SpeakEasy Stage Company Presents OTHER DESERT CITIES, Now thru 2/9

SpeakEasy Stage Company Presents OTHER DESERT CITIES, Now thru 2/9

It's the story of a family where secrets are currency and everyone is rich. From tonight, January 11 through February 9, 2013, SpeakEasy Stage will present the New England Premiere of the award-winning drama OTHER DESERT CITIES by Jon Robin Baitz.

OTHER DESERT CITIES tells the story of Brooke Wyeth, a once promising young novelist, who returns home after a six-year absence to celebrate Christmas in Palm Springs with her brother, aunt, and parents, the latter of whom are former members of Reagan's inner circle. The festivities are short-lived, however, when Brooke announces that she is about to publish a memoir dredging up a pivotal and tragic event in the family's history - a wound that her parents do not want reopened.

The play is the latest from Jon Robin Baitz, whose previous works include Mizlansky/Zilansky or "schmucks"; The Film Society; The Substance of Fire; The End of the Day; Three Hotels; A Fair Country (Pulitzer Prize finalist 1996); (an adaptation of) Hedda Gabler; Ten Unknowns; and The Paris Letter. Mr. Baitz also created the ABC television series "Brothers & Sisters," which starred Sally Field as the matriarch of a California wine family.

Scott Edmiston will direct this New England Premiere production of OTHER DESERT CITIES for SpeakEasy. Mr. Edmiston has directed over 50 plays in the Boston area and has received numerous awards for his achievements, including three Elliot Norton Awards, two IRNE Awards, the 2005 StageSource Award, and the 2011 Norton Prize for Sustained Excellence in Boston Theatre.

Nancy E. Carroll, Anne Gottlieb, Munson Hicks, Karen MacDonald, and Christopher M. Smith make up the cast.

The design team includes Janie E. Howland (scenic); Charles Schoonmaker (costumes); Karen Perlow (lighting) and Dewey Dellay (original music/sound). Katie Ailinger is the Production Stage Manager.

OTHER DESERT CITIES will play for five weeks only, from tonight, January 11 through February 9, in the Virginia Wimberly Theatre in the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street in Boston's South End.

Tickets start at $25, with discounts for students, seniors and persons age 25 and under. To buy tickets or for more information, the public is invited to call 617-933-8600 or visit www.SpeakEasyStage.com.

OTHER DESERT CITIES, originally titled Love and Mercy, had its world premiere at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater at Lincoln Center in New York City on December 16, 2010, and officially opened its limited engagement on January 13, 2011. The production was directed by Joe Mantello, and featured Elizabeth Marvel as Brooke, Stockard Channing as Polly, Stacy Keach as Lyman, Linda Lavin as Silda, and Thomas Sadoski as Trip. The play ended its run as scheduled on Feb. 27, 2011, and was later named Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play by the Outer Critics Circle.

On October 12, 2011, the play re-opened on Broadway at the Booth Theater, with Rachel Griffiths taking over the role of Brooke Wyeth and Judith Light assuming the role of Silda. This production received five 2012 Tony Award nominations, including Best Play; Best Actress in a Play (Stockard Channing); Best Featured Actress in a Play (Judith Light); Best Scenic Design (John Lee Beatty); and Best Lighting Design (Kenneth Posner). Judith Light won for Best Featured Actress in a Play.

Other Desert Cities was also a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Mr. Baitz was born in 1961 in Los Angeles, and grew up there, in Brazil and in South Africa. Plays include Milansky/Zilinsky or "schmucks"; The Film Society; The Substance of Fire; The End of the Day; Three Hotels; A Fair Country; (an adaptation of) Hedda Gabler; Ten Unknowns; and The Paris Letter. He is a Pulitzer Prize finalist for A Fair Country and a Guggenheim, NEA, and American Academy of Arts & Letters Award winner. He is on the faculties of the New School's Graduate Drama Division and Stony Brook Southampton's MFA Theatre and Film. His screenplays include The Substance of Fire and People I Know, the latter starring Al Pacino. He created the ABC-TV drama "Brothers & Sisters," in 2006, after writing an episode of "The West Wing" ("The Long Goodbye"). Other Desert Cities was nominated for Lortel, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Awards, winning the latter.

