Other Desert Cities

Other Desert Cities Other Desert Cities Other Desert Cities Other Desert Cities Other Desert Cities Other Desert Cities Other Desert Cities Other Desert Cities
Photos by Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo

By Jon Robin Baitz
Directed by Scott Edmiston


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Run time: approx 2 hrs and 30 min,
One 15-minute intermission

“You’re not likely to experience a more riveting drama this season.” – Boston Globe

January 11 – February 9, 2013

Other Desert Cities tells the story of a family where secrets are currency and everyone is rich. Brooke Wyeth, a once promising young novelist, returns home after a six-year absence to celebrate Christmas in Palm Springs with her parents, former members of Reagan’s inner circle, plus her brother and her aunt. The festivities are short-lived, however, when Brooke announces that she is about to publish a memoir dredging up a pivotal and tragic event in the family's history - a wound that her parents don't want reopened.

Featuring Nancy E. Carroll, Anne Gottlieb,
Munson Hicks, Karen MacDonald
and Christopher M. Smith


Cast | Production Staff | Author



NANCY E. CARROLL* (Silda Grauman) returns to SpeakEasy where she appeared in The Savannah Disputation, The Women, Company, A Man Of No Importance. She spent the past year touring with the Druid Theatre of Galway appearing as Mammy in The Cripple of Inishmaan (US/Ireland) and the Old Woman in Big Maggie (Ireland). Her other credits include: Broadway: Present Laughter; Off-Broadway: Balancing Act; Regional: Good People, Luck of the Irish, Prelude to a Kiss, Brendan, She Loves Me, The Rose Tattoo, Dead End (Huntington Theatre); Our Town, She Loves Me (Williamstown); Trad (Tir Na); Breath of Life, Doubt, Happy Days, My Old Lady, Collected Stories (Gloucester Stage); The Year of Magical Thinking, The Glass Menagerie (Lyric Stage); The Clean House, Frozen, Sweeney Todd, Kindertransport (New Repertory Theatre); Bailegangaire (Súgán Theatre); Homebody/Kabul (Boston Theatre Works); Humble Boy, Hamlet, The Winter’s Tale (Publick Theatre); Auntie and Me (Merrimack Repertory); The Pain & The Itch (Company One); Buried Child, The Unexpected Man (Nora Theatre). She received Elliot Norton Awards for Miss Erickson in Present Laughter, the Woman in Brendan and Mommo in Bailegangaire.


MUNSON HICKS* (Lyman Wyeth) is happy to return to Boston, having previously appeared in twenty productions at the Huntington. He has acted in a dozen Broadway productions, most recently in August Osage County. Off-Broadway, Mr. Hicks co-starred in Neil Simon’s London Suite and Ayckbourn’s Communicating Doors. He has been featured at resident theaters around the country, most recently performing in Heroes at Portland Stage. Other credits include Death of a Salesman in Rochester and Arthur Miller’s final play, Resurrection Blues, in Philadelphia. He has performed such roles as Dr. Strauss in Spinning Into Butter at Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre, Bernard in Arcadia at The Pittsburgh Public Theater, Trigorin in The Seagull, and Tesman in Hedda Gabler at the Guthrie Theatre, Bri in Joe Egg at the Philadelphia Drama Guild, and Charles in Blithe Spirit at Center Stage in Baltimore. Mr. Hicks’ film and television credits include a recurring role on Ed; The Goodbye Girl, The Sentinel, Against the Law, Law and Order and Mildred Pierce. His professional directing experience includes Betty’s Summer Vacation in Pittsburgh, The Early Girl at Circle Repertory Theatre Off-Broadway, as well as both Candide and Candida at the Goodman Theatre among many others. He began his professional career as an original member of The Proposition in Boston and is a past recipient of Boston’s prestigious Otis Skinner award.


ANNE GOTTLIEB* (Brooke Wyeth) is thrilled to return to SpeakEasy for her fourth time. Other productions include The Women, In the Next Room or (the vibrator play), and the world premiere of The Wrestling Patient, which her company 40Magnolias Productions created and then co-produced in collaboration with SpeakEasy and Boston Playwrights’ Theatre. Recent appearances include Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune at the New Repertory Theatre, Futurity at the ART, My Name is Asher Lev at the Lyric Stage, Not Enough Air at The Nora Theatre. She is the co-author of Anam Cara: Two Women Fall in the Ancient Tale of Gilgamesh which premiered at the Roy Hart International Centre in France. She is the recipient of the 2011 Elliot Norton Award and the 2011 Independent Reviewers of New England Award (IRNE) for her work in Frankie and Johnny and the vibrator play. Anne is a teacher for the Michael Chekhov Association and a committed student of the work. She is a resident scholar in Collaborative Process and Acting at Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis University. Anne resides and works in both Boston and New York.


