Sweat, the acclaimed drama by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage, will transfer in March to Studio 54, the Broadway house owned by the non-profit Roundabout Theatre Company. The move, by veteran producers Stuart Thompson and Louise Gund, follows a critically acclaimed engagement at another non-profit, the Public Theater. The timely play was commissioned by and previously ran at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Washington’s Arena Stage.

The cast of 'Sweat' at the Public Theater.
The cast of ‘Sweat’ at the Public Theater.
Joan Marcus

“[N]o play in recent memory has shed more light on the crises and tribulations of America’s great retrenched working middle class than Lynn Nottage’s new play, Sweat,” Deadline’s November 4 review reported, calling it a “brilliant play from the author and director of the Pulitzer prize-winning Ruined, spectacularly staged by Kate Whoriskey with a smashing ensemble and design.” The play is set mostly in a bar in a Pennsylvania factory town where jobs, livelihoods and friendships have inexorably disappeared in a faltering economy where manufacturing is shifting from the U.S. to countries providing cheaper labor, especially in the wake of North American Free Trade Agreement. Nottage and her frequent collaborator Whoriskey put human faces on people who “have seen their retirement funds decimated, their wages decreased while their hours are increased and conditions grow from tolerable to squalid,” Deadline commented in the pre-election review.

The show’s sold-out run at the Public will end December 18. Broadway performances are set to begin March 4, with a March 26 opening. Tickets will go on sale Friday through Telecharge.

“We have been so proud and fortunate to follow Lynn Nottage’s groundbreaking play Sweat before it opened at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival,” Thompson and Gund said in a joint announcement. “We have been in the front seat along the journey and are beyond delighted to allow New York audiences to see Lynn Nottage, one of our country’s greatest playwrights, make her Broadway debut with this magnificent and pulse-inducing work.”

The creative team for Sweat includes John Lee Beatty (sets), Jennifer Moeller (costumes), Peter Kaczorowski (lighting), Rob Milburn and Michael Bodeen (original music and sound), and Jeff Sugg (projections). The acclaimed ensemble from the Public Theater is expected to reprise their performances on Broadway.