Actress), OR (Hedgerow), Arcadia (Lantern), The Body Lautrec (Cromie & Tuomanen), and Behind the Eye (Gas & Electric Arts). Recent on-camera work: Creed 2, LAW & ORDER: SVU, Outsiders, The Upside (with Bryan Cranston & Nicole Kidman) and Glass (2019 release). She is the Artistic Director of Shakespeare in Clark Park. Recent directing credits include Copenhagen (Lantern Theatre Company), Coriolanus (SCP), Uncle Vanya (Hedgerow Theater Company), the world premier of A Knee That Can Bend (Orbiter 3 – Barrymore Nomination, Best Director). She received a 2016 commission from Lantern Theater to write a musical, Minors, with composer Robert Kaplowitz, which will receive its world premiere in June 2019.

Matteo Scammell

Matteo Scammell (Jason) is a Barrymore Award-winning theatre-artist and musician. He is a Company Member of OBIE Award-Winning, theatre company, New Paradise Laboratories. NPL credits: 27, The Adults, O Monsters, Hello Blackout! Matteo is a multi-instrumentalist with Red 40 & The Last Groovement and a company member of The Wilma’s Hothouse. Mr. Scammell’s work has premiered at Ice Factory (NYC), The New Ohio Theater (NYC), Ant Fest (Ars Nova, NYC), Philadelphia’s Live Arts Festival/FringeArts. Regional Credits: Wilma, Arden, Exile, Pig Iron, 11th Hour, Walnut, PTC, Theatre Horizon, EgoPo, among others. This is the third time Scammell has performed with PTC, previously as Timothy in Robert Askins’ Hand to God and Kenny in Lisa D’Amour’s Detroit.

Damien J. Wallace

Damien J. Wallace (Brucie) is a veteran of theater, film and television, with a BFA degree with honors in Theatre from Arcadia University. Film credits include McCanick starring David Morse, and No Boundaries, featuring Mark McGraw, son of ex-Phillies pitcher Tug McGraw. He’s appeared in Philadelphia and Malcolm X, starring Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington, respectively. Theatre credits include extensive work in the August Wilson cycle, as well as Othello in Othello, Prospero in The Tempest, and Baptista in The Taming of the Shrew. Recently, he appeared in Two Trains Running, The Legend of Georgia McBride, and The Bluest Eye (Arden Theatre). Damien can be seen on several commercial spots, like Charco Caps, iBelong.org, and Mainline Health. Damien sends out his appreciation to Paige Price and Justin Emeka for their trust in his talent and gifts and to the entire Philadelphia Theatre Company for their support and professionalism. Lastly, to his son Trey Nakupenda!

Brian Anthony Wilson

Brian Anthony Wilson (Evan) Previously at PTC : King Hedley II, thrilled to be back! Recent Theatre: Lay Me Down Softly (IHT/Philly Fringe), Guys And Dolls (Royal One Productions), Romeo & Juliet: A Requiem & The Diary of Anne Frank (People’s Light), Thurgood (Olney Theatre Center, MD), Fences (J.A.G. Prod. in Woodstock, VT) and Titus Andronicus (Rowan University, NJ). Selected Film/TV Credits : Ocean’s 8, Glass, Room 9, Creed, Soller’s Point, Crooked & Narrow, Limitless, 6 Souls, Keeping The Faith, The Postman/Siren (Freeform T.V.), Dietland (AMC), Bloodline (Netflix), Gotham (Fox), Bull (CBS), Broad City (Comedy Central), Blue Bloods (CBS), The Sopranos & The Wire (HBO). For my Family. In Memory of my beloved ‘Aunt Boots’ (Marie Weaver).

Meet the Creative Team

Christopher Ash

Christopher Ash (Scenic and Projection Designer) is a scenic, projection, and lighting designer based in Philadelphia, PA.  Over 15 years his work has been seen in 13 countries and nominated for 14 awards. His past PTC credits include projections for Rizzo and Having Our Say. Other credits include Broadway: Saint Joan, Sunday In The Park With George; Theater: Wilma, Bearded Ladies Cabaret, Guthrie, Yale Rep, Bucks County Playhouse, Classic Stage Co., Hartford Stage, Soho Rep, Engeman, Paramount, Drury Lane Oakbrook, Chautauqua Institute, Old Globe, Geffen, South Coast Rep, San Diego Rep, Victory Gardens, Laguna Playhouse, Wallis, Theatreworks  Opera: Lyric Opera Chicago, Canadian Opera, Houston Grand, Opera Delaware, Summer Opera DC. Dance: Charlotte Ballet, River North, Hubbard Street 2, Heidi Latsky, Anadolu Ateşi (Istanbul), CoisCéim (Dublin). Training: MFA Yale School of Drama  www.christopherash.com

 

LeVonne Lindsay

LeVonne Lindsay (Costume Designer) is the Costume Shop Manager and Assistant Adjunct Professor at The University of the Arts. She holds a B.S. in fashion design from Philadelphia University and an M.F.A in costume design from the University of Maryland, College Park. Academic positions held at Stevenson University, James Madison University, and Valdosta State University. Staff positions held at Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare Theater Company DC, Wolftrap Opera Company and Washington National Opera. Resident Designer for the African Continuum Theatre of Washington DC from 2002-2004. Allen Lee Hughes Fellow at Arena Stage 2001-2003. Notable design credits include: Theater Horizon: White; Sympatico Theater Project: Time Is On Our Side; Virginia Stage Company: The Hampton Years; Arena Stage: Yellowman; Kennedy Center Theatre for Young Audiences: Jason Invisible, Locomotion, Handspeak, Color Me Dark; Everyman Theatre: Crimes of the Heart, Topdog/Underdog, A Raisin in the Sun, The Brothers Size, Proof; Hangar Theatre: Gem of the Ocean.

