Seattle's ACT to Stage Other Desert Cities, Grey Gardens and Middletown

By Adam Hetrick
September 20, 2012

Seattle's A Contemporary Theatre will stage Jon Robin Baitz's politically charged family drama Other Desert Cities, the musical Grey Gardens and Will Eno's Middletown as part of its 2013 season.



A co-production with the 5th Avenue Theatre, Grey Gardens will launch the season March 16-May 26, 2013. The musical has a Tony-nominated score by Scott Frankel and Michael Korie and a book by Doug Wright. Kurt Beattie will direct the musical about the lives of East Hampton socialites Big and Little Edie Beale.

Katie Forgette's Assisted Living will make its Seattle debut April 19-May 12, 2013, under the direction of R. Hamilton Wright. Here's how it's billed: "Joe Taylor, a retired actor, moves into a prison-turned- elder-care facility shortly after the demise of Medicare and discovers a community of loveable, irascible inmates hell-bent on bucking the dehumanizing system in which they have landed. Together, this band of aging misfits rediscovers purpose and dignity in the face of a system mightily stacked against them."

Other Desert Cities, Baitz's Tony-nominated drama about a shamed Republican family that has its Christmas celebration derailed when their daughter returns home with an explosive tell-all memoir, will run May 31-June 30, 2013. Victor Pappas will direct.

Anita Montgomery will direct Gina Gionfriddo's Rapture, Blister, Burn, running July 12-Aug. 11, 2013. According to ACT, "When Catherine, a 40-something, single and highly successful academic returns to her hometown to take care of her ailing mother, she reconnects with her college roommate and best friend, Gwen, now a stay-at-home mother and housewife married to Catherine's old flame. Both women, coveting each other's choices, attempt to find the happiness and fulfillment they lack by travelling a very bumpy road not taken, with surprising and hilarious results."

Middletown, Eno's acclaimed drama about everytown America, will run Aug. 23-Sept. 22, under the direction of John Langs. Here's what ACT says: "In his whimsical, contemporary spin on Thornton Wilder's classic comedy drama, Our Town, Will Eno brings neighbor and stranger together, mining the metaphysical and the mundane in the everyday lives of the citizens of Middletown, aka everytown USA. At the heart of this sweet, disturbing, and immensely moving journey beats the tender, tenacious human struggle for connection and meaning in this mystery we call life. The fluid and poetic script delivers a beautiful look at the world we live in: 'Neither science nor religion has yet undone the wonder of the crying baby in air and light, grasping onto a finger.'"

As previously reported, the final production will be the American premiere of Alan Ayckbourn's Sugar Daddies, which the playwright will also direct, Oct. 4-Nov. 3, 2013. The play centers on "a naïve young student who rescues an old man dressed as Father Christmas from a hit-and-run driver and brings him back to the London flat she shares with her sister. As he showers her with gifts in a manner beyond polite gratitude and she accepts them in a way that begins to alter her personality, they embark on a dangerously Faustian game of mutual fantasy. They play roles in which no act can be taken at face value; no one is quite who they seem, and no good deed goes entirely unpunished."

For tickets, visit acttheatre.org. A.C.T. is located at 700 Union Street in Seattle.