View all Articles
Commentary By Nicole Gelinas

This Play Can Help New Yorkers Understand Trump Supporters

Cities, Culture New York City, Culture & Society

Nearly two years ago, theatergoers began flocking to Broadway to see “Hamilton,” a transfer from the smaller Public Theater downtown. “Hamilton” is a happy tale: A West Indies immigrant makes good in America, and helps his new country thrive.

This spring, theatergoers can take in another Public transfer on Broadway. This one’s not a happy story.

“Sweat” is about a factory town at the beginning of the 21st century. But it’s far more relevant for New Yorkers than residents here might think. And they should see it so as to have more empathy for people who voted for President Trump.

Playwright Lynn Nottage’s setting may be as far away to many New Yorkers as Hamilton’s 18th century. It’s the year 2000, and factory workers in Reading, Pa., are nursing their millennial New Year’s hangovers. The economy is humming along nicely, and few people are interested in the presidential election.

But there are bad signs: One factory locked out its manufacturing workers 93 weeks ago. Another factory, where the three middle-aged women at the center of the story work, is looking to cut costs.

One worker puzzles over what NAFTA is. A friend tells her that it means that owners can cart their shop floor down to Mexico, piece by piece, where laborers will work for a fraction of the wage.

Another character tells others the ominous rumors....

Read the entire piece here at the New York Post


Nicole Gelinas is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and contributing editor at City Journal. Follow her on Twitter here.

This piece originally appeared in New York Post