John Earl Jelks and Lynn Nottage. Photo by LIa Chang

Tony Nominee John Earl Jelks Returns to Role of Brucie in Center Theatre Group’s Production of Lynn Nottage’s Pulitzer Prize Winning SWEAT at Mark Taper, August 29 – October 7

Center Theatre Group is presenting Sweat, Lynn Nottage’s 2017 Pulitzer Prize-winning play at the Mark Taper Forum August 29 through October 7, 2018. Helmed by Lisa Peterson, opening night is set for September 5.

John Earl Jelks. Photo by Lia Chang
John Earl Jelks. Photo by Lia Chang

The cast features Kevin T. Carroll, Grantham Coleman, Will Hochman, John Earl Jelks, Mary Mara, Peter Mendoza, Michael O’Keefe, Amy Pietz and Portia. Jelks played Brucie in both the Off-Broadway and Broadway productions.

The creative team includes set design by Christopher Barreca, costume design by Emilio Sosa, lighting design by Anne Militello, sound design by Paul James Prendergast and projection design by Yee Eun Nam. The production stage manager is David S. Franklin.

John Earl Jelks and Lynn Nottage. Photo by LIa Chang
John Earl Jelks and Lynn Nottage. Photo by LIa Chang

Filled with warm humor and tremendous heart, Sweat tells the story of a group of friends who have spent their lives sharing drinks, secrets and laughs while working together on the factory floor. But when layoffs, promotions and picket lines begin to chip away at their trust, the friends find themselves pitted against each other in a heart-wrenching fight to stay afloat.

In his review of the Off-Broadway production for The New York Times, Charles Isherwood called Sweat, “Keenly observed and often surprisingly funny,” adding that “Ms. Nottage, a Pulitzer Prize winner for Ruined, is writing at the peak of her powers.” Deadline’s Jeremy Girard called the play “ferociously engrossing” stating, “no play in recent memory has shed more light on the crises and tribulations of America’s great retrenched working middle class.”

Lynn Nottage. Photo by Lia Chang

In addition to the Pulitzer Prize, Nottage’s play Ruined, received an Obie, the Lucille Lortel Award, New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award, Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Play. Her other plays include Intimate Apparel (New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play), Fabulation or, The Re-Education Of Undine (Obie Award), Crumbs from the Table of Joy, Las Meninas, Mud, River, Stone, Por’knockers and Poof! Nottage’s numerous awards include the 2007 MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grant,” the National Black Theatre Festival’s August Wilson Playwriting Award, the 2004 PEN/Laura Pels Award for Drama and the 2005 Guggenheim Grant for Playwriting, as well as fellowships from the Lucille Lortel Foundation, Manhattan Theatre Club, New Dramatists and New York Foundation for the Arts. She is a member of The Dramatists Guild, an alumna of New Dramatists and a graduate of Brown University and the Yale School of Drama, where she is a visiting lecturer.

Center Theatre Group, one of the nation’s preeminent arts and cultural organizations, is Los Angeles’ leading nonprofit theatre company, which, under Artistic Director Michael Ritchie, programs seasons at the 736-seat Mark Taper Forum and 1600 to 2000-seat Ahmanson Theatre at The Music Center in Downtown Los Angeles, and the 317-seat Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City. In addition to presenting and producing the broadest range of theatrical entertainment in the country, Center Theatre Group is one of the nation’s leading producers of ambitious new works through commissions and world premiere productions and a leader in interactive community engagement and education programs that reach across generations, demographics and circumstance to serve Los Angeles. Tickets are available online at, by calling Audience Services at (213) 628-2772 or in person at the Center Theatre Group Box Office (at the Ahmanson Theatre at The Music Center in Downtown Los Angeles). Tickets range from $30 – $99 (ticket prices are subject to change). The Mark Taper Forum is located at The Music Center, 135 N. Grand Avenue in Downtown L.A. 90012.

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