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Nilo Cruz

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    Cuba 1960's

    In 1960, Castro angered the American and Cuban elite by nationalizing scores of private companies without compensation. The U.S. reacted by breaking off diplomatic ties with Cuba and imposing a trade embargo. Castro and Guevara quickly consolidated power and stamped out their opposition, imprisoning and executing rivals. The whole issue was a factor to Nilo's migration to the United states.
  • Birth date

    Birth date
    Nilo Cruz was born in a island in cuba called Matanzas in 1960. When he was just a baby his father was sent to jail for trying to leave the island. Given this circumstance Nilo was raised by his mother, aunt, and his two older sisters.
  • Migrated to the United States

    Migrated to the United States
    At the age of 10, Cruz and his parents migrated to Little Havana in Miami, Florida, and left his two older sisters behind. He was able to migrate on a Freedom flight. Freedom Flights (known in Spanish as Los vuelos de la libertad) transported Cubans to Miami twice daily, five times per week from 1965 to 1973. Once he arrived to the United States, he quickly learned english and began to write poetry. He has a total of 13 plays.
  • Visiting Cuba

    Visiting Cuba
    Since his sister were left behind in Cuba, he returned once in his life span to visit them. Cuba is a huge part of Nilo Cruz's life as most of his plays are set in cuba and about an immigrant experience. Nilo's plays were written in a sensual and dreamlike style.
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    College Background

    Cruz's education began at Miami Dade College where he discovered his interest in directing, actress and educator and was mentored by Teresa Maria Rojas who believed he was a writer not a director. Nilo then directed a scene From Mud, which Maria Irene Fornes loved and became his mentor offering him new opportunities and moved to NYC. Later Paul Vogel offered him a scholarship to study playwriting with her at Brown. He graduated with an MFA in Playwriting from Brown
  • Two Sisters and a Piano

    Two Sisters and a Piano
    Two Sisters and a Piano was inspired, in part, by a true story Cruz heard, about a group of dissident artists who sent a letter to Castro in 1991. One group member, a female writer named María Elena Cruz Varela, was subsequently forced to eat her words--literally, in the street--as punishment for her outspokenness. She was later jailed as well. The play tells the story of two sisters--María Celia, a writer, and Sofía, a pianist--living in Cuba under house arrest in the early 1990s.
  • First Play

    First Play
    Nilo Cruz's first play "Night Train to Boliña" was premiered in 1994 at the age of 34. The play is set in Latin America in the mid-eighties, in an unidentified country, during the guerilla warfare. Threatened by starvation and abuse, two children flee their rural village for “the city.” Dancing on a fine line between innocent fantasy and harsh reality, Mateo and Clara explore their imaginations in a world of dark mysticism and denied love.
  • Dancing on Her Knees

    Dancing on Her Knees
    The play follows the travails of a lonely transgender woman, who tries to summon the spirit of her dead lover, but instead she is confronted with two restless ballroom dancers who had been her idols, a German umbrella mender, and two “body guardian” angels.
  • A Park in Our House

    A Park in Our House
    In this poetic portrait of the passionate heart of a family caught in Castro's Cuba in 1970, hope becomes visceral and dreams only more vivid. Cruz tells a lovely, bittersweet story of a family, a microcosm of a society warped by Stalinism, which rises above the merely political and unfolds as gently as a memory.
  • A Bicycle Country

    A Bicycle Country
    The play is about three cubans making their way through the Caribbean Sea. The three characters whose lives seem to be moving nowhere set out to build a dream, even if that dream seems perilous.
  • Began writing Anna in the Tropics

    Began writing Anna in the Tropics
    In 2001, Cruz wrote Anna in the Tropics at the New Theatre in Coral Gables, Florida. At the new theatre he served as the playwright in residence .
  • A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings by Gabriel García Márquez

    A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings by Gabriel García Márquez
    The story was adapted for the stage by Nilo Cruz in 2002, which he published in the journal Theater. Theatre Formation Paribartak of India made the story into a play and has been staging it since 2005. The play shows the human response to those who are weak, dependent, and different.
  • Anna in the Tropics

    Anna in the Tropics
    The play highlights the lives of cigar factory workers in a city Tampa Florida called Ybor when a new lector, perhaps the last to pay his trade, is hired. The men and women remain divided in their loyalties as economic hardship and the pressure to abandon old traditions force the owners of the cigar factory to adopt new, progressive manufacturing methods if they wish to stay in business.
  • Pulitzer Prize winner

    Pulitzer Prize winner
    Just a year after the premiere of Anna in the Tropics, Nilo Cruz finally received acknowledgement when he won the Pulitzer Prize. He was the first Latino playwright to ever be awarded the prize.
  • Lorca in a Green Dress

