Earlier this afternoon, Lynn Nottage was named the 2017 Pulitzer Prize winner for Drama for her new play Sweat, now running at Studio 54. The show marks her Broadway debut and second Pulitzer win, following her 2009 drama, Ruined, which told the story of women living in the civil war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo. Co-commissioned by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Arena Stage, Sweat made its world premiere in July 2015 at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, following by a run at Arena Stage in early 2016. It then made its New York debut at the Public Theater in November 2016, before transferring to Broadway this past March with its original director Kate Whoriskey.
"I'm tremendously indebted not only to Kate but also to Oregon Shakespeare Festival and to the Public Theater and all the people who had tremendous belief in the play and in the story that I wanted to tell," said Nottage following the announcement. "I don't think that this would be possible without all of those folks pushing the words forward."
Sweat — whose Broadway cast features Michelle Wilson, Johanna Day, Alison Wright, John Earl Jelks, James Colby, Carlo Albán, Khris Davis, Will Pullen, and Lance Coadie Williams — is inspired by interviews with the residents of Reading, Pennsylvania, one of the most impoverished cities in America following the 2008 financial recession. "I feel forever indebted to the beautiful folks of Reading for being so generous and for allowing me to spend time in that town and interview them," Nottage added. "I've come to be very attached to many, many people there and deeply invested in the success of that city. Hopefully this prize will raise awareness about cities like Reading that are struggling with their identity. This is hopefully the beginning of a much larger conversation with Reading, Pennsylvania."
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