KAREN MACDONALD* (Polly Wyeth) SpeakEasy: The Drowsy Chaperone. Most recently she was seen in Good People at the Huntington. Last season in Boston, she was seen in Coriolanus, Cupcake, Long Day’s Journey into Night and Superior Donuts. Other regional and local credits include Before I Leave You, Bus Stop, All My Sons and A Civil War Christmas (Huntington); The Color of Rose (ArtsEmerson); Two Wives in India (Boston Playwrights’ Theatre); The Blonde, The Brunette, and the Vengeful Redhead (Merrimack Repertory Theatre); boom (New Repertory Theatre); All’s Well That Ends Well, Hamlet, and Twelfth Night (Commonwealth Shakespeare Company); Third (Portland Stage); and productions at Hartford Stage, Berkshire Theatre Festival, and the Vineyard Playhouse. A founding company member of the American Repertory Theater, she appeared in 70 productions, including The Sea Gull, Endgame and Mother Courage. Nationally she has worked extensively, from Philadelphia’s Wilma Theatre to Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Directing credits include An Ideal Husband and The Woman in Black (Gloucester Stage) and Dressed Up! Wigged Out! (Boston Playwrights’ Theatre). The recipient of several Elliot Norton and IRNE Awards for her performances, Ms. MacDonald received both the Robert Brustein Award for Sustained Achievement in the Theatre and the Norton Prize for Sustained Excellence in 2010. She teaches at Harvard University and was the 2010-2011 Monan Fellow at Boston College. She graduated from the College of Fine Arts at Boston University and is a Boston native.


CHRISTOPHER M. SMITH* (Trip Wyeth) is pleased to be making his SpeakEasy debut. New York credits include Tennis in Nablus (NY Premiere, Stageworks/Hudson), Eurydice (Walking the Dog). Los Angeles credits: The Pavilion (West Coast Premiere), Orange Flower Water, Antigone, True West, The Cherry Orchard and several independent films including Wart, The Golden Age, and Something Blue (Best Feature - Sonoma International Film Festival). Christopher is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association. He lives in New York City.

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Production Staff

KATIE AILINGER (Production Stage Manager)

PAUL DAIGNEAULT (Producing Artistic Director) Since founding SpeakEasy in 1992, Paul has produced over 100 Boston Premieres. SpeakEasy directing highlights include: Xanadu; Next to Normal; Nine; Body Awareness; The Great American Trailer Park Musical; [title of show]; The Savannah Disputation; Jerry Springer -The Opera; The New Century; Some Men; Zanna, Don’t!; Parade (2008 Elliot Norton Award – Outstanding Director, Midsize Company); Almost, Maine; Caroline, or Change; Take Me Out; Company; A Man of No Importance (co-production Súgán); Bat Boy: The Musical (2003 Elliot Norton Award – Outstanding Director, Small Company); Passion; A New Brain; Violet; Songs for a New World; Floyd Collins; Jeffrey; and Love! Valour! Compassion! Regional credits: Grand Hotel and Nine (The Boston Conservatory and Cincinnati Conservatory of Music); Rent, City of Angels and Sunday in the Park with George (The Boston Conservatory); and Into the Woods, Urinetown and Blue Window (Boston College). Paul is also on the faculty at The Boston Conservatory where he teaches musical theater and directing. In 2007, Paul was honored with the Boston College Arts Council’s Alumni Award for Distinguished Achievement. Last season Paul was again back at Boston College where he served as the 2011-2012 Rev. J. Donald Monan S.J. Professor in Theatre Arts. Beyond the theater Paul serves on the Boards of the Barbara C. Harris Camp and Conference Center and the ICU Patient & Family Advisory Council at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

DEWEY DELLAY (Original Music/Sound Design) is very happy to be back at SpeakEasy and work with these talented actors, designers, and staff members. Some of his past credits include: an Elliot Norton award for Outstanding Design for his music and design on The Women (Speakeasy Stage), 9 Parts of Desire, and Miss Witherspoon (Lyric Stage Company); an IRNE for best sound design on Five by Tenn (SpeakEasy Stage). He also was nominated for an IRNE for History Boys (SpeakEasy Stage). Dewey is now composing music for the television show Our America with Lisa Ling shown on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).

LAUREN DUFFY (Properties Supervisor) SpeakEasy: The Motherf**ker With the Hat, Adding Machine: A Musical. Other select credits: Little Shop of Horrors; A Christmas Story; afterlife: a ghost story; Frankie and Johnny and the Claire de Lune; and Kite Runner (New Repertory Theatre). Company One debut: special effects for Bengal Tiger and the Baghdad Zoo. Lauren has served as a scenic artist and properties coordinator for Boston Children’s Theatre as well as properties coordinator for Central Square Theatre, Stoneham Theatre, and The Barnstormers Theatre. Lauren is also Charge Artist for the Des Moines Metro Opera in Iowa where she will be returning for her third season in June.

