FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 18, 2013
Enthralling Family Drama at its Finest â€“ OTHER DESERT CITIES opens January 17 at Asolo Repertory Theatre
â€œAll family reunions should be this satisfying.â€ â€“ The New York Times
â€œNot many plays these days unfold as temptingly as does Jon Robin Baitz's cunningly compassionate Other Desert Cities.â€ â€“ The Washington Post
(SARASOTA, December 18, 2013) â€” The politically divided and emotionally stunted Wyeth family puts the â€œfunâ€ in dysfunctional in Jon Robin Baitzâ€™s OTHER DESERT CITIES. Previews for this ferocious production will be held January 15 â€“ 16, opening night will be on January 17 at 8pm, and the show will run through February 27. FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training Director/Associate Artistic Director of Asolo Rep Greg Leaming will be at the helm of this five-time 2012 Tony Award-nominated production. OTHER DESERT CITIES, a 2012 Pulitzer Prize Finalist, had its Off Broadway premiere in January 2011 and transferred to Broadway in November 2011.
Former actor-turned-ambassador, Republican Party bigwig Lyman Wyeth and his wife, Polly, live a picturesque life in their very own affluent exile â€“ the Palm Springs Desert. When their daughter, left-winged Brooke, returns home during Christmas of 2004 for the first time in six years, she reveals that she has written a tell-all memoir that discloses the familyâ€™s controversial past, including one very painful incident. This shocking announcement sends the Wyeth family down an emotional spiral where they are forced to revisit and ultimately heal their wounds from the past. Pollyâ€™s recovering alcoholic sister, Silda, and Brookeâ€™s TV producer brother, Trip, complete this holiday family reunion.
"Jon Robin Baitzâ€™s extraordinary play charts how politics can tear apart a family, and this family is a kind of emblem for America itself. It is painful, hilarious and profound,â€ said Michael Donald Edwards, Producing Artistic Director of Asolo Rep.
Baitz is one of America's most celebrated playwrights. The Drama Desk Award winner's other works include A Fair Country, The Substance of Fire, Ten Unknowns, Three Hotels, The Paris Letter, and Mizlansky/Zilinsky.
OTHER DESERT CITIES is the third show in the second season of Asolo Repâ€™s American Character Project and continues its concentration on the American Family. In Jon Robin Baitzâ€™s Broadway debut, the Wyeth family's ups and downs vividly mirror the issues that challenge so many American families.
â€œIn what in many ways is Baitzâ€™s most American play, he has woven a very complex series of relationships in the Wyeth family,â€ said Director Greg Leaming. â€œItâ€™s a very raw, very honest, very funny play â€“ smart, bitter, scathing, really one of this authorâ€™s best works. OTHER DESERT CITIES is a portrait of a family that is very unique and uniquely American!â€
(In order of appearance)
J. Kenneth Campbell*
*Members of Actorsâ€™ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.
SPECIAL PUBLIC PROGRAMMING
Discussion Series: Connecting Great Artists to Great Audiences
Share an intimate discussion on the themes of the play following Tuesday night performances.
- January 28, February 11* and February 25 following the 7:30pm performance
*This talkback will also feature special guest Jay Handelman of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Meet the Actors:
After select Sunday matinee performances, join the cast for a special moderated talkback.
- February 23 following the 2pm performance
A half hour before select performances, speak with Asolo Rep artists and staff to gain insight into the playâ€™s development and explore its themes.
- Thursday, February 6 at 7:30pm prior to 8pm performance
SELECTED ARTIST BIOS
(In Alphabetical Order)
J. KENNETH CAMPBELL* (Lyman Wyeth) has enjoyed a 46 year career in the theatrical arena. Mr. Campbell made his Broadway debut in the musical Cyrano with Christopher Plummer. His other Broadway credits include Biloxi Blues, The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial, The Freedom of the City, A Man for All Seasons, and Macbeth at Lincoln Center. He is also a veteran of 30 films from big budget epics such as The Abyss to small independents like Uleeâ€™s Gold. He was a contract player on Another World, All My Children, and Guiding Light. He has logged hundreds of hours of primetime TV series, mini-series, and TV movies. He is a combat decorated Vietnam veteran.
LAUREN KLEIN* (Polly Wyeth) Broadway: Other Desert Cities, Lost in Yonkers, Broken Glass. Off-Broadway: Mr. Goldwyn, Death Defying Acts, After the Fall. Regional: Death of a Salesman, Other Desert Cities, Plainsong, Eventide (Denver Center); Big Love (ATL, Berkeley Rep, Long Wharf, BAM); Peopleâ€™s Temple (Berkeley Rep); The Last Night at Ballyhoo (Cleveland Play House); Denial (Pope). National tours: Dirty Dancing, Broadway Bound, Iâ€™m Not Rappaport. Television: Law & Order, Tales of the Darkside. Film: My One and Only, Then She Found Me, A Price Above Rubies. Video: Red Dead Redemption. Awards: Connecticut CriticsÊ¼ Circle Best Actress for Big Love, Carbonell Best Actress for Denial. Training: MFA from ACT, San Francisco. BFA from College of Santa Fe.
