Mantello Will Direct Baitz's Other Desert Cities Off-Broadway

News   Mantello Will Direct Baitz's Other Desert Cities Off-Broadway
Jon Robin Baitz's Love and Mercy, which would have marked his Broadway debut as a playwright, will now be seen Off-Broadway under the title Other Desert Cities.

"Brothers and Sisters" writer and creator Jon Robin Baitz.
"Brothers and Sisters" writer and creator Jon Robin Baitz.

The New York Times reports that Tony Award winner Joe Mantello, Baitz's former partner, will direct the production, which will begin previews Dec. 16 at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater with an official opening scheduled for Jan. 13, 2011.

About the switch from Broadway to Off-Broadway, Baitz told the Times, "It felt like one less pressure to put on myself, instead of trying to work in a very specific arena which seems to be dictated by the presence of stars. I wasn't sure if that was an added pressure that I wanted. And getting away from the West Coast pressure of show business, I didn't want to be indentured to that again."

The new play, according to previous press notes, "takes place over the course of a Christmas Eve in Palm Springs. [Its] central characters are a one-time matinee idol turned politician, his screenwriter wife and their novelist daughter."

The play "explores the limits of parental love and filial duty, our myth-making culture, and the claim we have on our own biography when it involves the invasion of privacy of others."

Casting has yet to be announced. 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," "The West Wing" and "Alias."

Mantello's directing credits include Pal Joey, November, The Ritz, Blackbird, The Odd Couple, Glengarry Glen Ross (Tony nomination), Laugh Whore, Assassins (Tony Award), Wicked, Take Me Out (Tony Award), Design for Living, Love! Valour! Compassion! (Tony nomination), Proposals, The Mineola Twins, Corpus Christi, among others. He also received a Tony nomination for his performance in Angels in America. Mantello is a member of Naked Angels and an associate artist at Roundabout Theatre Company.

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