Cuban-American playwright Nilo Cruz gained national prominence in 2003 when he won the Pulitzer Prize for drama for his play Anna in the Tropics, for which he also received a Tony Award nomination. The immigrant experience is a common theme in many of Cruz’s plays and he has become known for his ability to successfully weave strains of magic realism and other literary traditions into his works.
In addition to the Pulitzer, he has received numerous awards, including those from the Kennedy Center Fund, American Theatre Critics and the Humana Festival for New American Plays, as well as grants from the National Endowment of the Arts and the Rockefeller Foundation, among others.
His plays include Dancing on Her Knees; A Park in Our House; Two Sisters and a Piano; A Bicycle Country; Hortensia and the Museum of Dreams; Lorca in a Green Dress; Beauty of the Father; Hurricane and A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings, as well as translations of Doña Rosita the Spinster; The House of Bernarda Alba; Life Is a Dream and ¡Ay, Carmela! His work has been seen at numerous theaters around the country, including, among others, South Coast Rep, the Mark Taper Forum, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Washington D.C.’s Studio Theatre and New York’s Public Theater; and around the world in Canada, England, France, Australia, Germany, Belarus, Costa Rica, Colombia, Japan and Spain.
Cruz, who received an M.F.A. from Brown University and an honorary doctorate degree from Whittier College, has twice previously served as a playwright-in-residence: in 2000 for the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, N.J., and in 2001 for the New Theatre in Coral Gables, Florida, which commissioned Anna in the Tropics. Cruz has also taught drama at Yale, Brown and the University of Iowa. During the 2019/20 academic year, he was the Hearst Theater Lab Initiative Distinguished Visiting Playwright-in-Residence at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. He is a member of the New Dramatists.