LUCY LAVELY* (Brooke Wyeth) graduated with her B.A. in theatre from the University of Notre Dame. She is completing her Master of Fine Arts from FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training. Sarasota credits include Juliet, Romeo & Juliet; Babe, Crimes of the Heart; Feste, Twelfth Night; and Callie, Stop Kiss. Member of the Screen Actors Guild.
GREG LEAMING (Director, FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training; Associate Artistic Director, Asolo Repertory Theatre; Director, Other Desert Cities) Asolo Rep: The Gameâ€™s Afoot; God of Carnage; Anything to Declare?; Boeing, Boeing; Hearts; The Imaginary Invalid; The Playâ€™s The Thing; and Jason Wellsâ€™ Men of Tortuga. For the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training: Pericles, Blue Window, Murder by Poe, The Mystery Play, Two Gentleman of Verona, and Twelfth Night. He was the curator of Asolo Repâ€™s Unplugged new play series. Other credits include New Yorkâ€™s Primary Stages as well as Hartford Stage Company, Long Wharf Theatre, Portland Stage Company Contemporary American Theatre Festival, American Stage, Banyan Theater Company, Shakespeare Sedona, Southwest Shakespeare, Stage West, and Philadelphia Drama Guild. Mr. Leaming has devoted much time to developing new plays with organizations including New Dramatists, New York Theatre Workshop, New York Stage and Film, Cape Cod Theatre Project, The Gathering at Bigfork and Theatre of the First Amendment.
CAROLYN MICHEL* (Silda Grauman) Last season: The Grand Duchess Olga Katrina, You Canâ€™t Take It With You; Inspector Goring, The Gameâ€™s Afoot. Asolo Rep credits include Yachna in Yentl, Saunders in Fallen Angels, Broadway Bound, Hobsonâ€™s Choice, Morning Star, Deathtrap, The Tale of the Allergistâ€™s Wife, Enchanted April, String of Pearls, The Smell of the Kill, A Midsummer Nightâ€™s Dream, The Millionairess, Iâ€™m Not Rappaport, The Corn Is Green, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Over the Tavern, Communicating Doors, The Sisters Rosensweig, The Immigrant, How the Other Half Loves, The Constant Wife, and The Devilâ€™s Disciple. Florida Studio Theatre roles include five one-person plays: Family Secrets, Ann Landers in The Lady with All the Answers; Rose in The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe; Dorothy Parker in One Foot in Scarsdale; the dog, in the title role of Sylvia; Lillian Hellman in Cakewalk; Donâ€™t Dress for Dinner; The Triumph of Love; The Learned Ladies. Off-Broadway: Sold to the Movies. Broadway: opposite Sid Caesar in Sid Caesar & Company.
BENJAMIN WILLIAMSON (Trip Wyeth) is a graduate of Binghamton University with a B.A. in honors for Acting and Directing. FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training credits includes Romeo, Romeo & Juliet; Antonio, Twelfth Night; KJ, The Aliens; and Eugene Marchbanks, Candida.
Tickets for OTHER DESERT CITIES and the entire 2013-14 Asolo Repertory Theatre season are on sale now. Tickets for OTHER DESERT CITIES start at $21. To purchase tickets, call 941.351.8000 or 800.361.8388, visit www.asolorep.org, or visit the Asolo Repertory Theatre Box Office, located in the lobby of the theatre. Asolo Repertory Theatre is located at 5555 North Tamiami Trail in the Florida State University Center for the Performing Arts. Box office hours are Monday 10am â€“ 4pm, Tuesday â€“ Saturday 10am â€“ 8pm, and Sunday 10am â€“ 2pm. The box office closes at 5pm when there are no evening performances and phone lines close one hour prior to the start of any performance. Season subscription packages are also available online and by visiting or calling the box office.
Asolo Rep is able to bring OTHER DESERT CITIES to the stage thanks to the generosity of its sponsors. Corporate sponsors are Sun Hydraulics Corporation, CafÃ© L Europe and 107.9 WSRZ. Asolo Repâ€™s season sponsors are Florida State University, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Designing Women Boutique, Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, and The Womanâ€™s Exchange, Inc. Asolo Repâ€™s artistic programs are paid for in part by Sarasota County Tourist Development Tax revenues. Asolo Rep is sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture.