REHEARSALS ARE UNDERWAY FOR JON ROBIN BAITZ’S “OTHER DESERT CITES” AT CENTER THEATRE GROUP’S MARK TAPER FORUM Featuring Jeannie Berlin, Robert Foxworth, Robin Weigert, Michael Weston and JoBeth Williams
Previews Begin November 28, 2012; Opening Is December 9; Continues Through January 6, 2013
(L to R) Director Robert Egan, cast member Jeannie Berlin (obsucred,) Taper production manager Jonathan Lee, cast members Robert Foxworth, Robin Weigert, JoBeth Williams, playwright Jon Robin Batiz and cast member Michael Weston at rehearsal for âOther Desrt Cities. Photo by Craig Schwartz
Rehearsals have begun for Center Theatre Group’s production of the Tony-nominated “Other Desert Cities” by Jon Robin Baitz. The cast features performances by Jeannie Berlin, Robert Foxworth, Robin Weigert, Michael Weston and JoBeth Williams. Robert Egan directs the West Coast premiere which starts previews on November 28, 2012, opens December 9 and runs through January 6, 2013.
Set design for “Other Desert Cities” is by Takeshi Kata, costume design by Alex Jaeger, lighting design by Lap Chi Chu, sound design by Adam Phalen and original music by Karl Fredrik Lundeberg. Casting is by Erika Sellin, CSA. Production Stage Manager is James T. McDermott. “Other Desert Cities” tells the story of a once promising novelist who returns home after a six year absence to spend the holidays with her parents, her brother and her aunt.
When she announces that she is about to publish a memoir focusing on an explosive chapter in the family’s history, the reunion is thrown into turmoil.
Ben Brantley of The New York Times said that “Other Desert Cities” is “. . . the most richly enjoyable new play for grown-ups that New York has known in many a season . . . In his most fully realized play to date, Mr. Baitz makes sure our sympathies keep shifting among the members of the wounded family portrayed here. Every one of them emerges as selfish, loving, cruel, compassionate, irritating, charming and just possibly heroic.” Linda Winer of Newsday said that the play is “…a smart, juicy, gorgeously written family drama that knows individual psychology as keenly as it understands the world around it. …”
Jeannie Berlin (who plays Silda Grauman) recently appeared in the film “Margaret,” for which she received Best Supporting Actress nods from The New York Times’ A.O. Scott, the Village Voice 2011 Critics’ Poll, the N.Y. Film Critics Award and more. She is also known for the films “Sheila Levine” and “The Heartbreak Kid” (Golden Globe nomination), among others. She appeared on stage in “Power Plays” opposite Alan Arkin, and in “After the Night and the Music.”
Robert Foxworth (Lyman Wyeth) recently appeared as Henry Drummond in “Inherit the Wind,” at The Old Globe in San Diego, where he is an Associate Artist. On Broadway, he has appeared in “Twelve Angry Men,” “Ivanov,” “Judgment at Nuremberg,” “August: Osage County,” and more. He has starred and guest-starred in numerous series, including “Six Feet Under” and “Falcon Crest.” He is the voice of Ratchet in all three of the “Transformers” movies.
Michael Weston (Trip Wyeth) appeared off-Broadway in “Extinction” and “Snakebit,” as well as in “Dead End,” “Matchmaker” and “Johnny On The Spot,” all at Williamstown Theatre Festival. In Los Angeles, he was seen in “Waverly Gallery” at the Pasadena Playhouse. Recently he starred in the A&E mini-series “Coma.” His film credits include “State of Play,” “Garden State” and “The Last Kiss,” among others, and he has played recurring roles on the popular series’ “House,” “Six Feet Under” and “Scrubs.”
Robin Weigert (Brooke Wyeth) has appeared on and off-Broadway in numerous productions, receiving Drama Desk and Lucille Lortel award nominations for her work in “Madame Melville.” She recently played the eponymous Angel in Tony Kushner’s “Angels in America” at the Signature Theatre Company in NYC. She is known to TV audiences for the role of Calamity Jane in “Deadwood” and a recurring role in the FX series “Sons of Anarchy.” Her film work includes “The Good German,” “Things We Lost in the Fire,” “Fragments,” “My One and Only,” Charley Kaufman’s “Synecdoche, New York” and “The Private Lives of Pippa Lee,” as well as the “The Sessions.”
JoBeth Willams (Polly Wyeth) recently appeared in “Quality of Life” at the Geffen Playhouse. Notable films include “The Big Chill” and “Poltergeist,” as well as the television movies “Adam” and “Baby M,” both of which brought her Emmy and Golden Globe nominations.
CTG has presented five Jon Robin Baitz plays including “Dutch Landscape” (world premiere – 1988-1989 season), “The Substance of Fire” (1992-1993 season), “Three Hotels” (1994-1995 season) and “Ten Unknowns” directed by Robert Egan (2002-2003 season), all at the Taper, and the world premiere of “The Paris Letter” (2004-2005 season) at CTG’s Kirk Douglas Theatre. His other plays include “The Film Society,” “The End of the Day,” “A Fair Country,” “Mizlansky/Zilinsky” and a new version of Ibsen’s “Hedda Gabler” (for Broadway, starring Kate Burton). He is a Pulitzer Prize finalist for “A Fair Country” and a Guggenheim, NEA and American Academy of Arts & Letters Award winner.His screenplays include “The Substance of Fire” and “People I Know” starring Al Pacino, both for Miramax. He created the ABC-TV drama “Brothers & Sisters” in 2006, after writing an episode of “The West Wing” (“The Long Goodbye”).
Robert Egan is the Artistic Director/Producer of the acclaimed Ojai Playwrights Conference. Prior to Ojai he was the Producing Director of the Taper for 20 seasons, where he founded and produced 15 seasons of the New Work Festival and directed “Made in Bangkok,” “Closer,” “Hedda Gabler,” “Arcadia” and Jon Robin Baitz’s “Ten Unknowns,” among many others. He is also the Founder and President of RHEgan Productions LLC and Eye Street Media where he has conceived, written, produced and directed major live events and media celebrating Cure Autism Now, Operation Smile, LA Team Mentoring, Global Green USA and Homeboy Industries. Egan was recently named the Artistic Director/Producer of Watts Media, one of the nation’s leading companies in strategizing and creating live events and media for corporations and non-profits across the country.
Other directing and producing credits include major productions ranging from world premieres to Shakespeare at theatres across the country including in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and in London and Europe.
“Other Desert Cities” premiered at Lincoln Center Theater in December 2010 and played at the Booth Theatre on Broadway, October 2011 through June 2012, receiving a total of five Tony nominations.
Tickets for “Other Desert Cities” are available at www.CenterTheatreGroup.org, the CTG box office located at the Ahmanson Theatre, or by calling (213) 628-2772.