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  Sweat at Goodman Theatre


Goodman Theatre
170 N. Dearborn Street Chicago

Winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Sweat is the scorching new play from Lynn Nottage (Ruined) that The New York Times called "keenly observed and surprisingly funny ... (it) throbs with heartfelt life." In the industrial town of Reading, Pennsylvania, a group of friends spend their days on the factory floor and their nights sharing drinks, secrets and laughs. But then layoffs and picket lines begin to erode their trust, and they find themselves pitted against each other in a heart-wrenching fight for self-preservation. Based on Nottage's extensive research and interviews with residents of Reading and now arriving at Chicago's Goodman Theatre after a heralded Broadway run, Sweat is a searing reflection of America's economic decline.

Thru - Apr 21, 2019

Stage: The Albert

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 312-443-3800

Goodman Theatre Seating Charts

Suggested Nearby Restaurant

  Sweat Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Highly Recommended

"...I'd also say that Parson's production is the superior piece of work. He finds more humor in this piece (which might sound strange, I know) and raises the stakes far higher. He could do none of this without a cast willing to go there with him."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Highly Recommended

"...Set in Reading, Pennsylvania, and alternating between 2000 and 2008, director Ron OJ Parson's staging of "Sweat" is as familiar as a decade's worth of headlines. We've all heard this all before: Once, you could raise a family on a factory worker's wage. You could retire with a pension that allowed for a degree of ease. Now, you can't. It's hard-knock life story, woven through pop culture by everyone from Jay-Z to Springsteen to "The Big Short" to "The Grapes of Wrath.""
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Catey Sullivan

Daily Herald - Recommended

"...Nottage treats her characters with empathy and compassion but casts a critical eye on their arrogance, intransigence and not-so-subtle racism. They are familiar and authentically ambivalent. And she generously provides each with a soliloquy. The pained musings of Abercrumbie's well-intentioned Cynthia on her promotion and the possible motive behind it and Fitzgerald's Tracey reflecting on the now disregarded contributions of her craftsman grandfather are among the play's most moving moments. But these mostly expositional monologues sometimes feel like talking points in this socially conscious critique of vulture capitalism that often feels overstuffed."
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Barbara Vitello

Chicago Reader - Highly Recommended

"...Stan (Keith Kupferer, in a powerful performance), has gone from advising the women's kids not to leave the assembly line-"You leave, it'll be impossible to get back in"-to wishing out loud that he'd skipped town himself 30 years earlier, when the getting was good. Amid that rubble, we are left with a lacerating portrayal of one town's ruin. Sweat is required viewing for anybody in search of answers to our fractured reality."
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Max Maller

Windy City Times - Highly Recommended

"...Sometimes theater grabs you by the guts, sometimes it sucker-punches you. Sweat does both. The Chicago premiere of this 2017 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama is among the very best productions of the 2018-2019 season. It's enthusiastically and convincingly acted by a superb all-Chicago cast, who've honed their rich ensemble skills among Chicago's off-Loop theateres—but it's far more than that."
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Jonathan Abarbanel

Time Out Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...Nottage’s script, which won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, has empathy on tap but doesn’t water it down with cheap sympathy. Nottage has done her research and it shows—sometimes a little too well, as when details of union-busting tactics threaten to drag down the storytelling. But when the play is at its best, which is most of the time, it’s like a Greek tragedy whose gods have been replaced by unseen corporate moguls. This may not be how things oughta be, but it’s a bracing study of how things are."
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Alex Huntsberger

Chicago On the Aisle - Highly Recommended

"...The tragic grandeur of Lynn Nottage’s play “Sweat,” now indispensably on display at Goodman Theatre, resides in its complex truths. All in one remarkable tumble, it is a play about the vulnerability of the labor class, the crassness of their overlords, the fragility of friendships, the partitions of tribalism and the volatile bond between mothers and sons."
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Lawrence B. Johnson

Stage and Cinema - Highly Recommended

"...Emotionally convincing as is every minute on this Goodman stage, Sweat (a title that connects all their agonies) carries political overtones. Its world is where we are right now - and its depiction of racism as economic-based rather than visceral hatred seems very persuasive. That suggests common ground for a possible cure of red state/blue state animosities."
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Lawrence Bommer

