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Photo Flash: First Look at Open Fist Theatre Company's ANNA IN THE TROPICS

Sultry heat and Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina" combine to spark rich fantasies and broken dreams, passion and adultery. Open Fist Theatre Company presents Anna In The Tropics, the powerful, poignant and poetic play that garnered the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for then unknown Cuban-American playwright Nilo Cruz. Jon Lawrence Rivera directs, with performances continuing through June 8 at Atwater Village Theatre.

The lives of a Cuban-American family working in a cigar factory in Ybor City, Florida during the Prohibition Era are upended in Cruz's fiery, sensual play. It's 1929, and flaring tensions between old traditions and new ways include the threat of new, mechanical cigar-rolling machines that loom over the factory workers who still roll cigars by hand. Also in danger is the tradition of the "Lectore de Tabaqueres," who reads out loud to the cigar rollers to break the tedium and pass the time. The arrival of Juan Julian, the new lector, is cause for celebration. But when he reads Anna Karenina to the cigar rollers, he unwittingly becomes a catalyst in the lives of his avid listeners, for whom Tolstoy, the tropics and the American dream prove a volatile combination.

The Open Fist production stars Steve Wilcox (American Me, Libertador, Swamp Thing) as inveterate gambler and family patriarch Santiago, owner of the cigar factory; Antonio Jaramillo (series regular on FX's Mayans M.C., Shades Of Blue opposite Jennifer Lopez, Three Days in the Country and The Seagull at Antaeus) as his bitter and envious half-brother, Cheché; Jill Remez (West Coast premiere of Nilo Cruz's Two Sisters and a Piano at South Coast Rep, recurring this month on Adam Ruins Everything) as his wife, Ofelia; Presciliana Esparolini (soon-to-be-released No No No, Yes directed by Drake Doermus) as older daughter, Conchita;Javi Mulero (Anna in the Tropics at The Pasadena Playhouse and Arizona Theatre Company) as Conchita's husband, Palomo; Jade Santana (previously seen at Open Fist in Under Milk Wood) as younger sister Marela; Christopher Cedeño (Open Fist's Under Milk Wood and The Zoo Story) as Eliades, who runs the local cockfight; and Los Angeles Drama Critics' Circle Best Actor Award-winning actor Byron Quiros (Take Me Out at The Geffen Playhouse, 2017 Sundance Film Festival Official Selection Hot Seat) as Juan Julian.

The creative team includes set designer Christopher Scott Murillo, lighting designer Matt Richter, composer and sound designerTim Labor and costume designer Mylette Nora. The rehearsal stage manager is Therese Olson and the production stage manager is Ben Scuglia. Martha Demson and Beth Robbins produce for Open Fist Theatre Company.

Anna in the Tropics continue on through June 8 on Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 4 p.m. and Mondays at 8 p.m. There will be one additional Friday night performance on June 7 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 with advance purchase, $30 at the door on Saturdays and Sundays; and $20 with advance purchase, $25 at the door every Monday and on Friday, June 7.

Atwater Village Theatre is located at 3269 Casitas Ave in Los Angeles, CA 90039. On-site parking is free. For reservations and information, call (323) 882-6912 or go to www.openfist.org.

Photo Credit: Darrett Sanders (1-3), Ed Krieger (4)

high res photos

Photo Flash: First Look at Open Fist Theatre Company's ANNA IN THE TROPICS
Javi Mulero, Presciliana Esparolini, Byron Quiros

Photo Flash: First Look at Open Fist Theatre Company's ANNA IN THE TROPICS
Presciliana Esparolini and Byron Quiros


Photo Flash: First Look at Open Fist Theatre Company's ANNA IN THE TROPICS
Presciliana Esparolini and Byron Quiros


Photo Flash: First Look at Open Fist Theatre Company's ANNA IN THE TROPICS
Jon Lawrence Rivera


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