Scott Edmiston returns to SpeakEasy where he has directed Next Fall; In the Next Room (or the vibrator play); The History Boys; The Light in the Piazza; Reckless; The Women; The Last Sunday in June; and The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told. In 2009, he was honored with SpeakEasy's Outstanding Artist Award. He has directed more than 60 productions across Greater Boston for such companies as Lyric Stage, A.R.T., Huntington Theatre, and New Rep, among others. Highlights: Long Day's Journey into Night, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Time Stands Still, A Marvelous Party, My Name is Asher Lev, Happy Days, Private Lives, and Betrayal. His Boston premiere of Nixon in China was hailed as "deeply touching" by The New York Times; and he received critical acclaim for SpeakEasy's Five by Tenn, his original compilation of lost Tennessee Williams plays. He has received three Elliot Norton Awards, two IRNE Awards, and the 2011 Norton Prize for Sustained Excellence. Scott teaches dramatic literature at Brandeis University where he is Director of the Office of the Arts. His chapter "Acting Misbegotten" was recently published in Critical Insight: Eugene O'Neill by Salem Press.

Nancy E. Carroll (Silda Grauman) returns to SpeakEasy where she appeared in The Savannah Disputation, The Women, Company, and A Man Of No Importance (co-production Súgán). Ms. Carroll spent the past year touring with the Druid Theatre of Galway appearing as Mammy in The Cripple of Inishmaan (US/Ireland) and the Old Woman in Big Maggie (Ireland). Her New York credits include Broadway: Present Laughter and Off-Broadway: Balancing Act. Regional: Good People, Luck of the Irish, Prelude to a Kiss, Brendan, She Loves Me, The Rose Tattoo, Dead End (Huntington Theatre); Our Town, She Loves Me (Williamstown); Trad (Tir Na); Breath of Life, Doubt, Happy Days, My Old Lady, Collected Stories (Gloucester Stage); The Year of Magical Thinking, The Glass Menagerie (Lyric Stage); The Clean House, Frozen, Sweeney Todd, Kindertransport (New Repertory Theatre); Bailegangaire (Súgán Theatre); Homebody/Kabul (Boston Theatre Works); Humble Boy, Hamlet, The Winter's Tale (Publick Theatre); Auntie and Me (Merrimack Rep); The Pain & The Itch (Company One); Buried Child, The Unexpected Man (Nora Theatre). She has received three Elliot Norton Awards: for Miss Erickson in Present Laughter, the Woman in Brendan, and Mommo in Bailegangaire.

Anne Gottlieb (Brooke Wyeth) is thrilled to return to SpeakEasy for her fourth time. Other productions include The Women; In the Next Room (or the vibrator play); and the world premiere of The Wrestling Patient, which her company 40Magnolias Productions created and then co-produced in collaboration with SpeakEasy and Boston Playwrights' Theatre. Recent appearances include Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune (New Repertory Theatre), Futurity (A.R.T.); My Name is Asher Lev (Lyric Stage); and Not Enough Air (Nora Theatre). She is the co-author of Anam Cara: Two Women Fall in the Ancient Tale of Gilgamesh, which premiered at the Roy Hart International Centre in France. She is the recipient of the 2011 Elliot Norton Award and the 2011 Independent Reviewers of New England Award (IRNE) for her work in Frankie and Johnny and In the Next Room (or the vibrator play). Ms. Gottlieb is a teacher for the Michael Chekhov Association and a committed student of the work. She is also a resident scholar in Collaborative Process and Acting at Women's Studies Research Center at Brandeis University. Anne works and resides in both Boston and New York.

