Anna in the tropicsDirector Gordon McCall says the University Players season opener, “Anna in the Tropics,” pulses with a Latin beat.

University Players to heat up the stage with prize-winning drama

University Players will open its 2015-16 theatre season on September 25 with the sensual, poetic and moving play, Anna in the Tropics by Nilo Cruz. Winner of the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the show runs through October 4 in the Essex Hall Theatre.

It’s 1929 Florida, in a humid Cuban-American cigar factory. Cigars are still rolled by hand and lectors are hired to read to the illiterate workers. When the handsome new lector begins to read aloud from the classic Anna Karenina, imaginations and passions ignite, changing lives forever.

Anna in the Tropics pulses with a Latin beat,” says director Gordon McCall. “Its hypnotic language, remarkable characters and immersion into the world of the lost cigar factories of Ybor City is magically intertwined with the great Russian love story of Tolstoy’s classic Anna Karenina. The play floats through the night like a hot summer Tampa breeze and pulls you into its salsa dancer’s heart.”

Anna in the Tropics contains mature themes and situations.

Wednesday through Saturday performances are at 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday matinees are at 2 p.m. On Sunday, September 27, a “Talk Back” discussion with the director and actors will follow the performance. Tickets may be ordered online at or by phoning 519-253-3000, ext. 2808.