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Lynn Nottage's Sweat Announces Casting

The co-commission with Oregon Shakespeare Festival is set to open at Washington, D.C.'s Arena Stage.

Lynn Nottage's new play Sweat will have its East Coast premiere at Arena Stage.

The new drama Sweat by Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage has announced additional casting for its East Coast debut at Washington, D.C.'s Arena Stage, a co-commission with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. The production is directed by Nottage's longtime collaborator Kate Whoriskey and runs from January 15-February 21, 2016, in the Kreeger Theater.

Sweat is the result of extensive interviews conducted by Nottage and Whoriskey, who spent two years visiting and interviewing residents of Reading, Pennsylvania, which was named the nation's poorest city in 2011. Set in 2000 and 2008, the play explores America's industrial decline at the turn of the millennium with a look inside Reading, where a group of close friends shares everything: drinks, secrets, and laughs. But when rumors of layoffs shake up the local steel mill, the fragile bonds of their community begin to fray and a horrific crime sends shock waves across two generations.

As previously announced, Jack Willis (President Lyndon Baines Johnson in Arena's upcoming All the Way) and Tony Award nominee Kimberly Scott (Joe Turner's Come and Gone) reprise the roles of Stan and Cynthia, which they originated at OSF. Also reprising roles they originated for the Oregon world premiere are Kevin Kenerly as Brucie, Stephen Michael Spencer as Jason, Tramell Tillman as Chris, and Tyrone Wilson as Evan.

Joining the company for the D.C. production are Tony Award nominee Johanna Day (You Can't Take It With You) as Tracey and Reza Salazar as Oscar. Casting for the role of Jessie will be announced at a later date.

"The genius in Lynn's writing is that the style defines the subject," says Whoriskey. "The how defines the what. In writing a play, it is customary to ask whose story it is. Usually, a single protagonist is identified, but in Sweat, Lynn decided that the community is the protagonist. In an age where unions are collapsing in favor of unbridled capitalism and self-marketing, Lynn changes the way we perceive character. She asks us not to choose a lead to empathize with but to watch individuals as a group going through crisis together."

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