Nilo Cruz's Anna in the Tropics Wins the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Drama

News   Nilo Cruz's Anna in the Tropics Wins the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Drama Anna in the Tropics, an all but unknown play by Nilo Cruz, has won this year's Pulitzer Prize in Drama. The winner was announced at Columbia University's School of Journalism on April 7 at 3 PM.
2003 Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Nilo Cruz
2003 Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Nilo Cruz

The other finalists were Take Me Out by Richard Greenberg and The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? by Edward Albee. Both were heavy favorites for the award.

Anna is the first play since Robert Schenkkan's The Kentucky Cycle to win the Pulitzer without having had a production in New York.

Cruz's other plays include Night Time to Bolina, A Park in Our House, Dancing on Her Knees and Two Sisters and a Piano. The latter two were both presented at the Public Theater, the largest New York productions Cruz has received.

The five member jury included Linda Winer (Newsday), Misha Berson (Seattle Times), Dominic Papatola (St. Paul Pioneer Press), Bruce Weber (New York Times) and Edwin Wilson, a CUNY professor and former Wall Street Journal critic.

Anna in the Tropics was commissioned by the New Theatre in Coral Gables, FL. Cruz was playwright-in-residence there during the 2001-2002 season. Anna premiered at the New Theatre during the 2002-03 season. The drama is set Ybor City (Tampa), Florida, in 1930, and deals with "a family of cigar makers whose loves and lives are played out against the backdrop of America in the midst of the Depression."

Rafael de Acha, the artistic director of the New Theatre, first found out that the Cruz play had won when Playbill On-Line called him at 3:20 PM. After repeating "Oh, my God," several times, he told PBOL that the company would be presenting the world premiere of Cruz' new play, Beauty of the Father, in the 2003-04 season.

The Cuban-born Cruz's work is heavily lyrical and symbolic. Cruz has described his work, in a twist on the literary label Magic Realism, as "realism that is magical." He often draws on his own experiences. His family were Cuban exiles who came penniless to "Little Havana" in Miami with a then 10 year-old Nilo in tow. His father got work in a shoe store and his mother in a purse factory.

Chicago's Victory Gardens, South Coast Rep in California and New Jersey's McCarter Theatre will all produce Anna in the coming season.

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Last year's winner was Topdog/Underdog by Suzan-Lori Parks.

All entries for this year's Pulitzer Prize for Drama were submitted by a March 1, 2003, deadline. Productions that opened between March 2, 2002, and March 1, 2003, were eligible. Entries require a completed entry form, photograph and biography of the playwright, dates and place of production and six copies of the play.

The Pulitzer Prize — named for American journalist and publisher Joseph Pulitzer — was established in 1917, a stipulation of Mr. Pulitzer's will. The first Pulitzer Prize in Drama was awarded in 1918 to Jesse Lynch Williams' Why Marry?. Other recent recipients include Proof, Dinner with Friends, Wit, How I Learned to Drive, Rent, The Young Man From Atlanta, Three Tall Women and Angels in America: Millennium Approaches.

The complete list of Pulitzer Prize in Drama winners is listed below:

