Hamsptead Theatre will present the European premiere of Nilo Cruz’s Broadway play Anna in the Tropics, which won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize. Diana Quick and Joseph Mydell will star in Indhu Rubasingham’s new production, which will have a limited run from 30 November 2004 to 8 January 2005 (previews from 25 November).

Anna in the Tropics is a lyrical play of passion, pride and desire set in the 1920s in a family-run cigar factory in Tampa, Florida – the heart of Cuban America. Keeping up with tradition, a man known as a ‘lector’ is hired to read aloud to the workers. His chosen book is Anna Karenina. The intrigues of Tolstoy’s classic novel unleash emotions that, with the heat of the tropics and the allure of the American dream, create a volatile mix.

On screen, Quick, who will play Ofelia, has been seen in Brideshead Revisited, The Woman in White, Rasputin, Nostradamus and Saving Grace. Her recent stage credits include English Touring Theatre’s Ghosts, for which she won the TMA Best Actress award, and Shared Experience’s After Mrs Rochester, which transferred to the West End and earned her a Whatsonstage.com Best Actress nomination.

Mydell’s many stage credits include, for the RSC, Twelfth Night, The Prisoner’s Dilemma, The Mysteries and Everyman, and for the National, Alice Adventures Underground and Angels in America. Further casting has yet to be announced.

Anna in the Tropics will be designed by Liz Ascroft, with lighting by Rick Fisher and sound by Fergus O’Hare. It’s presented by Hampstead in association with Caro Newling for Scamp Ltd, Sam Mendes’ film and theatre production company, and Jay Harris.

Casting has also been announced for Hampstead’s next production (See News, 22 Jul 2004), the world premiere of Nick Stafford’s Love Me Tonight. The tragi-comedy, in which a family confronts itself when the need for love is intensified by grief, is directed by actress-turned-director Kathy Burke and runs from 28 October to 20 November 2004 (previews from 21 October).

Linda Bassett (Lucky Dog, Out in the Open, East Is East, Calendar Girls) will be joined by Amanda Abbington (The Safari Party), Hugh Ross (A Prayer for Owen Meany, Battle Royal, Passion) and Nicolas Tennant (Little Malcolm and His Struggle Against the Eunuchs). The production is designed by Bob Bailey, with lighting by Chris Davey and sound by Kal Ross.

Currently at Hampstead, Crispin Whittell’s philosophical comedy Darwin in Malibu - which opened this week, starring Oliver Ford Davies, Douglas Henshall and Nigel Planer – continues until 16 November.

- by Terri Paddock