Lynn Nottage’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Play Set to Launch PTC’s 44th Season
Philadelphia Theatre Company announces the director and full cast for the Pennsylvania premiere of Lynn Nottage’s Sweat. This Pulitzer Prize for Drama winner explores Reading Pennsylvania’s shrinking industrial economy and shares the fear, tragedy and hopefulness of a community being forced to accept inevitable change. The production will kick-off the first produced season under new Producing Artistic Director Paige Price. Justin Emeka directs a cast filled with local stars and Barrymore Award-winners who have earned extensive theatre, film and television credits. Sweat will run from October 12 to November 4, 2018 at Philadelphia Theatre Company’s stage at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre, 480 S. Broad Street. Subscriptions and single tickets for the 2018-2019 season are already on sale and are available in person at the box office, online at philatheatreco.org or by phone at 215-985-0420.
Based on Lynn Nottage’s extensive research in Reading, Sweat is both a Pennsylvania story and a national story. In this play audiences witness a valley town that is home to fiercely proud families who have 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.
Taking on the roles of these everyday Pennsylvanians is a cast of actors who have appeared regularly on local and regional stages, and who have ample film and television credits.
“During my first year at PTC, I spent time getting to know my new city, our scene, and our theatre community. I confirmed what I had heard from so many colleagues in that the talent pool in Philadelphia runs deep and wide. Of the nine cast members, I am proud to share that eight of them are based right here at home”, said Price. “It was a goal from the beginning to cast this particular play with local talent that Philadelphia audiences would recognize and connect with.”
Celebrated local director, actress, and Barrymore nominee Kittson O’Neill plays Tracey. This summer, O’Neill also has a role in the film Glass and she recently appeared on Law & Order SVU.
Kimberly Fairbanks, who recently appeared back-to-back in Passing Strange at The Wilma Theater, Human Remains at InterAct Theatre Company, and Sing the Body Electric at Theatre Exile, plays Cynthia.
Suli Holum, who appeared this season in Cabaret at Arden Theatre Company and in 11th Hour Theatre Company’s concert performance of Company, plays Jessie.
Brian Anthony Wilson plays Evan. Wilson has an extensive theatre, film, and TV background. He was seen recently at People’s Light in The Diary of Anne Frank and Romeo and Juliet: A Requiem. Television appearances include Siren and this summer he is featured in the about-to-open Oceans 8 that stars Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson and others. He will also make an appearance on the big screen in Glass, written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan.
Barrymore Award Winner Matteo Scammell, who was recently in Hand to God and Detroit at PTC, returns to play “Jason”. Scammell, a Wilma Theater HotHouse member, has appeared on many local stages and is a company member at New Paradise Laboratories.
Making his PTC debut as “Chris” is local theatre, film, and television actor Walter DeShields. He recently appeared in The Swallowing Dark at Inis Nua Theatre.
Barrymore nominee J. Hernandez, who just appeared in The Tempest at Lantern Theatre Company as Antonio/Caliban and as Lucky in Waiting for Godot at Quintessence Theatre will appear in a pivotal role as the outsider “Oscar.”
Playing “Brucie” is noted local actor Damien Wallace, whose recent appearances include The Bluest Eye, Two Trains Running and The Legend of Georgia McBride at Arden Theatre Company.
Rounding out the cast is actor Rich Hebert as “Stan.” Hebert has several screen credits including a recurring role on the soap opera The Young and the Restless as Fred Logan. He also has extensive Broadway and national tour credits including The Last Ship, Saturday Night Fever, Cats, Sunset Boulevard and Les Miserables, among others.
The cast will be helmed by Justin Emeka, who is making his PTC debut directing this award-winning play. Off-Broadway he has directed Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Romeo and Juliet at the Classical Theatre of Harlem. Emeka is known for cultural and artistic innovation creating high quality, thoughtful, and entertaining theatre with new approaches to “classic” works and imaginative staging of popular and emerging playwrights.
“I couldn’t think of a better start to the season than with a cast heavy on Philadelphia actors bringing home a Pennsylvania story that is set just 63 miles away”, said Price. “The themes are so relevant in these current political and economic times.”
Sweat won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and was nominated for two 2017 Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Play and Outstanding Fight Choreography. Sweat received three 2017 Tony Award nominations: Best Play and Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play for both Johanna Day and Michelle Wilson.
Single tickets for Sweat are on sale now $25-$69 with discounts available for groups, seniors, students, industry, and the military. Subscriptions for the 2018-2019 season are also currently on sale and packages are 50% off, starting at $38. In addition to Sweat, PTC’s season will include the Philadelphia premiere of The Bridges of Madison County and the Rolling World Premiere of Christina Anderson’s How To Catch Creation. For additional information, tickets or subscriptions, please visit philatheatreco.org or call 215-985-0420.
PTC’s 2017-2018 season is sponsored by Comcast NBCUniversal, Independence Blue Cross, Dranoff Properties, Center City Film & Video, and American Airlines, the official airline of Philadelphia Theatre Company.
ABOUT PHILADELPHIA THEATRE COMPANY
Philadelphia Theatre Company (PTC) is a leading regional theater company that produces, develops, and presents entertaining and imaginative contemporary theater focused on the American experience. PTC balances its Philadelphia roots with a national point of view that combines a taste for adventure with a dedication to new American plays and musicals.
Founded in 1974, PTC has presented 140 world and Philadelphia premieres. More than 50 percent of PTC’s world premieres have moved on to New York and other major cities, helping to earn Philadelphia a national reputation as a hub for new play development. PTC has received more than 180 nominations and 53 awards from the Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theatre. In 2007, PTC was instrumental in expanding Philadelphia’s thriving cultural corridor by opening the Suzanne Roberts Theatre on the Avenue of the Arts.