Let's Play at ChicagoNow - Highly Recommended

"...Director Ron OJ Parson's production continues to show why he is at the top of his game as a director. ‘SWEAT' is a top notched play and sure to be one of Lynn Nottage catalog pieces for many decades. Sweat makes you feel every aspect (with some humor) of each characters fate and fears regarding their future. This play shines a light on how we look at each other and how quickly we can turn against one another when life makes us Sweat! Kudos to Goodman for bringing this exceptional play to the Albert Theatre."
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Rick and Brenda McCain

NewCity Chicago - Highly Recommended

"..."Sweat" contrasts American ideals of opportunity and equality with American vices: racism, addiction, materialism and exploitation. Yet Nottage has a way of focusing on our culture with empathy for human weakness rather than condemnation for human failure. The Goodman's production, directed by Ron OJ Parson, unfolds with thrilling clarity to each word, allowing every member of the all-star cast to come alive. The heartbeat and the heartbreak of this play belong to us. It is impossible to look away."
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Irene Hsiao

Chicago Theatre Review - Highly Recommended

"...In this exciting, Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Lynn Nottage shows why she's earned the title of one of the finest living contemporary playwrights in America. Staged with empathy and energy by master director, Ron OJ Parsons, this talented cast reminds audiences of how the 2016 election duped a great segment of our blue collar population and the continued disastrous effects of this administration's careless blundering. We have names and faces to go with the statistics that inform us that this country's economics have changed...but for the worse."
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Colin Douglas

Chicagoland Theater Reviews - Highly Recommended

"...To my ear and eye, "Sweat" is telling it like it was for beleaguered American workers during the end of the last century. Nottage has written a major American play and is also a major document on 20th century American social history. And she has created a collection of vibrant dramatic characters actors would kill for."
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Dan Zeff

Third Coast Review - Highly Recommended

"...Casillas' role is pivotal and powerful; both Sanchez and Cherry carry their essentially dual roles (then and now) with impressive adaptability. But it's Kupferer who's the true star of the show, embodying Stan as a straight-talking realist who's playing the cards he's been dealt as best he can, after an accident at the factory forced him out. On stage nearly the entire show as his patrons come and go, he's quietly confident and consistent in his presence in any scene."
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Lisa Trifone

Chicago On Stage - Highly Recommended

"...I’m just going to come right out and say it: The Goodman Theatre’s production of Lynn Nottage’s Pulitzer-Prize winning Sweat is just about as good as theatre can get. Director Ron OJ Parson has taken Nottage’s play and found in it even more power and nuance than the already-brilliant script has in it, if that is even possible."
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Karen Topham

PicksInSix - Highly Recommended

"...The sizzling emotional interaction of Abercrumbie and Fitzgerald–alternating between sisterhood and disdain for one another–provide the show’s powerful core performances. Kupferer is terrific in the role of the former mill worker whose career was cut short due to injury. The entertaining Cross spends most of the evening delightfully inebriated, while the friendships between the women is mirrored in the fine portrayals of the sons by Cherry and Sanchez, who, with Casillas, raise the dramatic tension of the piece to a fever pitch."
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Ed Tracy

Picture This Post - Highly Recommended

"...Gut-wrenching writing and a power-house ensemble make Sweat a production that should not be missed. Nottage’s piece may take place over a decade ago, but the story is every bit as relevant today."
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Lauren Katz

Rescripted - Highly Recommended

"...This story is about the crimes we all witness. It's about working in America when nothing is being made in America. It's about the unattainable "American dream" we try to possess. While I don't think everyone will agree with some statements this play makes, as nothing Nottage writes is an easy conversation about race and politics in America, its setup and payoff is absolutely striking. If there's any show you need to rush and see at The Goodman, it's Sweat."
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Lonnae Hickman

  Sweat Photo Gallery

   This show has been Jeff Recommended*

*The designation of "Jeff Recommended" is given to a production when at least ONE ELEMENT of the show was deemed outstanding by the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee.

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