Nilo Cruz

Nilo Cruz was born in Cuba in 1960. During his early childhood, his father, who was a staunch opponent of the communist government, was imprisoned for trying to flee the country. After his father completed his sentence, when Nilo was nine years old, the family immigrated to the United States and took up residency in the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami. He began exploring his interest in theater by acting and directing in the early 1980’s. Before moving to New York City, he studied theater at Miami Dade Community College. In New York, he met fellow Cuban Marìa Irene Fornès, who recommended him to an instructor at Brown University. Eventually he attended Brown and earned his MFA in 1994. He returned to Florida in 2001 and was appointed as the playwright-in-residence for the New Theatre in Coral Gables. In 2002, he wrote his most famous work, Anna in the Tropics. This work was a great success and performed in theaters across the country. After learning that he had won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Cruz said, “By honoring my play Anna in the Tropics, the first Latino play to earn the Pulitzer Prize in Drama, the Pulitzer Prize Board is not only embracing my work as an artist, but is actually acknowledging and securing a place for Latino plays in the North American theater.” After winning this award, Anna  in the Tropics opened on Broadway with continuing success and was even nominated for a Tony Award in 2004. In addition to writing  plays, Cruz has taught drama at many universities, including Brown, Yale, and the University of Iowa. Through his work, Cruz has become one of the most revered  playwrights of our time. His introduction of Latino themed plays into mainstream American theater has set the stage for playwrights and authors to come.