    Lorca in a Green Dress
    Lorca in a Green Dress is a bilingual drama set in 1936 after the assassination of Lorca and at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War. Cruz imagines the circumstances of Lorca's transition into the afterlife to be similarly mysterious. The play opens when a recently murdered Lorca finds himself in the Lorca Room , a personalized room of something like purgatory.
  • Hortensia and the Museum of Dreams

    Hortensia and the Museum of Dreams
    Nilo was the playwright of this play. The play was about A brother and a sister, whose lives were forever altered when their mother put them on a flight from Havana to the United States in 1961, return to their native land during the Pope's visit to Cuba. The brother and sister take their own path, as they search for recollection and healing.
  • Beauty of the Father

    Beauty of the Father
    The play sets on a summer in 1998 where a daughter of a painter attempts to rekindle their relationship after 10 years of not seeing each other. In the process of building their relationship they both fall in love with the same person. The father must come to terms with his homosexuality and being a parent.
  • Life is a dream by Pedro Calderon de la Barca

    Life is a dream by Pedro Calderon de la Barca
    Life is a dream was tranaslated by Nilo Cruz which was a spanish-language play that was about "the supreme example of Spanish Golden Age drama". It is about a prince being imprisoned in tower by his father Basilo. "I've always adored the poetic language of Life Is a Dream and its mythical landscape," said Cruz. "The play is full of questions, and I think Calderón's greatness as a playwright lies in the rich humanity of his characters, and the questions they pose."-Nilo Cruz
  • PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation

    PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation
    In 2009, Cruz received the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award for a distinguished American playwright in mid-career.
  • Doña Rosita the Spinster

    Doña Rosita the Spinster
    Doña Rosita the Spinster is about a young woman who is full of life waiting for her fiance to return from abroad and get married, eventually she begins to lose hope. Set in Granada, Spain, the play draws symbolic parallels between Doña Rosita and the magically transformative nature of a rose called rosa mutable. Acting Edition by Federico García Lorca, translated and adapted by Nilo Cruz (2009)
  • Doctor of Humane Letters

    Doctor of Humane Letters
    In 2010, Cruz was awarded the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D) at Whittier College which is an honorary degree awarded to those who have distinguished themselves through humanitarian and philanthropic contributions to society.
  • Musical

    Cruz wrote a book of the Frank Wildhorn-Jack Murphy musical Havana. It was supposed to be premiered worldwide in 2010 but was delayed due to bankruptcy at the Pasadena Playhouse
  • The Color of Desire/Hurricane

    The Color of Desire/Hurricane
    The Color of Desire is mostly about a romance between a businessman and an out of work cuban actress. As the romance becomes a symbolic for their countries ruptured love affair. The play was set in 1960 Havana.
  • Tony Award

    Tony Award
    The show nominated Nilo Cruz for the best play where his work on the Anna in the Tropics was recognized.
  • The House of Bernarda Alba – by Federico García Lorca

    The House of Bernarda Alba – by Federico García Lorca
    The House of Bernarda Alba is the devastatingly powerful story of a domineering woman obsessed with maintaining the honor of her family’s name against the forces of a brutal society. The play was also translated by Nilo Cruz.
  • Greenfield Prize

    Greenfield Prize
    Through Nilo's work and passion he was selected to receive this award as he shown to have poetic nature and stood out due to his position in his career at the time. The prize is awarded annually and includes a $30,000 commission for a new piece of work to be created within a two-year time frame. Nilo was the first Florida artist, and first Latino artist to receive the Greenfield Prize.
  • Sotto Voce

    Sotto Voce
    The play is about An imaginative exploration of the power of memory, love and human connection. Bemadette Kahn, an eighty-year-old German-born writer, spends her days in her New York apartment, trying to forget the past. Until Saquiel Rafaeli, a young Jewish-Cuban researcher, appears on her doorstep, forcing her to confront those haunted memories. He's eager to learn about Bemadette's long-lost lover, Ariel Strauss, who set sail in 1939 aboard the St Louis, never to be seen again.
  • Composer

    Nilo Cruz penned the libretto to composer Jimmy López's opera Bel Canto which had its world premiere at the Lyric Opera of Chicago
  • Premiered Bathing in Moonlight

    Premiered Bathing in Moonlight
    McCarter Theatre Center's Berlind Theatre, 91 University Place, Princeton, NJ.
    In Philadelphia Nilo's plays haven't been staged Brief summary: In the process of trying to financially support a struggling family he develops feelings for the family leader, Marcela. They both have mutual feelings for one another but fae hurdles along the way as both can't adjust to their different religious devotion.
  • Exquisita Agonía

    Exquisita Agonía
    “Exquisita Agonía” is about a woman who finds life in death, and a dream of love made real by a man whose will to live is equal to her own, in an atmosphere where poetic insights are the norm and women are the center.
  • Professor

    Nilo is a New Dramatist alumnus ( Dramatist Play Service). He is a professor at Yale school of Drama and has also taught playwriting at Brown University and at the university of Iowa.