International City Theatre's OTHER DESERT CITIES Runs Now thru 6/29
The manicured life of an actor-turned-politician and his impeccable wife is upset when relatives arrive at their Palm Springs home for the holidays - including daughter Brooke who's about to publish a tell-all memoir. caryn desai [sic] directs Jon Robin Baitz's Other Desert Cities, opening tonight, June 6 at International City Theatre in the Long Beach Performing Arts Center.
Brooke Wyeth (Ann Noble), a once promising novelist, returns home after a six-year absence to celebrate Christmas with parents Lyman and Polly (Nicholas Hormann and Suzanne Ford), brother Trip (Blake Anthony Edwards) and Aunt Silda (Eileeen T'Kaye). Lyman and Polly are the seemingly-perfect upper middle class couple, replete with wealth, political influence and A-list connections, "living the dream" in Palm Springs. But 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.
As in all desert lands, mirage can transfix and trick the inhabitants. As the heat gives way, reality comes into sharp and unrelenting focus. Perception and reality grapple with love and mercy as old family wounds are opened, childhood memories are tested and the Wyeth clan learns that some secrets cannot stay buried forever.
"I wondered about the hubris in the act of writing about people who are actually living, and I thought so many people do this and so few people get to respond to it really," explained Baitz in an interview. "There are so many great memoirs and they're also absolutely unreliable in the fundamental sense. It came from my sense of trying to either expiate or make sense of my life as a writer up until now and the potential damage that I've been party to or done."
Other Desert Cities premiered at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater at Lincoln Center Theater before transferring to Broadway in 2011, and has since been performed at regional theaters around the country. It was the winner of the Drama League Award for Distinguished Play, was named Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play by the Outer Critics Circle, received five Tony nominations including Best Play and was a 2012 Pulitzer Prize finalist.
The play's title refers to a roadside sign on the eastbound I-10 that directs drivers to exit at Palm Springs, Calif., or head on to "other desert cities."
Set design for Other Desert Cities is by JR Bruce; lighting design is by Debra Garcia Lockwood; costume design is by Kim DeShazo; sound design is by Dave Mickey; props are by Patty and Gordon Briles; wigs are by Anthony Gagliardi; production stage manager is Henry Fernandez; and casting is by Michael Donovan Casting.
Director caryn desai is the producing artistic director for International City Theatre, where she has previously directed Red, Ghost-Writer, God of Carnage, The Old Settler, Loving Repeating...A Musical of Gertrude Stein, The Clean House, Bright Ideas and Backwards in High Heels among others.
Blake Anthony Edwards' theater credits include The Women of Lockerbie (Theatricum Botanicum), Richard III (A Noise Within), Othello and A Midsummer Night's Dream (Los Angeles Theatre Ensemble) and In On It (The Production Company - LA Weekly Award nominee).
Suzanne Ford's latest stage role was Goneril in King Lear at Pacific Resident Theatre where she has also been seen in Betrayal, Becky's New Car, Wild Boy and Sweet Thursday. Other local credits: the world premiere of Jon Pollono's Razorback at Rogue Machine, Sylvia at La Mirada, two world premieres at the Black Dahlia and The Tale of the Allergist's Wife at Laguna Playhouse.
Nicholas Hormann appeared on Broadway in The Visit, Love for Love, The Member of the Wedding, St. Joan and Emily Mann's Execution of Justice; Off Broadway at Manhattan Theatre Club, New York Shakespeare Festival, Playwrights Horizons and Second Stage; and in over a hundred plays at theaters across the country including American Conservatory Theatre, the Old Globe, La Jolla Playhouse, Mark Taper Forum, Ahmanson, McCarter, Williamstown, Long Wharf and South Coast Repertory.
Ann Noble was recently seen in Belfry (Malibu Playhouse), An Ideal Husband (Sierra Madre Playhouse) and The Laramie Project-Ten Years Later (LA Gay & Lesbian Center). A company member at Antaeus, she has performed in The Liar, The Crucible (LA Weekly Award nomination), Macbeth, Peace in Our Time and The Malcontent. Other L.A. theater credits include plays at South Coast Rep, the Odyssey, Rogue Machine and Road Theatre Company.
Eileen T'Kaye returns to ICT where she appeared in Dead Man's Cell Phone, Threepenny Opera, Cabaret, Twentieth Century, Black Comedy and Death Defying Acts. Other credits: Wing on Wing and The Rehearsal (L.A. Philharmonic at Disney Hall), A Parallelogram (Mark Taper Forum), Coney Island Christmas (Geffen Playhouse), Collected Stories (CV Rep), The Government Inspector (Theatre @ Boston Court), The Tale of the Allergist's Wife (La Mirada Theatre), The Fantasticks (Reprise!), Don't Talk to the Actors (Laguna Playhouse) and They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (Greenway Court).
International City Theatre is Long Beach's Resident Professional Theater at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center and the recipient of the Margaret Harford Award from the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle for "Sustained Excellence in Theater."
Other Desert Cities runs Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m., June 6 through June 29. Two preview performances take place on Wednesday, June 4 and Thursday, June 5 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $42 on Thursdays and $47 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, except opening night (June 6) for which tickets are $52 and include a post-performance reception with the actors. International City Theatre is located in the Long Beach Performing Arts Center at 300 E. Ocean Blvd. in Long Beach, CA 90802. For reservations and information, call the ICT Box Office at 562-436-4610 or www.InternationalCityTheatre.org.