Broadway's Other Desert Cities Fades Into the Palm Springs Sunset June 17
By Adam Hetrick
A rocky holiday comes to a conclusion June 17, when Jon Robin Baitz's Tony Award-nominated play Other Desert Cities – about a Palm Springs Republican family guarding an emotional secret – ends its Broadway run at the Booth Theatre.
The acclaimed drama debuted in an extended, sold-out run Off-Broadway at Lincoln Center Theater's Mitzi E. Newhouse in 2010 and transferred to Broadway Oct. 12, 2011, with most of its original cast intact. Tony-winning director Joe Mantello directed the production, which opened to raves on Broadway Nov. 3.
Other Desert Cities, a combination of explosive dramatic revelations and acidic comic barbs, marked playwright Baitz's Broadway debut. When it concludes its run, it will have played 25 previews and 261 regular performances.
Representatives for LCT said 25 productions of Other Desert Cities are planned across the country for the coming season. A previously reported film adaptation is also in the works.
The cast of Other Desert Cities currently features Tony Award winner Stockard Channing (Six Degrees of Separation, The House of Blue Leaves) as Polly Wyeth, Golden Globe winner Stacy Keach (Indians, "Hemingway") as Lyman Wyeth, Tony Award winner Judith Light (Lombardi, "Ugly Betty") as Silda Grauman, Tony Award nominee Thomas Sadoski (Reasons to Be Pretty, "The Newsroom") as Trip Wyeth and Elizabeth Marvel ("True Grit," Top Girls) as Brooke Wyeth.
Light earned the 2012 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play. Other Desert Cities also received a 2012 Tony Award nomination for Best Play. Channing was also nominated for her work in Other Desert Cities, along with lighting designer Kenneth Posner and scenic designer John Lee Beatty.
Here's how LCT bills the play: "In Other Desert Cities Brooke Wyeth (Marvel), a once promising novelist, returns home after a six year absence to celebrate Christmas in Palm Springs with her parents, former members of the Reagan inner-circle (Channing and Keach), her brother (Sadoski) and her aunt (Light). 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 and the Wyeths are both bound together and torn apart as they struggle to come to terms with their past."
The Broadway production featured Lincoln Center Theater's original design team: John Lee Beatty (sets), David Zinn (costumes), Kenneth Posner (lighting), Jill BC DuBoff (sound) and Justin Ellington (original music).
Baitz's plays include The Paris Letter, Ten Unknowns, Mizlansky/Zilinsky or Schmucks, A Fair Country, The Film Society, The Substance of Fire, The End of the Day and Three Hotels. He has also written the screenplays for "The Substance of Fire" and "People I Know" as well as for TV's "Brothers & Sisters" (which he created), "The West Wing" and "Alias."
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