The Edmond Sun

Arts & Entertainment

May 9, 2014

Award-winning play begins next week at Carpenter Square Theatre

OKLA. CITY — Carpenter Square Theatre continues its 30th Anniversary Season with “Other Desert Cities,” an award-winning comedy-drama by Jon Robin Baitz. The story about a family with a long-kept secret plays May 16-June 7 at 800 W. Main in downtown Oklahoma City.

“Other Desert Cities” was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2012, and garnered the 2011 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play in 2011.  Earlier in 1996, playwright Baitz was one of three finalists for the Pulitzer Prize for his semi-autobiographical play “A Fair Country.”

Set in 2004 during the Christmas holidays, “Other Desert Cities” is a family reunion of sorts, and the tension is palpable, as Baitz’s characters are both funny and intense. Brooke Wyeth, a once promising novelist, joins her family in Palm Springs after a six-year absence. Now retired, her father was once a movie star and later a U.S. Ambassador during the Reagan presidency, and her mother and aunt co-wrote a series of successful films similar to the Gidget movies of the 1960s.  Her brother is still in the Hollywood game, and produces a reality-style courtroom show.  Conflict erupts when Brooke announces the imminent publication of her memoir, which revisits a family incident that has never been fully resolved, and one that her parents would like to keep buried. In short, “Other Desert Cities” is a funny, but emotionally charged story about a family coming to terms with long-held secrets.

Paula Sullivan stars as the prodigal daughter Brooke.

She is joined by Angie Duke and Terry Veal as her parents, Lyman and Silda Wyeth. Lilli Bassett is her sharp-tongued Aunt Silda, and Chad A. Baker portrays her baby brother Trip. Kenneth Benton directs the ensemble of actors with Bob Cross as stage manager. Ben Hall serves as the set designer, Rhonda Clark is the costume designer, and Jay C. Schardt is the lighting designer for the production.

Show times spanning four weekends are: 8 p.m. May 16-17, 23-24; 7:30 p.m. May 29, 8 p.m. May 30-31 and 2 p.m. June 1; 7:30 p.m. June 5 and 8 p.m. June 6-7. Reservations are recommended.

“Other Desert Cities” is supported in part by the Oklahoma Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts, and Allied Arts. Steve and Maggie Dixon and Continental Resources are Season Sponsors. Larry and Leah Westmoreland are Cast Sponsors.

Regular adult tickets are $20 with discounts available for seniors, military and groups of 10 or more. Student rush tickets are  $5. “Other Desert Cities” is rated PG-13 for strong language. For more information and reservations, call the Carpenter Square Theatre box office at 232-6500 or visit online at carpentersquare.com.

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