Anne Gottlieb (Brooke Wyeth) is thrilled to return to SpeakEasy for her fourth time. Other productions include The Women; In the Next Room (or the vibrator play); and the world premiere of The Wrestling Patient, which her company 40Magnolias Productions created and then co-produced in collaboration with SpeakEasy and Boston Playwrights' Theatre. Recent appearances include Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune (New Repertory Theatre), Futurity (A.R.T.); My Name is Asher Lev (Lyric Stage); and Not Enough Air (Nora Theatre). She is the co-author of Anam Cara: Two Women Fall in the Ancient Tale of Gilgamesh, which premiered at the Roy Hart International Centre in France. She is the recipient of the 2011 Elliot Norton Award and the 2011 Independent Reviewers of New England Award (IRNE) for her work in Frankie and Johnny and In the Next Room (or the vibrator play). Ms. Gottlieb is a teacher for the Michael Chekhov Association and a committed student of the work. She is also a resident scholar in Collaborative Process and Acting at Women's Studies Research Center at Brandeis University. Anne works and resides in both Boston and New York.

Karen MacDonald (Polly Wyeth) was last seen at SpeakEasy in The Drowsy Chaperone. Most recently she appeared in Good People at the Huntington. Last season in Boston, she performed roles in Coriolanus, Cupcake, Long Day's Journey into Night and Superior Donuts. Other regional and local credits include Before I Leave You, Bus Stop, All My Sons and A Civil War Christmas (Huntington); The Color of Rose (ArtsEmerson); Two Wives in India (Boston Playwrights' Theatre); The Blonde, The Brunette, and the Vengeful Redhead (Merrimack Repertory Theatre); boom (New Repertory Theatre); All's Well That Ends Well, Hamlet, and Twelfth Night (Commonwealth Shakespeare Company); Third (Portland Stage); and productions at Hartford Stage, Berkshire Theatre Festival, and the Vineyard Playhouse. A founding company member of the American Repertory Theater, MS. MacDonald appeared in 70 productions, including The Seagull, Endgame, and Mother Courage. Nationally she has worked extensively, from Philadelphia's Wilma Theatre to Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Directing credits include An Ideal Husband and The Woman in Black (Gloucester Stage) and Dressed Up! Wigged Out! (Boston Playwrights' Theatre). The recipient of several Elliot Norton and IRNE Awards for her stage work, MS. MacDonald has also received both the Robert Brustein Award for Sustained Achievement in the Theatre and the Norton Prize for Sustained Excellence. MS. MacDonald teaches at Harvard University and was the 2010-2011 Monan Fellow at Boston College. She graduated from the College of Fine Arts at Boston University and is a Boston native.

CHRISTOPHER M. SMITH (Trip Wyeth) is pleased to be making his SpeakEasy debut. New York credits include Tennis in Nablus (NY Premiere, Stageworks/Hudson), and Eurydice (Walking the Dog). Los Angeles credits: The Pavilion (West Coast Premiere), Orange Flower Water, Antigone, True West, The Cherry Orchard, and several independent films including Wart, The Golden Age, and Something Blue (Best Feature - Sonoma International Film Festival). Christopher is a proud member of Actors' Equity Association. He lives in New York City.

SPEAKEASY STAGE COMPANY's mission is to connect, inspire, and challenge our audience with the most socially relevant theatrical premieres featuring the most talented artists in Boston. We are also committed to supporting local actors, directors, and designers by providing a nurturing environment in which they can practice and develop their craft. In 2007, SpeakEasy was named the Calderwood Pavilion Resident Theatre for the Boston Center for the Arts. For more information, visit speakeasystage.com.

THE BOSTON CENTER FOR THE ARTS (BCA) is a not-for-profit performing and visual arts campus that supports working artists to create, perform and exhibit new works; develops new audiences; and connects the arts to community. Visit www.bcaonline.org for more information.

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