>> Factory job loss, racial tensions and friends blowing off steam over booze. The new Broadway play, Sweat, an eerily accurate reflection of life for many Americans in rust belt states and beyond. Landing on critics' must-see list. I'm Lisa Bernhardt on the set of Sweat, Roundabout Theater, Studio 54 in Manhattan.
This play set in Reading, Pennsylvania, in a bar for many reasons says playwrite Lynn Nottage.>> A bar being where folks discuss things they can't, or don't at work or home. Here it's the closing of a steel tubing factory. Anger at the political system, even NAFTA, a term not easily tossed around in the footlights.
>> I think I was drawn to Reading. One is because, physically, it's a very beautiful city. But underneath a lot of that beauty is a community that's really struggling with economic insecurity. And I was really interested in the way in which
] industrialization, in particular, is reshaping our American heritage.
>> Nottage, a Pulitzer Prize winner, interviewed residents for research, soaking up what local beer they drink. Those are Yuengling and Iron City beer taps, even allowing the actors to carve graffiti in the tables. And while Sweat is set in 2000 and 2008, its themes smack of 2017.>> Probably 50% of the people that we spoke to were Trump supporters.
But I think folks were really divided. Because it's in the pocket of the country where people are feeling somewhat desperate, where unemployment rate is very, very high. And which people feel, by and large, that they're invisible.>> Nottage not only giving them voice on Broadway. But also complementing the show with an art installation at the now-abandoned but refurbished Reading train station.
Famous for its place on the Monopoly board, with real resident stories set to open in July.