2001-02: Topdog/Underdog by Suzan-Lori Parks
2000-01: Proof by David Auburn
1999-00: Dinner with Friends by Donald Margulies
1998-99: Wit by Margaret Edson
1997-98: How I Learned To Drive by Paula Vogel
1996-97: No award
1995-96: Rent by Jonathan Larson
1994-95: The Young Man From Atlanta by Horton Foote
1993 94: Three Tall Women by Edward Albee
1992-93: Angels in America: Millennium Approaches, by Tony Kushner
1991-92: The Kentucky Cycle, by Robert Schenkkan
1990-91: Lost in Yonkers, by Neil Simon
1989-90: The Piano Lesson, by August Wilson
1988-89: The Heidi Chronicles, by Wendy Wasserstein
1987-88: Driving Miss Daisy, by Alfred Uhry
1986-87: Fences, by August Wilson
1985-86: No award
1984-85: Sunday in the Park With George, by James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim
1983-84: Glengarry Glen Ross, by David Mamet
1982-83: 'night, Mother, by Marsha Norman
1981 82: A Soldier's Play, by Charles Fuller
1980-81: Crimes of the Heart, by Beth Henley
1979-80: Talley's Folly, by Lanford Wilson
1978-79: Buried Child, by Sam Shepard
1977-78: The Gin Game, by D.L. Coburn
1976-77: The Shadow Box, by Michael Cristofer
1975-76: A Chorus Line, by Michael Bennett, James Kirkwood, Nicholas Dante, Marvin Hamlisch and Edward Kleban
1974-75: Seascape, by Edward Albee
1973 74: No award
1972-73: That Championship Season, by Jason Miller
1971-72: No award
1970-71: The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, by Paul Zindel
1969-70: No Place To Be Somebody, by Charles Gordone
1968-69: The Great White Hope, by Howard Sackler
1967-68: No award
1966-67: A Delicate Balance, by Edward Albee
1965-66: No award
1964-65: The Subject Was Roses, by Frank D. Gilroy
1963-64: No award
1962-63: No award
1961-62: How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, by Abe Burrows, Willie Gilbert, Jack Weinstock and Frank Loesser
1960-61: All the Way Home, by Tad Mosel
1959-60: Fiorello!, by Jerome Weidman, George Abbott, Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock
1958-59: J.B., by Archibald MacLeish
1957-58: Look Homeward, Angel, by Ketti Frings
1956-57: Long Day's Journey Into Night, by Eugene O'Neill
1955-56: The Diary of Anne Frank, by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett
1954-55: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, by Tennessee Williams
1953-54: The Teahouse of the August Moon, by John Patrick
1952-53: Picnic, by William Inge
1951-52: The Shrike, by Joseph Kramm
1950-51: No award
1949-50: South Pacific, by Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II and Joshua Logan
1948-49: Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller
1947-48: A Streetcar Named Desire, by Tennessee Williams
1946-47: No award
1945-46: State of the Union, by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse
1944-45: Harvey, by Mary Chase
1943-44: No award
1942-43: The Skin of Our Teeth, by Thornton Wilder
1941-42: No award
1940-41: There Shall Be No Night, by Robert E. Sherwood
1939-40: The Time of Your Life, by William Saroyan
1938-39: Abe Lincoln in Illinois, by Robert E. Sherwood
1937-38: Our Town, by Thornton Wilder
1936-37: You Can't Take It With You, by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman
1935-36: Idiot's Delight, by Robert E. Sherwood
1934-35: The Old Maid, by Zoe Akins
1933-34: Men in White, by Sidney Kingsley
1932-33: Both Your Houses, by Maxwell Anderson
1931-32: Of Thee I Sing, by George S. Kaufman, Morrie Ryskind, Ira and George Gershwin
1930-31: Alison's House, by Susan Glaspell
1929-30: The Green Pastures, by Marc Connelly
1928-29: Street Scene, by Elmer Rice
1927-28: Strange Interlude, by Eugene O'Neill
1926-27: In Abraham's Bosom, by Paul Green
1925-26: Craig's Wife, by George Kelly
1924-25: They Knew What They Wanted, by Sidney Howard
1923-24: Hell-Bent fer Heaven, by Hatcher Hughes
1922-23: Icebound, by Owen Davis
1921-22: Anna Christie, by Eugene O'Neill
1920-21: Miss Lulu Bett, by Zona Gale
1919-20: Beyond the Horizon, by Eugene O'Neill
1918-19: No award
1917-18: Why Marry?, by Jesse Lynch Williams
1916-17: No award

A scene from the Public Theater's production of Nilo Cruz's <i>Two Sisters and a Piano</i>.
A scene from the Public Theater's production of Nilo Cruz's Two Sisters and a Piano. (Photo by Michal Daniel)