Project Description

Anna in the Tropics

By NILO CRUZ

St. Germain Stage

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Drama, Anna in the Tropics is set in Ybor City (Tampa) in 1929 in a Cuban-American cigar factory where cigars are still rolled by hand. The factory owner’s family awaits the arrival of a new “lector,” who is hired to read to the workers for their education and entertainment. His arrival is cause for celebration, but when the lector begins reading Anna Karenina, the passionate, frustrated lives of the characters in the book begin to parallel those of the listeners, leading to jealousy, betrayal and sexual awakening. “…enticing and exotic…entrancingly lovely…” says Variety and Theatermania raves it’s “shimmeringly beautiful.”

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Anna in the Tropics portrays the lives of cigar factory workers in Ybor City, Tampa, Florida, when a new lector, perhaps the last to ply his trade, is hired. The men and women remain divided in their loyalties as economic hardship and the pressure to abandon old traditions force the owners of the cigar factory to adopt new, progressive manufacturing methods if they wish to stay in business. As the lector reads from Anna Karenina, a novel of adultery set in nineteenth-century Russia, he casts a spell over the workers, transforming their passions and desires through the affirming power of art. That the love they seek may result in a tragic end is ordained as much by the story of the Russian noblewoman as it is by the actions of the workers themselves.