‘Tropics’ cruises to Pulitzer win

'Middlesex,' 'Army,' 'Master,' 'Moy' also nab prizes

Nilo Cruz took the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for his play “Anna in the Tropics,” while film critic Stephen Hunter of the Washington Post was cited for criticism.

“Anna” has yet to play Broadway or, for that matter, New York City. The play was commissioned by the New Theater in Coral Gables, Fla., where it opened last fall. Three productions of “Anna in the Tropics” are scheduled for fall: South Coast Rep in Costa Mesa, Calif.; the McCarter Theater in Princeton, N.J., and the Victory Theater in Chicago.

In the awards announced Monday, John Adams won in the music category for “On the Transmigration of Souls.”

“Tropics,” a drama about a family of cigar makers in Depression-era Florida, bested Richard Greenberg’s “Take Me Out” and Edward Albee’s “The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?,” both of which were nominated and considered front-runners for the prize. Other high-profile legit works, such as Stephen Adly Guirgis “Our Lady of 121st Street” and the Twyla Tharp/Billy Joel ballet “Movin’ Out,” were submitted but not nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

New York in the picture

A Gotham stint for “Tropics” is probably not too far away. “Now with the Pulitzer, several commercial producers are hovering,” said the scribe’s agent, Peregrine Whittlesey.

Cruz is the first Latino to be either a finalist or recipient of the drama award. The playwright was born in Cuba and came to the United States at age 8. He now lives in Gotham. Cruz was teaching a class at Yale U. on Monday when the Columbia School of Journalism made its Pulitzer announcements.

His next play, “Lorca in a Green Dress,” is scheduled for a production in July at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. His other plays include “Night Train to Bolina,” “A Park in Our House,” “Dancing on Her Knees” and “Two Sisters and a Piano.” He has been produced in New York by New York Theater Workshop and the Public Theater.

The Pulitzer decision is not good news for the producers of “Take Me Out.” The Broadway production has struggled at the box office and needed the prize’s imprimatur to spark sales.

Other winners

Pulitzers were given in a number of categories.

Also saluted: “Middlesex” by Jeffrey Eugenides (fiction); “Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943” by Rick Atkinson (history); “Master of the Senate” by Robert A. Caro (biography); “Moy Sand and Gravel” by Paul Muldoon (poetry); and ” ‘A Problem From Hell’: America and the Age of Genocide” by Samantha Power (general nonfiction).

Among journalism honors were Washington Post columnist Colbert I. King; that paper’s Kevin Sullivan and Mary Jordan for international reporting; the Boston Globe, public service; Sonia Nazario, Los Angeles Times, feature writing; and the L.A. Times’ Alan Miller and Kevin Sack, national reporting.

The Pulitzers are awarded by Columbia U. on recommendations of an 18-member board, which considers nominations from jurors in each category. Each prize is worth $7,500, except for public service, in which a paper receives a gold medal.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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