Smits, Lopez Star in Reading of Pulitzer Winner, Anna in the Tropics, April 26 | Playbill

News Smits, Lopez Star in Reading of Pulitzer Winner, Anna in the Tropics, April 26
Winning a Pulitzer Prize for Drama certainly does wonders when casting time comes around. The ensemble for the April 26 reading of Nilo Cruz's Anna in the Tropics—which a few weeks ago surprised everyone by nabbing the coveted award—will feature a couple boldface names: Jimmy Smits and Priscilla Lopez.

Jimmy Smits
Jimmy Smits Photo by Aubrey Reuben

Also in the cast are Bobby Cannavale (as Palomo), a Public Theater regular most recently seen in Suzan-Lori Parks' Fucking A; David Zayas (Chester), now playing in Our Lady of 121st Street Off-Broadway; Victor Argo (Santiago); Florencia Lozano (Conchita); and Vanessa Aspillaga (Marela).

Smits, who plays Lector, was the star of television's "L.A. Law" and "NYPD Blue," and recently returned to the stage in last summer's Central Park production of Twelfth Night. Lopez, who is Ofelia in the play, is an original star of A Chorus Line, and won a Tony Award for A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine. More recently, she's been in newyorkers and Class Mothers '68 Off-Broadway.

The reading is part of the annual "New Works Now!" series. Cruz himself will direct.

The Public Theater is the New York City company with the closest relationship to Cruz. The nonprofit has produced Cruz's Dancing on Her Knees and Two Sisters and a Piano.

Anna in the Tropics was an extremely dark horse in the Pulitzer contest. 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 also the first play since Robert Schenkkan's The Kentucky Cycle to win the Pulitzer without having had a production in New York.

The play 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 story 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."

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