"Anna in the Tropics," the 2003 Pulitzer Prize- winning play by Nilo Cruz, re-creates a fascinating period of American history. An influx of Cuban immigrants brought their cigar-making craft to Florida in the late 1880s.
As workers carefully hand-rolled each cigar, they were read to by a lector, typically a learned, sophisticated man, who provided the workers news and entertainment. Both traditions lasted until the 1930s when the Depression and mechanization severely diminished the industry.
In this play set in 1929 in Tampa, Fla., a new lector named Juan Julian comes to a factory in decline and begins reading Leo Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina" to workers dealing with their disappearing livelihood.
Two-time Elly-winning actress Kristine David makes her directorial debut with Teatro Nagual's production of the poetic drama. David's cast includes Martin J. Rodriguez, Amanda Morish, Anna Maria Perales, Ernesto Bustos, Richard Falcon, Jay Patrick, Pierre Perales and Irene Velasquez.
The final performances of the production are at 8 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $20 general, $15 for seniors, SARTA members and students. At the Coloma Community Center, 4623 T St., Sacramento. For more information go to www.teatronagual.com.
The Sacramento Shakespeare Festival opens its 27th season in William Land Park with Luther Hanson's "Shakespearean" adaptation of the King Arthur legend. You probably have to see the show to understand just what that means since the popular Arthurian legend dates to folklore known before the 12th century, when French writer Chrétien de Troyes added Lancelot and the Holy Grail to the story of Arthur as a great warrior king. Shakespeare is of course the greatest writer in the English language, so if this new "King Arthur" has been truly written in his style, then huzzah.
Hanson directs his own script with a cast including Brent Bianchini as Arthur, Breanna Reilly as Guenevere, Rob August as Lancelot, Bradley Moates as Merlin, Sara Hanson as Morgan and Anthony Person as Mordred.
Tickets are $18 general, $15 for students. Children ages 6 to 12 are free. Children under 6 not admitted. Parking is $2. "King Arthur" opens tonight and plays Saturday and July 8, 13, 15, 20, 22, and 27. The festival's second production, "The Comedy of Errors," opens July 6 and plays July 7, 12, 14, 19, 21, 26 and 29. Performances are in the William A. Carroll Amphitheatre in William Land Park. The box office opens at 6 p.m., gates at 6:30 p.m., and performances begin at 8 p.m. Picnics welcome. For information: www.sacramento shakespeare.net or call (916) 558-2228.
Hello to all that
JD Rudometkin's wide-ranging musical project Step Jayne convenes for a multimedia extravaganza at the Geery Theater. The performance includes storytelling, video and live music. Celebrating the new Step Jayne album "Here Come the Humans," Rudometkin premieres two videos, "Iscariot Confessions" and "Send Out the Call."
The performance is 9 p.m. today at the Geery Theater, 2130 L St. Doors open at 8:30 p.m. Admission is $10 and includes a copy of "Here Come the Humans." For information go to www.facebook.com/ stepjayne. Tickets are available at The Beat, 1700 J St., Sacramento, (916) 446-4402.