Review Roundup: OTHER DESERT CITIES - All the Reviews!
Stockard Channing, Rachel Griffiths, Stacy Keach, Judith Light and Thomas Sadoski star in its Broadway production of Jon Robin Baitz's critically acclaimed new play OTHER DESERT CITIES, opening tonight at the Booth Theatre.
OTHER DESERT CITIES had its premiere at Lincoln Center Theater last winter where it was an immediate sell out during its limited engagement run at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater. Winner of the 2011 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Off-Broadway Play, it was also nominated for multiple Drama Desk and Lucille Lortel Awards, including Best Play.
In Other Desert Cities, Brooke Wyeth (to be played by Rachel Griffiths who is making her Broadway debut), a once promising novelist, returns home after a six year absence to celebrate Christmas in Palm Springs with her parents, former members of the Reagan inner-circle (Stockard Channing and Stacy Keach), her brother (Thomas Sadoski) and her aunt (to be played by Judith Light). When Brooke announces that she is about to publish a memoir focusing on an explosive chapter in the family's history, the holiday reunion is thrown into turmoil and the Wyeths are both bound together and torn apart as they struggle to come to terms with their past. LCT gratefully acknowledges that Ms. Griffiths will appear in Other Desert Cities with the permission of Actors Equity Association. What did the critics think? Find out now!
Ben Brantley, The New York Times: "Cities," directed with a masterly combination of shadow and shimmer by Joe Mantello, emerges as stronger, more sincere and more credible in its Broadway reincarnation... The Wyeths' competitive hyper-articulateness seems to come more naturally to them now. Always balanced on a razor's edge of affection and aggression, this studied cleverness is what allows them to continue to communicate with one another.
Mark Kennedy, Associated Press: We've all heard this scenario before: Family members gather for a fraught holiday reunion in which embarrassing family secrets - lubricated by booze and resentment - tumble out. But Jon Robin Baitz has taken that cliche and somehow made it vibrant in "Other Desert Cities," which had its world debut last year at Lincoln Center Theater and has now made the jump to Broadway. It opened Thursday at the Booth Theatre. The script crackles with life and so do the performances.
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter: When it premiered in January, Jon Robin Baitz's first new play in six years, Other Desert Cities, was smart and entertaining. But in its move to Broadway, this domestic dustup has ripened significantly...The cast could not be better. Under Mantello's firm hand, the actors never strike a false note. In their speech rhythms and body language with one another -- their relaxed intimacy or wary distance, their camaraderie or distrust, their easy banter or silent, hostile regard - they are unmistakably a family.
Joe Dziemianowicz, NY Daily News: Now on Broadway, where it's sporting a few subtle tweaks (good ones) and two new actors (ditto), this astutely drawn and deliciously performed play is as juicy and surprising as ever...Like a good popcorn movie, “Desert” holds you rapt and keeps you guessing to the end, although, admittedly, you may have questions about some of the logic.
Matt Windman, amNY: At first glance, "Other Desert Cities" doesn't seem all that different from numerous other family dramas in which tensions mount and secrets inevitably spill. But it is distinguished by the depth and complexity of each and every character, as well as the play's seamless structure...Under Mantello's directional finesse, this exceptional five-member cast turns Baitz's blueprint of family squabbling into a portrait of regret and denial that is as witty and entertaining as it is emotionally cathartic.
Terry Teachout, Wall Street Journal: Jon Robin Baitz's "Other Desert Cities," which had a very successful run at Lincoln Center Theater last winter, has now transferred to Broadway, where it will surely do at least as well-and deservedly so. Though not without flaw, Mr. Baitz's latest play, a group portrait of a Reaganesque show-business family whose members are keeping secrets from one another, is for the most part both soundly made and emotionally persuasive, and Stockard Channing, Rachel Griffiths, Stacy Keach, Judith Light and Thomas Sadoski are as good a cast as anyone could hope for.