Old Vic to Present the U.K. Premiere of Jon Robin Baitz's Other Desert Cities in Reconfigured In-the-Round Theatre

By Mark Shenton
07 Jan 2014

Jon Robin Baitz
Jon Robin Baitz
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

London's Old Vic Theatre is to present the U.K. premiere of Jon Robin Baitz's Other Desert Cities, beginning performances March 13 prior to an official opening March 24, for a run that is booking through May 24. It will also be the first in a season of productions to be presented in-the-round at the Old Vic, reprising a configuration previously employed for a season that included The Norman Conquests that subsequently transferred to Broadway in 2008.

Other Desert Cities premiered at Off-Broadway's Mitzi Newhouse Theater under the auspices of Lincoln Center in 2011, before transferring to Broadway's Booth Theatre later that year, where the play was Tony-nominated for Best Play and a Pulitzer finalist. It was originally directed by Joe Mantello. This new production is being directed by Lindsay Posner.

The play is described in press materials as "a fierce and funny drama deftly exploring family politics, love, loss and redemption." In the play, 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.

Baitz's previous plays include The Substance of Fire, A Fair Country, Ten Unknowns, The Paris Letter, The Film Society, Mizlansky/Zilansky and Three Hotels. He is best known in the U.K. for his TV series "Brothers and Sisters."



Posner previously directed 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 production of Noises Off, which originated at the Old Vic before transferring to the West End, toured theatres across the U.K. and Ireland from March to July 2013. He was associate director at the Royal Court Theatre from 1987-1992, where his production of Death and The Maiden transferred from the Theatre Upstairs to the West End and won two Olivier Awards.

His other West End credits include productions of Butley, An Ideal Husband, Fool for Love, A View from the Bridge, Carousel, Fiddler on the Roof, A Life in the Theatre and Uncle Vanya. At the National he has directed Tartuffe and Power and for the RSC he has directed Twelfth Night, Volpone, The Taming of the Shrew and The Rivals. At the Almeida, he has directed House of Games, Tom and Viv, The Hypochondriac and Romance.

The production will be designed by Robert Innes Hopkins, with lighting by Peter Mumford and music by Michael Bruce. Casting is still to be announced.

To book tickets, contact the box office on 0844 871 7628 or visit www.oldvictheatre.com.