Theater: Break Out the Cigars

In the space of months Cuban-American playwright Nilo Cruz has gone from obscure to smokin' hot

A theatergoer in Princeton, N.J., buttonholed an usher during the intermission of the play Anna in the Tropics a few weeks ago. Her complaint: too much cigar smoking onstage. The usher patiently explained that the play is, after all, set in a cigar factory--a family-owned plant in Tampa, Fla., in 1929, where the Cuban-American workers have just hired a new "lector" to read novels to them while they work. Cigar smoke, however, is only one of the sweet and strange aromas that waft from Anna in the Tropics. Written in the lyrical, somewhat formalized language of a folktale, the play is...

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