Performance Network to Present OTHER DESERT CITIES, 6/12-7/20
A nominee for the Tony Award for Best Play in 2012 and finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Other Desert Cities by Jon Robin Baitz, a co-production with the Jewish Ensemble Theatre, kicks off the summer at Performance Network Theatre from June 12 - July 20, 2014.
Pulitzer Prize nominee Jon Robin Baitz brings dysfunctional family drama to new heights in this witty comedy-drama that has been hailed by the New York Times as having "the appeal of a Broadway hit from another age." Other Desert Cities has been praised by the New York Magazine as possessing "power, passion, and superbly crafted palaver stippled with blow darts of wit." The drama is set around the 2009 Christmas holidays. Brooke Wyeth, a writer living in Eastern Long Island, visits her waspish mother, recently retired father, loyal and sensitive brother, and fresh-out-of-rehab aunt at their home in Palm Springs after a six-year absence. When Brooke announces she is about to publish a memoir dredging up a pivotal and tragic event in the family's history, secrets come to life that could ruin their reputation, false serenity, and family bond.
Directed by David Wolber and featuring award-winning actors and designers, Performance Network's production of Other Desert Cities brings the play from a very successful run from the Jewish Ensemble Theatre in West Bloomfield to the Ann Arbor and greater southeast Michigan audiences. Leah Smith stars as the lead Brooke Wyeth. Leah was last seen at Performance Network in The War Since Eve and Fuddy Meers. Performance Network audiences will recognize the familiar faces of Naz Edwards as Polly Wyeth, Hugh Maguire as Lyman Wyeth, and Sandra Birch as Silda Grauman.
Naz Edwards is a Broadway actress and singer now living in Ann Arbor. She was previously seen at Performance Network in Jerry's Girls and My Name Is Asher Lev. As a Performance Network Associate Artist, she has also been seen in A Little Night Music (for which she also received a Wilde Award), Man Of La Mancha, She Loves Me, Little Shop Of Horrors, Souvenir, A Woman Before A Glass, The Clean House, Noises Of , The Baker's Wife, The Hunchback Of Notre Dame, Funny Girl, Fiddler, Once Upon A Mattress, Side By Side by Sondheim and many more. On Broadway Naz played opposite Anthony Quinn in ZORBA, which won her critical acclaim across the United States and Canada. Also on Broadway, she was thrilled to be a part of the world premiere of Anna Karenina The Musical at Circle in the Square. Naz is also very proud to be a part of Michael Feinstein's Great American Songbook Vocal Competition, as a mentor and coach for the Midwest Region. She teaches voice and acting privately and Broadway Master Classes for high school students and professionals. And for you anime' followers, Naz is the voice of the wicked Queen Beryl on the cult cartoon Sailor Moon. Naz is a proud member of Actors Equity & SAG.
Hugh Maguire was last seen at Performance Network in Time Stands Still and The Seafarer. Most recently, he played the title role in Ebenezer at the Tipping Point Theatre, where he also appeared in Proof and The Importance of Being Earnest. He performed in 70, Girls, 70, The Haunting of Hill House, and Mary Stuart at The Meadow Brook Theatre. He played Dad in Leaving Iowa at Williamston Theatre and was in A Streetcar Named Desire and Growing Pretty at The Purple Rose. At the Jewish Ensemble Theatre, Hugh's been in The Diary of Anne Frank and New Jerusalem. His TV credits include a recurring role on Cheers and a series lead on the CBS sitcom, Live-In. He's guest starred on Wings, LA Law, Dallas, Growing Pains, Martin, Alien Nation, Knots Landing, and others. He's been featured in the films, The Double, Conviction, Butterfly Effect: Revelation, and others.
Sandra Birch has been a professional actress for thirty-four years. At Williamston Theatre she played Eleanor of Aquitaine in The Lion in Winter. This fall she played Sara in The Sisters Rosensweig at JET. She is the recipient of three Detroit Free Press Best Acting Awards and a Wilde Award for her nearly twenty years as a Resident Artist and Voice and Movement teacher at The Purple Rose Theatre Co. She has done numerous commercials, voice overs and CBC radio dramas both here and in her adopted home of Canada (Toronto, Vancouver). When not acting she teaches Voice and Movement to the next generation of talented Michigan actors.
Rounding out the cast is Bryan Lark in the role of Trip Wyeth. His recent credits include Reasons To Be Pretty, August: Osage County, and When The Rain Stops Falling at the Ringwald Theatre in Ferndale. He's also a resident company member at GoComedy! Improv Theater in Ferndale, where he's appeared in RoboCop: The Musical and Kim Carney's The Opal Show, and directed several shows including the Wilde Award-winning one-acts White Elephant and Wirelessless.
Jon Robin Baitz's (Playwright) plays include The Film Society, The Substance of Fire, The End of the Day, Three Hotels, A Fair Country (Pulitzer Prize finalist 1996), Mizlansky/Zilinsky, Ten Unknowns and The Paris Letter, as well as a version of Hedda Gabler that appeared on Broadway in 2001. He is the creator of Brothers & Sisters, a television series that ran for five seasons on ABC until 2011. Other television work includes PBS's version of Three Hotels, for which he won the Humanitas Prize, and episodes of The West Wing and Alias. He is the author of two screenplays: the film script for The Substance of Fire (1996) and People I Know
(2002). Baitz is a founding member of Naked Angels theater company, and on the faculties of the MFA programs at The New School for Drama and Stony Brook Southampton. Other Desert Cities won the Outer Critics Circle Award in 2011.
David Wolber (Director) became the Artistic Director at Performance Network Theatre in 2007. At the Network, he has directed "County Line" (recipient of Edgerton New American Play Award), "Good People," "Brill," "Dead Man's Shoes" (Best New Script - Wilde Award 2012, and a co-production with Williamston Theatre) "The War Since Eve" (Best New Script 2011- Wilde Award), "Sonia Flew" (a co-production with the Jewish Ensemble Theatre), "Christmas Carol'd," "The Blonde, The Brunette and the Vengeful Redhead" (Best Local Play - AnnArbor.com 2009), "Exits and Entrances," "Souvenir" (co-director in a co-production with Boarshead Theatre), "The Clean House," "A Doll's House," "Language Lessons" (Best New Play - Ann Arbor News 2007), "The Stillness Between Breaths" (Best New Play - Oakland Press), "Necessary Targets" by Eve Ensler, "The White Rose" and more. As an actor, David has performed at the Network in "Retreat From Moscow," "A Life in the Theatre, Take Me Out," "The Home Team" (Favorite Male Performer-Comedy - Wilde Award), "The Spirit House," "The Maiden's Prayer," and "Three Days of Rain" (Best Actor - Ann Arbor News, Best Ensemble Awards - Oakland Press) among others, as well as "A Streetcar Named Desire" (Outstanding Ensemble Performance - Oakland Press) for Chimera. He has performed with the JET, Detroit Repertory Theatre and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland. David is a member of Actors' Equity Association and Americans for the Arts, and has served on several committees for The Arts Alliance of Washtenaw County, the National New Play Network, the Cultural Alliance of Southeast Michigan, and the Michigan Equity Theatre Alliance.
Other Desert Cities by Jon Robin Baitz runs at Performance Network from June 12 - July 20, 2014. Regular tickets are $22 - $41 with discounts for students, seniors, children under the age of 16, and military and can be purchased online at performancenetwork.org or by calling the box office at 734-663-0681.