Sweat Described as “the first theatrical landmark of the Trump era” by Michael Schulman of The New Yorker, Sweat takes us to the broken heart of America in Reading, PA. Audiences have a window into the pain of post-industrial factory workers thanks to playwright Lynn Nottage’s deep commitment to understanding her subject. She spent more than two years doing extensive research and interviews there, which is reflected in the complexity of her characters, for whom she clearly has empathy.
The play is set in a bar inhabited by steelworkers who see their jobs in peril and their community unraveling, beginning with Cynthia (Tracy Brown) and Tracey (Mir Kamin), who are both angling for a promotion to management. Racial tension arises between them and the other workers and friends in the bar, with anxiety and resentment boiling over once the layoffs start. Directed by Beth Kosinsky, it features Town & Gown favorites and newcomers, including Sean Polite, Skip Hulett, Divine Ogbuefi, Megan Powell, Joan Daniel Cordova, Travis Williams and Michael Tolbert.
Sweat, by Lynn Nottage, is presented by Town & Gown Players at the Athens Community Theatre Friday, Dec. 7, Saturday, Dec. 8 and Dec. 13–15 at 8 p.m., with 2 p.m. matinees on Dec. 9 and 16. Tickets are $20, $15 for members, seniors and students ($12 for members, seniors and students on Thursday) and available at townandgownplayers.org or 706-208-8696.
Annie Oconee Youth Playhouse’s production of this cheerful musical classic features Little Orphan Annie (Taylor Dillard and Andrea Nau) from the comic strip by Harold Gray. Not even her hard-knock life or mean Miss Hannigan (Ellen Corry and Lexi Sennowitz) can bring her down for long, and her optimistic outlook is infectious. Will her dream of a better tomorrow come true when she meets the millionaire Mr. Warbucks (Dick Hoard), or will troublemakers ruin the best Christmas ever?
Annie, by Charles Strouse, Martin Charnin and Thomas Meehan, is presented by OYP in its new, 250-seat performance space at 1050 Jamestown Blvd. in Watkinsville Dec. 7–8 and Dec. 14–15 at 7 p.m., with 2 p.m. matinees Dec. 8–9 and Dec. 15–16. Don’t count on getting tickets at the door, since they’re already selling fast. They are $20, $15 for seniors and students (no children under 3, please), and available at oconeeyouthplayhouse.com or 706-769-2677.
Truly Christmas Brightstone Athens presents a “faith-based musical that has a blend of fun ’50s-style songs and beautiful Broadway-style ballads,” featuring an overwhelmed schoolteacher, a new principal, her sick father and a classroom full of teenagers with their own stresses. It’s written by local theater buff Leia Berry, who has directed numerous shows for Brightstone. Presented at the Oconee Civic Center on Dec. 13–16, tickets start at $15 in advance and are available at brightstoneathens.com
A Christmas Carol This classic, adapted from the story by Charles Dickens, gives hope that even the coldest, most greedy person can change—with help from the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future. Rose of Athens is presenting it as a live radio play, complete with sound effects and vintage-style radio ads, for its annual fundraiser. It’s in the intimate Rose of Athens Theatre Dec. 5–9 at 8 p.m., with 3 p.m. matinees Dec. 8–9. Tickets are $15 and available at roseofathens.org.
Additionally, Circle Ensemble Theatre is presenting an adaptation by Joelle Ré Arp-Dunham, directed by Lorraine Thompson, with John Olive as Scrooge at the Winterville Auditorium on Dec. 8 and Dec. 14–15 at 7:30 p.m., with 2 p.m. matinees Dec. 9 and 16. Tickets are $20, $15 for students, $10 for younger children and available at circleensembletheatre.com or 706-613-3771.
For even more seasonal cheer, Athens Little Playhouse presents its first ever holiday variety show, “A Holly Jolly Holiday Spectacular,” Dec. 14–15 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 16 at 3 p.m. The interactive performance includes “singing, dancing, games, letters to Santa and more,” according to ALP. For info, visit athenslittleplayhouse.net.
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