Sweat: Our 1st Theater Review

My blog is not well known for its theater reviews, but I’m taking a shot today.  Last night, we saw Sweat at Washington’s Arena Stage, and I can highly recommend it.  It’s a searing look at what happens to a community when plants close and jobs vanish.   The play is set in Reading, PA (my hometown), and it’s not a very flattering portrait.   But, it is realistic and shows the many disasters that can befall good people when good jobs disappear.   Most of the play is set in a local bar, jumping between 2000 (when the local plant first downsized) and 2008, when nearly all of the main characters are unemployed and untethered.   Over the course of the play, the tight-knit community breaks down—triggering racial tension, substance abuse, and a heinous crime as well.   At this time of raging anger on the campaign trail, the stories in Sweat will resonate.  They should also remind us why the work of community economic development remains so important and vital.

Here are links to reviews and critiques from my qualified sources in the NY Times, the Washington Post, and NPR.   If Sweat comes to your town, go see it!

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