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April 20, 2022

Steel River Playhouse to host Pulitzer Prize-winning show about Reading's industrial decline

'Sweat' will open on Friday, April 22 at 8 p.m and will run through May 1

Performances Industry
Sweat Play Pottstown Steel River Playhouse/Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board

"Sweat," a play coming to Pottstown's Steel River Playhouse on Friday night, will explore deindustrialization in Reading on a human level.

A theatrical production that explores the working middle class and deindustrialization in Pennsylvania is coming to Pottstown this weekend.

"Sweat" opens at the Steel River Playhouse on Friday, April 22 at 8 p.m. The Pulitzer Prize-winning script was written by playwright Lynn Nottage in 2015. The play is based on interviews she conducted with residents of Reading and shows how changes made at the city's steel mill in the year 2000 impacted its once strong and sizable working class community.

The narrative follows a group of friends who have worked at the fictional Olstead's steel-tubing factory for over 20 years. When the company considers moving to Mexico, rumors of layoffs start spreading around town, along with flyers recruiting Latino immigrant laborers who will work for lower wages.

Racial tensions in the town increase as the stable jobs that had allowed workers to save money, plan vacations and look forward to retirement for generations disappear.

"The blood, sweat and tears, not to mention the generations of loyalty these workers have shown, don’t matter," a press release about the play says. "The war between community and capitalism begins."

Performances will take place at at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays, from April 22 through May 1.

Tickets are $29 for adults, $24 for seniors and $17 for students. They can be purchased on Steel River's website or by calling (610) 970-1199.

All guests must wear masks in the theater.


April 22 through May 1
8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays | Tickets $29
Steel River Playhouse
245 E. High St., Pottstown, PA 19464