Walnut Street Theatre Continues 205th Season with OTHER DESERT CITIES, 1/14-3/2
Walnut Street Theatre continues its landmark 205th season with the acclaimed new drama OTHER DESERT CITIES. Written by Jon Robin Baitz and directed by Kate Galvin, the play begins previews on January 14th, opens on January 22nd and runs through March 2nd on the WST Mainstage.
OTHER DESERT CITIES is the story of a once promising novelist, who returns home after a six year absence to celebrate Christmas in Palm Springs with her parents, former leading Republicans, and her eccentric liberal aunt. When the novelist announces 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 the family struggles to come to terms with their past. In this family, secrets are everything. Audiences will be on The Edge of their seats as the family mystery unfolds.
OTHER DESERT CITIES had its Off-Broadway premiere in January, 2011 at Lincoln Center Theatre's Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater. During its limited engagement run it was named Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play by the Outer Critics Circle. The play opened on Broadway in November 2011 and was hailed by The New York Times as "the best new play on Broadway." OTHER DESERT CITIES was a 2012 Tony nominee for Best Play and a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Jon Robin Baitz is a Pulitzer Prize, Drama Desk and Tony Award nominated playwright. His credits include The Substance of Fire, A Fair Country, and Ten Unknowns produced at Lincoln Center, as well as The Paris Letter, The Film Society, Mizlansky/Zilinsky and Three Hotels. His adaptation of Isben's Hedda Gabler was produced on Broadway in 2001. For television, Baitz created the popular ABC drama Brothers & Sisters, and has written for West Wing and Alias. He has also appeared in front of the camera in films including One Fine Day and on television including Smash.
OTHER DESERT CITIES marks Kate Galvin's Mainstage directorial debut. Galvin's directing credits include Walnut's popular Independence Studio 3 productions, Proof and Vincent in Brixton. Additionally, she has directed for 11th Hour Theatre Company, Annenberg Center, TriArts Sharon Playhouse and Flat Rock Playhouse. In 2003 Galvin completed the Walnut's Apprenticeship Program as the casting and literary apprentice. She went on to serve as the Walnut's casting director for seven years before directing in the Studio on 3. Galvin is a proud to move to the Mainstage for this production.
In the middle of sunny Palm Springs, California lies a mid-century modern house with a fireplace heated by family tensions and warmed with love. Walnut veteran Scenic Designer Todd Edward Ivins returns to the Walnut, having designed for Mainstage productions including LES MISERABLES, Man of La Mancha and Of Mice and Men. Joining Ivins are award-winning Costume Designer Colleen Grady (In the Heights, Elf), award-winning Lighting Designer Thom Weaver (Vincent in Brixton, Doubt) and award-winning Sound Designer Christopher Colucci (The Mousetrap, Amadeus).
The cast is full of Philadelphia's finest actors. Krista Apple plays Brook Wyeth, the novelist in the midst of exposing dangerous truths about her family. Apple has been seen in Walnut's Independence Studio on 3 production of Proof. Matteo Scammell makes his Walnut debut as Brooke's bright and funny younger brother. Walnut audiences will remember Greg Wood from his numerous performances at the Walnut, including God of Carnage and Amadeus. Wood plays Brooke's oak-like father Lyman, a man with unwavering love for his family. Full of tough love strengthened by her intelligence and masked by her elegance, Lyman's wife Polly is played by Susan WildeR. Wilder has been seen on the Walnut's stage in shows including Born Yesterday and The Constant Wife. Brooke's unconventional Aunt Silda is played by Tony nominee Ann Crumb. Crumb has performed on Broadway in Aspects of Love, Chess, LES MISERABLES and Anna Karenina, as well as numerous productions in London's West End. This marks Crumb's second performance at the Walnut, as she performed in The Birthday Party with the Drama Guild in 1975.