The Theatre Group at SBCC presents Other Desert Cities
October 12-29, 2016
The Theatre Group at SBCC will continue the 16/17 season with the compelling drama, OTHER DESERT CITIES by Jon Robin Baitz, directed by R. Michael Gros, October 12-29, 2016 in the Garvin Theatre
Brooke Wyeth returns home to Palm Springs after a six-year absence to celebrate Christmas with her parents, her brother, and her aunt. Brooke announces that she is about to publish a memoir dredging up a pivotal and tragic event in the family’s history—a wound they don’t want reopened.
High anxiety, of that virulent strain that erupts at Christmas when grown children visit their parents, is what fuels “Cities,” which is set in the desert-toned, tastelessly tasteful digs of Lyman and Polly Wyeth in Palm Springs, Calif., in 2004.
Lyman, a former movie star and former United States ambassador (during the presidency of a kindred spirit, Ronald Reagan), and Polly (who shares the behind-the-velvet-curtains powerfulness of Nancy Reagan) have chosen to live here in luxurious exile. There are aspects of their past they would rather not be reminded of, though it is hard to forget them with Silda Grauman, Polly’s sharp-tongued sister, in residence.
And now, as a special holiday treat, here comes Brooke, the Wyeth’s daughter, a depressive writer bearing the manuscript of a memoir about what Mom and Dad don’t want to remember. Though their youngest child, Trip, a television producer, is present, it’s their absent son — a Weather Underground-style political revolutionary who killed himself decades earlier — who looms largest at this gathering.
Mr. Baitz has always specialized in demon parents (The Substance of Fire, AFairCountry), and at first it appears that Lyman and Polly are but the latest additions to that gallery. But Mr. Baitz is looking deeper and more clearly into Mom and Dad than he did before. He’s not just giving the devils their due; he’s also suggesting that they may not be all that satanic. As lives are examined and secrets are revealed, the question becomes whether the family will ever be able to come to terms with its shadowy past.
“Power, passion, and superbly crafted palaver stippled with blowdarts of wit – this is what Baitz does best.” New York Magazine
OtherDesertCities opened at the beginning of 2011 Off-Broadway at Lincoln Center directed by Joe Mantello. By the end of that year it was a Broadway hit and nominated for a Best Play Tony Award.
Performances will be October 12-29, 2016, Thursday through Saturday @ 7:30pm, Sundays @ 2pm. Previews on October 12 & 13 @ 7:30pm. The Sunday, October 16, 2pm performance will be live-captioned for the hearing-impaired. All performances have the assisted listening system available and the Garvin Theatre is wheelchair accessible. Ticket prices are: Previews $18 general/$15 seniors/$10 students, Thursday evening and Sunday matinees $24 general/$19 seniors/$14 students, Friday and Saturday evening $26 general/$21 seniors/$17 students. The Garvin Theatre is located on the West Campus of Santa Barbara City College in the 900 block of Cliff Dr. Parking is free and near the Theatre. For information or reservations call the Garvin Theatre Box Office at
805-965-5935 or purchase tickets online at www.theatregroupsbcc.com.