Tony Nominee Martha Plimpton Joins Cast of OTHER DESERT CITIES at The Old Vic, Posner Will Direct
The full cast is announced for the UK premiere of Jon Robin Baitz's acclaimed play, Other Desert Cities, opening at The Old Vic on Monday 24 March with previews from Thursday 13 March. Directed by Lindsay Posner, the new production will star Sinead Cusack, Peter Egan, Clare Higgins, Daniel Lapaine and Martha Plimpton.
Other Desert Cities is the first play in a new season of productions which will be presented in-the-round at The Old Vic. Reprising the transformation of The Old Vic's auditorium into the round, first seen for the award- winning 2008 production of The Norman Conquests, this ambitious project is once more made possible by the generous support of CQS. The season of productions is supported for the fourth consecutive year by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Other Desert Cities, is a fierce and funny drama deftly exploring family politics, love, loss and redemption. Previewing from 13 March 2014 with a press night on 24 March.
Brooke Wyeth returns to the family home in Palm Springs for the first time in six years with some incendiary news for her Republican parents Polly and Lyman, her brother Trip and her recovering alcoholic aunt Silda. She is about to publish a memoir about her family, exposing a pivotal moment in their painful and explosive past, her actions threatening to push fractured family relations to a point beyond repair.
Other Desert Cities was first seen in 2010 at New York's Lincoln Center, where it won the Outer Critics' Circle Award for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play before enjoying even greater success on Broadway and gaining five nominations for the 2012 Tony Awards. Other Desert Cities was a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Sine?ad Cusack plays Polly Wyeth. This role marks her return to The Old Vic stage, having last appeared in The Bridge Project (The Cherry Orchard and The Winter's Tale). Other recent stage work includes Juno and the Paycock (National and Abbey Theatre), Rock 'n' Roll (Royal Court, West End and Broadway; 2008 Tony Award nomination for Featured Actress) and The Birds (Gate, Dublin). Sine?ad has also played many leading roles for the RSC, including Antony and Cleopatra, Macbeth, The Taming of the Shrew, The Merchant of Venice, As You Like It, Measure for Measure, Much Ado About Nothing (also on Broadway; Tony Award nomination for Best Actress) and Cyrano de Bergerac. Our Lady of Sligo (National, Broadway) saw her win The Evening Standard and Critics' Circle awards for Best Actress, as well as an Olivier nomination.
On screen, Sine?ad has starred in The Wrath of the Titans, Eastern Promises, V for Vendetta and I Capture the Castle, and is well known to British television audiences for her roles in A Room With A View (ITV), the final series of Poirot (ITV) and North and South (BBC). In 2014 she will appear in the film Eliza Graves, alongside Michael Caine, Ben Kingsley and Kate Beckinsale, as well as the new BBC drama 37 Days, with Ian McDiarmid and Tim Pigott-Smith.
Peter Egan plays Lyman Wyeth. Recent theatre work includes Alan Bennett's People (National). Peter's extensive stage roles have included Trevor Nunn's production of Hamlet, Journey's End (Cambridge Theatre, for which he received the Critics' Circle award for Best Actor), Arms and the Man, You Never Can Tell, M Butterfly, Noises Off, Art, The Secret Rapture and John Osborne's last play, De?ja? Vu. His first television role was as Seth Starkadder in the BBC serialisation of Cold Comfort Farm in 1968. Other screen roles include the controversial Granada series Big Breadwinner Hog, the John le Carre? dramatisation A Perfect Spy, the hit BBC sitcoms Joint Account and Ever Decreasing Circles and the drama series Lillie (in which he played Oscar Wilde). Peter won the BAFTA award for 'Most Promising Newcomer' for his role in the film The Hireling, and also went on to play the Duke of Sutherland in Chariots of Fire (1981). Other screen work includes Downton Abbey (2012 Christmas Special) and the films Bean, The I Inside, The Wedding Date and Man to Man.
