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On its surface, Nilo Cruz’ 2003 Pulitzer Prize drama, “Anna in the Tropics,” is a lofty, flowery play about love lost and spiritual and sexual reawakening, as well as about art, life and the intersection between them, writes Eagle critic Jeffrey Borak. In reality, “Anna in the Tropics” — especially in the no-better-than-serviceable production at Barrington Stage Company — is little more than just another dysfunctional family drama.

In Barrington Stage's production of "Anna in the Tropics," it's 1929 and Juan Julian Rios is a lector, hired to read aloud in clear, expressive tones to workers in a hand-rolled cigar factory in Tampa’s Ybor City. The book he has chosen to begin with is “Anna Karenina,” Tolstoy’s weighty tale of marriage, desire and betrayal. This choice will affect the lives of those around him in ways no one can imagine.

Jeffrey L. Page has little interest in staging a re-creation of "Ain't Misbehavin': The Fats Waller Musical Show" that most audiences are familiar with.

It's not that he doesn't appreciate that version — which took home three Tony Awards in 1978 — he just believes it's time for a new version, a version that makes sense for the audiences of 2022.