Public Invited to Poetry Reading and Lecture with Award-Winning Dramatist Nilo Cruz

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Cuban-American playwright and Pulitzer-Prize winner Nilo Cruz will be returning to Whittier College on Thurs., April 19 to take part in a poetry reading and special lecture, titled "Theatre Accompanied by Light." This free event begins at 7:00 p.m. in Memorial Chapel, at 13406 Philadelphia St., Whittier, CA, Whittier College.

Cruz won the Pulitzer for his play "Anna in the Tropics" in 2003, becoming the first Latino playwright to receive the award. A year later, the play premiered on Broadway with actor Jimmy Smits in the lead role. The play was subsequently nominated for a Tony Award in 2004, and has since been performed in theatres across the country, including The Pasadena Playhouse, South Coast Repertory, The Alliance, and Florida Stage.

Cruz's other plays include "A Park in Our House," "Two Sisters and a Piano," "Night Train to Bolina," and "Dancing on Her Knees." Cruz has won several awards and fellowships, including two NEA/TCG National Theatre Residency grants, a Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays award, and a Rockefeller Foundation grant.

A frequent guest at Whittier College’s Ruth B. Shannon Center for the Performing Arts, Cruz was bestowed with an honorary doctorate of humane letters (L.H.D.) in 2010. Two of Cruz’s plays, "Lorca in a Green Dress" and "Beauty of the Father," have been staged by students from Whittier College’s theatre department. 

This public lecture and poetry reading are in conjunction with an ongoing project with the Center for Collaboration with the Arts and Whittier College theatre professor Jennifer Holmes that will result in a full-stage production of Cruz’s "Lorca in a Green Dress" taking place July 20 through August 26 at CASA 101, a new non-profit theatre company in Boyle Heights, CA, founded by playwright Josefina Lopez ("Real Women Have Curves"). 

The overarching goal of Whittier College’s Center for Collaboration with the Arts is to bring together the vibrant arts scene of the greater Los Angeles area with its disciplinary curriculum to enhance students’ educational experiences.

"Lorca in a Green Dress" is a bilingual drama which takes place in 1936 after the assassination of Federico Garcia Lorca by nationalists at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War.