OTHER DESERT CITIES: Resources for the press

by Jon Robin Baitz
directed by John McCluggage
Sept. 22-Oct. 23, 2016.
Show times: Thurs.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Sun. at 2 p.m.
Download high-res publicity photos. Scroll to the bottom of the page for info on past shows.
[image: Lauren Tothero and Jeff Kramer]

Brooke (Lauren Tothero) tries to preserve the relationship with her father, Lyman (Jeff Kramer). Photo by Taylor Sanders.

SAN JOSE, CA (Aug. 29, 2016) – It’s Christmas Eve morning, 2004. Politics are polarized in the U.S., and especially so in one affluent Palm Springs home, where the Wyeth family has gathered for the holidays.

Seasonal cheer quickly dissolves when daughter Brooke announces she’s publishing a memoir that dredges up a tragic event from the family’s past, a wound no one else wants reopened. Soon, ideological differences, all-but-forgotten slights and painful memories become near-lethal weapons in a war of wit and words that threatens to shatter the entire family.

This fall, Jon Robin Baitz’s compelling drama Other Desert Cities comes to City Lights Theater Company’s intimate stage, helmed by veteran director John McCluggage. Performances are Sept. 22-Oct. 23 at 529 S. Second St. in San Jose’s SoFA arts district. For details and tickets, go to cltc.org or call 408-295-4200.

Other Desert Cities, first seen as a staged reading at the Ojai Playwrights Conference in 2010, debuted on Broadway in 2011. There, its cast included Judith Light, who won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play; and Stockard Channing, nominated for Best Actress in a Play. Other Desert Cities was also nominated for Best Play, and, in 2012, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

“All family reunions should be this satisfying,” pronounced the New York Times‘ Ben Brantley, naming the production a Critics’ Pick.

The City Lights production is led by John McCluggage, directing here for the first time. McCluggage was Associate Artistic Director at San Jose Repertory Theatre from 1989 to 2006, founded Red Ladder Theatre Company in 1992, and now produces and directs ShakesBEERience, a quarterly, free, informal staged reading held at Café Stritch in San Jose. He has more than 30 years of experience as a director, actor and teaching artist.

Cast: Lauren Tothero (Brooke Wyeth), Mary Gibboney (Polly Wyeth), Jeff Kramer (Lyman Wyeth), Karen DeHart (Silda Grauman) and Sean Okuniewicz (Trip Wyeth)

Designers: Ron Gasparinetti (Scenic), Amy Zsadanyi-Yale (Costumes), Nick Kumamoto (Lighting), George Psarras (Sound Design), Miranda Whipple (Props).

Sponsors and Supporters: These include The Shubert Foundation, Silicon Valley Creates, Applied Materials Foundation, the City of San Jose Office of Cultural Affairs, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and many other individuals, corporations, and foundations.

City Lights’ 2016-17 season—the company’s 34th—continues with the touching comedy Calendar Girls by Tim Firth and the darkly comic thriller Ideation by Aaron Loeb. Kit Wilder’s world-premiere adaptation Frankenstein opens next spring, with Gina Gionfriddo’s witty Rapture, Blister, Burn following. The Goth-rock musical Lizzie rounds out the season in the summer of 2017.


WHAT: Christmas Eve cheer turns into a war of wit and words when daughter Brooke announces she’s publishing a tell-all memoir that dredges up a family secret.

Sept. 22-Oct. 23, 2016
Pay What You Can Night: Thursday, Sept. 22, 8 p.m.
$19 Preview Night: Friday, Sept. 23, 8 p.m.
Opening Night: Saturday, Sept. 24, 8 p.m.
Showtimes: Thursday-Saturday, 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. No performance on Sept. 25.

City Lights Theater Company, 529 S. Second St., San Jose, CA 95112

Regular tickets are $19-$39, with discounts for seniors, students/educators, and groups (10+). (There is a $2 surcharge for phone and in-person purchases.) Tickets for closing weekend are increased by $2.

For tickets or more information, go to cltc.org or call 408-295-4200. The theater is wheelchair-accessible.

For press passes or more information, contact City Lights marketing director Rebecca Wallace at rebecca@cltc.org or 408-295-4200. High-res photos can be downloaded at bit.ly/desertcities.

Press resources for past City Lights shows