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Pulitzer finalist ‘Other Desert Cities’ scathingly funny, fierce family drama


The Studio Players is bringing Jon Robin Baitz’s family drama Other Desert Cities to the stage later this month. Since concluding a successful Broadway run and seven-month stint at Lincoln Center, the play has been produced around the country in regional and community theaters. Among its awards and accolades are five Tony Award nominations, winner of the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play  and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

The play tells the story of the fictional Wyeth family, a venerable clan led by a highly-regarded Old Hollywood couple long admired by Republicans for their friendship with and service to Ronald and Nancy Reagan. But when their daughter Brooke returns home to Palm Springs after a six year absence to celebrate Christmas with her parents, her brother, and her aunt, they discover that she is about to publish a memoir dredging up a pivotal and tragic event in the family’s history – a wound they don’t want reopened. In effect, she draws a line in the sand and dares them all to cross it.

Among the reasons underling the acclaim that has been heaped on Other Desert Cities, is its humor, wit, sharp dialogue, unabashed political commentary and multi-generational sibling rivalry. But what makes this play so intellectually intriguing is the question it poses about the inherent conflict between a writer’s innate need to express their creative elan and her subjects’ expectation of familial privacy. (The legal implications here are an interesting sidebar.)

Directed by Paula Keenan, this deeply felt, scathingly funny, fierce, invigorating and intelligent family drama stars Casey Cobb, Stan Zawatsky, Betsy Greenblatt and Daniel Cancio, with Gerrie Benzing as Brooke, a role that is uniquely suited to her formidable dramatic skill set (Circle Mirror Transformation).

Other Desert Cities opens November 25 and runs through December 18.

Go here for play dates, times and ticket information.

November 1, 2022.

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