Clare Higgins plays Silda Grauman. Clare is the recipient of three Olivier Awards; for Hecuba at the Donmar; Sweet Bird of Youth at the National; and Vincent in Brixton also at the National, West End and on Broadway (for which she also won The Evening Standard and Critics' Circle awards for 'Best Actress', and received a Tony nomination). Other notable theatre roles include Jocasta in Jonathan Kent's Oedipus opposite Ralph Fiennes (National), Gertrude in Hamlet with Rory Kinnear (National), Linda Loman in Death of a Salesman (Lyric), The Night of the Iguana (Lyric), The Fever (Royal Court), Phaedra (Donmar) and Mrs Klein (Almeida). Film work includes the cult films Hellraiser and Hellraiser II, as well as I Give It A Year, The Golden Compass and The Libertine. Television audiences will know Clare from recent roles such as Mrs. Barlett in the third series of Downton Abbey, Lady Claudine in Parade's End and Joyce in The Syndicate.
Daniel Lapaine plays Trip Wyeth. This production sees Daniel return to The Old Vic, having recently played Eilert Loevborg in Hedda Gabler, opposite Sheridan Smith and Adrian Scarborough. His other theatre credits include Howard Davies' production of All My Sons (Apollo), The Dance of Death (Donmar at The Trafalgar), Scenes from the Back of Beyond and F**king Games (both Royal Court). Film work includes Zero Dark Thirty, Dead in Tombstone, Muriel's Wedding and Double Jeopardy. His many television credits include Vexed, Identity, Vera, Black Mirror, Hotel Babylon, Sex the City and Me, Jane Hall and The Good Housekeeping Guide. In 2006 he made his directorial debut with the Australian feature film, 48 Shades of Brown.
Martha Plimpton plays Brooke Wyeth. Award-winning American actress Martha first came to public attention in the 1980's for roles in films such as The Goonies, Parenthood, Woody Allen's Another Woman and Running on Empty. She currently stars as Virginia Chance in the FOX television series Raising Hope, which earned her an Emmy Award nomination for 'Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series'. Other regular television roles include The Good Wife (for which she won the Emmy Award for 'Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama series'), ER, Grey's Anatomy and the HBO series How To Make It In America.
Martha is also a respected Broadway actress. Recent work includes Top Girls opposite Marisa Tomei (Tony Award nomination for 'Best Featured Actress', Drama League Award Nomination for 'Distinguished Performance'), Coast of Utopia opposite Ethan Hawke and Billy Crudup (Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle 2
awards for 'Outstanding Featured Actress', Tony Award Nomination for 'Best Featured Actress') and Joe Mantello's production of the musical Pal Joey (Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics' Circle and Drama League award nominations). Other Desert Cities is to be Martha's London theatre debut.
Jon Robin Baitz is a celebrated American playwright and is perhaps best known in this country for his internationally successful TV series, Brothers and Sisters, about a wealthy Californian family who grapple with love, loss and living in the modern age. His plays include: The Substance of Fire, A Fair Country, and Ten Unknowns, (all produced at The Lincoln Center), The Paris Letter, The Film Society, Mizlansky/Zilinsky and Three Hotels as well as a new version of Ibsen's Hedda Gabler. He is the recipient of a Rockefeller Foundation Award, a Drama Desk Award, is a Guggenheim Fellow, and a Pulitzer Prize finalist for A Fair Country. He won a Humanitas Award for the PBS-TV's American Playhouse, with his version of Three Hotels, which he also directed, and his version of the Australian TV mini-series, The Slap, begins filming this Summer.
Lindsay Posner's most recent directing credit at The Old Vic was Terence Rattigan's The Winslow Boy starring Henry Goodman, which transferred to New York in October where it enjoyed a critically acclaimed run at the Roundabout Theatre, starring Roger Rees. His productions of Noises Off (The Old Vic and West End) toured theatres across the UK and Ireland from March to July 2013. Lindsay was Associate Director at the Royal Court Theatre from 1987 to 1992 where his production of Death and The Maiden won two Olivier Awards. His many other theatre credits include Butley starring Dominic West (Duchess), An Ideal Husband starring Samantha Bond and Rachael Stirling (Vaudeville), Fool For Love starring Juliette Lewis (Apollo), Arthur Miller's A View From The Bridge starring Ken Stott (Duke of York's, nominated for four Olivier Awards), Carousel (Savoy), Fiddler on The Roof (Sheffield and Savoy), House of Games, Tom and Viv, The Hypochondriac, Romance (Almeida), A Life in the Theatre (Apollo), the world premiere of Power by Nick Dear, Tartuffe (National), Twelfth Night, Volpone, The Taming of the Shrew and The Rivals (RSC), Abigail's Party (Menier Chocolate Factory) and Uncle Vanya (Vaudeville).
Photo by Walter McBride