Alyssandra Docherty

Alyssandra Docherty (Lighting Designer) is thrilled to make her design debut at Philadelphia Theatre Company!  Originally from Vernon, NJ, Aly graduated from DeSales University before continuing her training as an Electrics Apprentice at Goodspeed Musicals in Connecticut.  She then spent five seasons as Philadelphia Theatre Company’s Lighting Supervisor, assisting each designer who came through during that span. She left that position to focus her time on designing.  Currently, she is a freelance designer based in Philadelphia, and tours internationally with both Koresh Dance Company as their Associate Lighting Designer and BalletX as their Lighting Director. Select recent credits include: Walnut Street Theatre Independence Studio: In Between, Shakespeare in Clark Park: Twelfth Night, Azuka Theatre: Mrs. Harrison and MOTH (Barrymore Award nominee), Theatre Horizon: 2.5 Minute Ride, Simpatico Theatre: Hir, and Brian Sanders’ JUNK- Dancing Dead IPX.  www.alyssandradocherty.com

Christopher Colucci

Christopher Colucci (Sound Designer) Recent work: Passage (Wilma Theater), Hapgood (Lantern Theater), A Doll’s House, Part 2 (Weston Playhouse), Broken Biscuit (1812). Upcoming: Charlotte’s Web (Arden Theater), Betrayal (Lantern Theater) and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (Walnut). Christopher has received a 2016 Pew Fellowship in the Arts, 8 Barrymore Awards for Outstanding Original Music and Sound Design and an Independence Foundation Fellowship. MA, Philosophy; Western Kentucky University. Welcome Paige; Thank you, PTC. For more sounds please visit http://soundcloud.com/cmsound and http://www. youtube.com/user/cmsound.

Mark Williams

Mark Williams (Props) has created props for the Delaware Theatre Company, Opera Delaware, The Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium, and EgoPo.  In addition, he served as props artisan for the Walnut Street Theatre and on crew for the Grand Opera House, in Wilmington Delaware.  He received his BA from Rowan University in Design/Technical Theatre as well as his dual major in Radio/Television/Film.

Rick Sordelet

Rick Sordelet (Fight Director) and his son, Christian Kelly-Sordelet, are the creators of www.Sordeletinc.com, NYC’s finest action movement company for stage and camera.  Broadway: 72 shows including The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Eclipsed. National Tours: Beauty and the Beast, Les Misérables. International: 53 productions including Tarzan, Aida, The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Ben Hur Live (Rome and European tour). Opera: Cyrano (w/ Placido Domingo) The Met, The Royal Opera House; La Scalia (Milan). Also, Santa Fe Opera.  Film: The Game Plan, Dan in Real Life, Brave New Jersey, Ben is Back, Hamlet. TV: CBS: Guiding Light (Chief Stunt Coordinator for 12 years); Kevin Can Wait. Instructor, Yale School of Drama. Awards: Edith Oliver Award for Sustained Excellence from the Lucille Lortel Foundation; Jeff Award for Outstanding Fight Director for Romeo and Juliet at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Author. Buried Treasure, Hawk’s Tavern. sordeletink.com

Katie Ringwood

Katie Ringwood (Stage Manager) is thrilled to be working with Philadelphia Theatre Company! She is a Philadelphia-based stage manager with a flair for travel. Some favorite past credits include PSM for the International Tour of 50 Shades! The Musical Parody and regional credits such as Venus in Fur (Santa Cruz Shakespeare) Cabaret, A Doll’s House, Gypsy, John, Stupid Fucking Bird, The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, Equivocation, Passion, A Little Night Music, Next to Normal (Arden Theatre Co.) Legally Blonde (Fulton Theatre) Peter and the Starcatcher (Theatre Horizon) Penelope, Hand of Gaul (Inis Nua Theatre Co.) Katie is a Drexel University graduate with a business degree in Entertainment and Arts Management. Much Love and thanks to Beaner, Joey, Ryan and the wonderful people who make this crazy life possible.

Tori Heikenfeld

Tori Heikenfeld (Assistant Stage Manager) is delighted to be returning to Philadelphia Theatre Company where she previously assistant stage managed the tour of Small Mouth Sounds and PTC’s gala, Play Brawl. Most recently, she served as the assistant stage manager for the American debut of Asphalt Piloten’s Tape Riot with Kimmel Center’s PIFA and as the Marketing Coordinator for Arden Theatre Company. She has worked as the assistant stage manager at Portland Stage Company and Theatre Aspen. Favorite productions include Buyer and Cellar, Dear Edwina, and A Catered Affair. Tori is so thrilled to be a part of PTC’s 18/19 season. She received her B.A. in Theatre Production/Design and Public Relations at Susquehanna University. Tori is so thrilled to be a part of PTC’s 18/19 season. Many thanks to Paige and the wonderful Sweat team. Love and thanks to the family for their endless support.

Kasual Owens-Fields

Kasual Owens-Fields (Assistant Director) A Philadelphia native, her previous credits include assistant direction of Mrs. Harrison by R. Eric Thomas, Ready Steady Yeti Go by David Jacobi (Azuka Theatre), Ideation by Aaron Loeb (Theatre Exile), and A Bright New Boise by Samuel D. Hunter (Simpatico Theatre). Proud 2017 National Finalist for the SDC Directing Fellowship at The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. Love and thanks Dad, Mom and Mentors.

 

Illustration by Christina Mastrull