2004 and Other Desert Cities

A Brief Look Back in Time – 2004
2004 Summer Olympics logo.svg  

Jon Robin Baitz’s Other Desert Cities, though seemly contemporary in its language, characters, thematic messages, and familial relationships, is a play deeply encapsulated in the archives of American politics and Old Hollywood glamour.  The play reinserts audiences into a regime in which President George Bush was in power, the 2004 Olympics in Athens recently concluded, and “the war on terror” was gaining momentum.   Politically, it precedes the death of President Ronald Reagan, the Democratic era of President Obama, and the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

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Palm Springs

Coachella Valley California MapPalm Springs

Palm Springs, California is where the elite Wyeth family resides in Jon Robin Baitz’s play Other Desert Cities.  Located approximately 110 miles southeast of Los Angeles and 140 miles northeast of San Diego, Palm Springs lies on the western edge of the Coachella Valley within the Colorado Desert.  At 487 feet above sea level, Palm Springs is bordered by the Little San Bernardino Mountains to the north, the Santa Rosa Mountains on the south, and the San Jacinto Mountains to the west.  To the east of Palm Springs are several other desert cities including Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Desert Hot Springs, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, La Quinta, and Indio.

Palm Springs averages more than 350 days of sunny weather.  During the summer months, temperatures can reach upwards of 100°F.  During the winter months, Palm Springs weather generates highs of 70° and lows of 40°F.  In 2004, the population in Palm Springs was estimated at 44,752 and doubled during the winter season.

In Jon Robin Baitz script, the play opens on Christmas Eve Morning in 2004.  In Palm Springs on December 24, 2004, the weather was reported as a high of 64°F and a low of 43°F. 

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Other Desert Cities Memoir Photo


a :  a narrative composed from personal experience b :  autobiography —usually used in plural c :  biography
“Memoir.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 17 Jan. 2015. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/memoir>.

In Jon Robin Baitz Other Desert Cities, the subject of “memoir” is the crux of the characters’ dilemma.  In the play, questions quickly arise in which family members’ loyalty, appreciation, respect, and decency is belligerently and unapologetically cross-examined.

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Jon Robin Baitz – playwright

Jon Robin Baitz plays include Mizlansky/Zlinsky or “schmucks,” The Film Society, The Substance of Fire, The End of the Day, Three Hotels, A Fair Country, (an adaptation of) Hedda Gabler, Ten Unknowns and The Paris Letter.  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”).  Other Desert Cities was nominated for Lortel, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards, winning the latter.  Source Continue reading →

Other Desert Cities Play Title

Set in Palm Springs California during the Christmas season in 2004, the title of playwright’s Jon Robin Baitz’s thought-provoking play, Other Desert Cities, refers to both a popular California interstate sign and a distant desert war zone.  Baitz’s suggested duality of the play’s location permits one to consider familial responsibilities and political allegiances. Continue reading →

Other Desert Cities

Other Desert Cities

Returning to Palm Springs, California, to celebrate the holidays with her family for the first time in years, Brooke Wyeth reveals plans to publish a memoir. As she threatens to disclose the most painful moment in the family’s history, Brooke’s parents must come to terms with their choices. Through battles over perception and fact, Brooke soon discovers that even secrets have secrets of their own.

Welcome to Triad Stage’s dramaturgical site for Other Desert Cities by Jon Robin Baitz.  This site has been created for actors and audience perusal and will be updated throughout the rehearsal process.  Please click the links below to learn more.

Check back frequently to learn more exciting facts about the production.  Performances are February 11 – March 1, 2015.  We look forward to seeing you at Triad Stage at the Hanesbrands theater in Winston-Salem! Continue reading →