Palm Beach Dramaworks
Contemporary Voices
Three Plays by Pulitzer Prize-Winner
Nilo Cruz
Free, Live Online Series Begins April 12
with Two Sisters and a Piano
Sponsored by Holland & Knight

Contemporary Voices, Palm Beach Dramaworks’ free, online series featuring live readings and discussions of plays by a cross-section of some of the finest American playwrights working in theatre today, resumes on April 12 with the spotlight on Pulitzer Prize-winner Nilo Cruz. PBD will present three of his plays on three consecutive Monday evenings, followed each Wednesday with a discussion of the work by theatre professionals and community leaders. 
The readings are sponsored by Holland & Knight, a global law firm with more than 1,400 lawyers and other professionals in 27 offices throughout the world.
The series opens with Two Sisters and a Piano (1999) on April 12, followed by Sotto Voce (2014) on April 19, and concluding with the Pulitzer Prize-winning Anna in the Tropics (2002) on April 26. The Wednesday evening discussions are on April 14, 21, and 28. All readings and discussions begin at 7:30pm. Tickets are free, but reservations are required.
Contemporary Voices premiered in October with three plays by Lynn Nottage.
Cruz, who was born in Cuba in 1960 and arrived in Miami with his family a decade later on a Freedom Flight, is acclaimed for his broad exploration of the Latino experience. He is often referred to as a “lyrical” writer, and his plays, he has said, are more character-driven than plot-driven. These qualities are evident in the three plays being presented by PBD, as is a belief that arts and language can have a powerful effect on people’s lives. 
“We are honored to partner with Dramaworks and Nilo Cruz to help bring entertainment and cultural understanding to our community,” said William Shepherd, executive partner of Holland & Knight’s West Palm Beach office. “Contemporary Voices is a chance for us to breathe life into vibrant programs and support our theatres, actors, and playwrights during this challenging time. It’s also an opportunity to hear from diverse voices and support thoughtful discussion centered on inclusion.”

“It’s a privilege to be joining forces with Holland & Knight,” said Sue Ellen Beryl, PBD’s managing director. “We’re grateful for their sponsorship, for their support of the arts and the community, and that they share with PBD a commitment to equality, diversity, and inclusion.”

TWO SISTERS AND A PIANO (April 12, 7:30pm; Discussion April 14, 7:30pm)
Maria Celia, a celebrated novelist, and her sister, Sofia, a pianist, are under house arrest in Havana, Cuba after serving two years in jail for expressing pro-freedom sentiments. The women are watched closely by Lieutenant Portuondo, who becomes infatuated by Maria Celia. When he reveals he has letters from her husband, who is crusading abroad for the sisters’ release, Maria Celia strikes a bargain with Portuondo which could have consequences for all their futures.
SOTTO VOCE (April 19, 7:30pm; Discussion April 21, 7:30pm)
German-born, 80-year-old novelist Bemadette Kahn lives a life of self-imposed seclusion in her New York City apartment, where she tries to shut out the memories of her long-lost love, Ariel Strauss, one of the 900-plus Jewish refugees who set sail from Nazi Germany aboard the St. Louis in 1939, only to be turned away by Cuba and the US. But Saquiel Rafaeli, a 28-year-old Jewish-Cuban student, is determined to convince Bemadette to resurrect the past.
ANNA IN THE TROPICS (April 26, 7:30pm; Discussion April 28, 7:30pm)

Nilo Cruz is a Cuban-American playwright who won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for Anna in the Tropics, becoming the first Latino to win the award. Other plays include Dancing on Her Knees, A Park in Our House, Two Sisters and a Piano, A Bicycle Country, Hortensia and the Museum of Dreams, Lorca in a Green Dress, Beauty of the Father, Hurricane, Sotto Voce, Bathing in Moonlight, and Exquisita Agonia (Exquisite Agony). His work has been seen at theatres throughout the country, including the Magic Theatre (Sam Francisco); the McCarter Theatre (Princeton), where he was playwright-in-residence; Florida Stage; Actors’ Playhouse; New Theatre (Coral Gables), where he was playwright-in-residence and which commissioned Anna in the Tropics; Theatre for a New City (New York); South Coast Rep; The Public Theater (New York); the Mark Taper Forum (Los Angeles); Oregon Shakespeare Festival; and Washington D.C.’s Studio Theatre. Cruz has collaborated with composer Gabriela Lena Frank on a series of orchestral songs which premiered at St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, Berkley Symphony Orchestra, and the Houston Symphony Orchestra. The premiere of their most recent work, the opera The Last Dream of Frida and Diego, was postponed due to the pandemic. Cruz received an MFA from Brown University, and has taught at Yale, Brown, the University of Iowa, and the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, where he was distinguished visiting playwright-in-residence for the 2019-2020 academic year. 

Tickets to the readings and discussions are free, but reservations are required. Tickets are for the entire series will be available beginning Tuesday, March 30, and can be reserved at or by calling the box office at 561.514.4042, x2.

About Holland & Knight LLP: Holland & Knight is a global law firm with more than 1,400 lawyers and other professionals in 27 offices throughout the world. The firm's lawyers provide representation in litigation, business, real estate and governmental law. Interdisciplinary practice groups and industry-based teams provide clients with efficient access to attorneys throughout the firm.

About Palm Beach Dramaworks: 
Palm Beach Dramaworks is a professional, nonprofit theatre company founded in 2000 and located in the heart of downtown West Palm Beach. Each season, the award-winning company produces five mainstage shows and offers a wide variety of programs for students at the theatre, in schools, and online. Committed to fostering the future of theatre, PBD has become a hub for playwrights in Florida and around the country to nurture their work through initiatives including Drama(in the)works and the annual New Year/New Plays Festival. PBD is a member of Theatre Communications Group, Florida Professional Theatres Association, and the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County.

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