Anna in the Tropics

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Anna in the Tropics
Written by Nilo Cruz
Characters Santiago
Cheché
Ofelia
Marela
Conchita
Palomo
Juan Julian
Eliades
Date premiered 12 October 2002
Place premiered New Theatre, Coral Gables, Florida
Original language English
Setting 1929, Tampa (Ybor City) Florida
IBDB profile

Anna in the Tropics is a play by Nilo Cruz. It won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

The play is set in Ybor City, a section of Tampa and the center of the cigar industry. When Cuban immigrants brought the cigar-making industry to Florida in the 19th century, they carried with them another tradition. As the workers toiled away in the factory hand rolling each cigar, the lector, (historically well-dressed and well-spoken), would read to them. It was the lector who informed, organized and entertained the workers until the 1930s, when the rollers and the readers were replaced by mechanization.

In the play, the lector reads Anna Karenina, sparking the characters' lives and relationships to spin out of control.

Recognition[edit]

Anna in the Tropics was widely regarded as a "long shot" for the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, mainly because it had not been seen in New York.[citation needed] The play premiered at the New Theatre in Coral Gables, Florida and had to compete with Edward Albee’s The Goat, or, Who is Sylvia? and Richard Greenberg’s Take Me Out for the coveted award.

Cruz, a Cuban-born playwright living in New York, remarked,

“It’s wonderful. I cannot believe it. The other day I went to the bookstore and I saw a book by William Kennedy. He won the Pulitzer for Ironweed, which I adore. I was standing there looking at his books and thinking how amazing it was that this writer won a Pulitzer, and now I’ve been given one, too. I think I’m still in shock. I haven’t completely acknowledged the grandness of the award.”[citation needed]

His past works, such as Two Sisters and a Piano, have earned him a reputation for writing lyrical, atmospheric plays with powerful emotions and language.[citation needed]

Anna in the Tropics was honored with two nominations at the 2004 Tony Awards. The show was nominated in the category of Best Play and Best Featured Actress in a Play (Daphne Rubin-Vega)

Film Adaptation[edit]

The Hollywood Reporter reports that Academy Award nominee, Lee Daniels (Precious) has signed on to develop a film based on the play—which is being produced by Mankind Entertainment.[when?]

External links[edit]