Cal State Fullerton’s 2016-2017 season opens with the 2003 Pulitzer Prize winner Anna in the Tropics, written by Nilo Cruz and directed by Fidel Gomez. Anna in the Tropics runs September 23-October 9 in the Young Theatre on campus. This poetic play is set in a Cuban-American cigar factory in Florida in 1929 where cigars are rolled by hand while lectors entertain the workers and divert them from their monotonous jobs. The arrival of a new lector is a cause for celebration, but when he begins to read aloud from Anna Karenina, he unwittingly becomes a catalyst in the lives of his avid listeners, for whom Tolstoy, the tropics, and the American dream prove a volatile combination.
Award-winning Cuban-born playwright Nilo Cruz moved to the United States in 1970. A decade later, Mr. Cruz gained an interest in the theatre as an actor and director. After being invited to join Intar Hispanic Playwrights Laboratory, he began his playwriting journey. He is best known for Anna in the Tropics which was selected by a panel of judges who had never seen a production and awarded it solely based on the strong script. Mr. Cruz became the first Latino to win the Pulitzer Prize for playwriting. Some of his other plays include Night Train to Bolina, Two Sisters and a Piano, Lorca in a Green Dress and The Beauty of the Father.
Director Fidel Gomez, an East Los Angeles native, attended Los Angeles High School for the Arts before making his way to the East Coast to attend New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. He also trained with the American Academy of Dramatic Art, Stella Adler Conservatory (NY), Stonestreet Studios and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. He is a co-creator and founding member of The Vault Ensemble based at the Los Angeles Theatre Center. Mr. Gomez is an actor and playwright as well. He wrote and directed The Vault: Bankrupt and The Vault: Unlocked and co-wrote and acted in Melancholia, which toured internationally to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Television credits include NCIS, Walkout, Grey’s Anatomy, Undercovers, and 7th Heaven.
The cast of Anna in The Tropics includes Miguel Torres as Santiago, Joseph Daniel Zavala as Cheche, Tina A. Burkhalter as Ofelia, Lauren Villalobos as Marela, Shellie Sterling as Conchita, Eric Flores as Palomo and Wyn Moreno as Juan Julian.
Scenic Design is by Kristin Campbell, Lighting Design is by John Favreau, Costume Design is by Kaylynn Sutton, Sound Design is by Devon Swiger and Hair/Makeup Design is by Vanessa Cortez.
Anna in the Tropics plays at 8pm on September 23, 24, 29, 30, October 1, 6, 7, 8 and at 2pm on September 25, October 1, 6, 7, 8, 9. General admission tickets are $14 ($12 with advance Titan Discount purchase for students, seniors or with a CSUF ID). All tickets are $14 at the door. Tickets are available by calling (657) 278-3371, 11am-5pm, Monday through Friday and online at this link here!