SCOTT EDMISTON (Director) joyfully returns to SpeakEasy where he has directed Next Fall, In the Next Room (or the vibrator play), The History Boys, The Light in the Piazza, Reckless, The Women, Last Sunday in June, and The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told. In 2009, he was honored with SpeakEasy’s Outstanding Artist Award. He has directed more than 60 productions across Greater Boston at the Lyric Stage Company, A.R.T., Huntington Theatre Company, and New Rep, among others. Highlights: Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Time Stands Still, A Marvelous Party, My Name is Asher Lev, Happy Days, Private Lives, and Betrayal. His Boston premiere of Nixon in China was hailed as “deeply touching” by The New York Times; and he received critical acclaim for SpeakEasy’s Five by Tenn, his original compilation of lost Tennessee Williams plays. He has received three Elliot Norton Awards, two IRNE Awards, and the 2011 Norton Prize for Sustained Excellence. Scott teaches dramatic literature at Brandeis University where he is Director of the Office of the Arts. His chapter “Acting Misbegotten” was recently published in Critical Insight: Eugene O’Neill by Salem Press.

JANIE E. HOWLAND (Scenic Design)

AMANDA OSTROW (Wardrobe Supervisor) SpeakEasy: Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Motherfu**er with the Hat and Xanadu. International Touring Credit: The Aluminum Show. Local credits: A Christmas Carol (Hanover Theater); Gross Indecency (Bad Habit Productions); Crimes of the Heart and Carnival (Gloucester Stage Company); The Understudy, Nicholas Nickleby, Blithe Spirit, Lady Day, Groundswell, Dead Man’s Cell Phone, Kiss Me, Kate, Grey Gardens, Speech & Debate, The Mystery of Irma Vep, November, Souvenir (Lyric Stage); Hairspray, The Music Man, Into the Woods, La Cage Aux Folles, Mame, Hello, Dolly! (Reagle Music Theatre); Medea, Hamlet (Actor’s Shakespeare Project); Not Enough Air, The Cherry Orchard, Buried Child (Nora Theatre Company); Design For Living (The Publick Theatre). Amanda received her BA in Media Studies and Business at The University of Southern Maine and is an EMC in Stage Management.

KAREN PERLOW (Lighting Design) happily returns to SpeakEasy, the home of some of her favorite productions. Recent productions include: MacBeth & Two Gentlemen of Verona with Actors’ Shakespeare Project and 33 Variations at Lyric Stage. Karen’s work has also been seen at New Repertory Theater, ART Zero Arrow, Central Square Theater, Boston Playwrights’ Theater, Boston Midsummer Opera, and Shakespeare & Company. Karen teaches Lighting Design at MIT and is proud to serve as the treasurer of the Theater Community Benevolent Fund. She is the recipient of three IRNE Awards for Best Lighting Design. www.karenperlowlightdesign.com

CHARLES SCHOONMAKER** (Costume Design) returns to SpeakEasy after designing costumes for The Light in the Piazza, Nine, and The Divine Sister. Other area credits include God of Carnage and A Long and Winding Road (The Huntington Theatre Company); Tarzan (North Shore Music Theatre); Grey Gardens and Thirty Three Variations (The Lyric Stage Company), Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Race, and The Clean House (The New Rep). Credits in the Berkshires include the Berkshire Theatre Festival, The Chester Theatre Company and seven seasons as the resident costume designer at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival. Other credits in dance include The Richmond Ballet, The Atlanta Ballet, The Nashville Ballet, The Limon Company, and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. Television credits include Another World, All My Children, and As the World Turns, for which Mr. Schoonmaker has earned four daytime Emmy Awards. He teaches costume design at Bennington College.

MICHELE TEEVAN (Prouction Assistant) SpeakEasy: All About Election Eve (SM); Next to Normal (PA); Red (PA); The Divine Sister (PA). Boston: The Nutcracker (ASM) with Northeast Youth Ballet; The Death of Tintagiles(SM) and Cruel Botany (SM) with imaginary beasts; The Fakus: A Noir (SM) with Centastage; Romeo and Juliet (SM) with the Happy Medium Theatre Company; Little Shop of Horrors (PA) with New Reparatory Theatre. Michele is also the Associate Production Manager with SpeakEasy as well as the Assistant to the Director of Business Operations for Office of the Arts at Emerson College. She graduated from Emerson College with her BFA in Stage and Production Management in 2011.

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JON ROBIN BAITZ's plays include The Film Society, The Substance of Fire, The End of the Day, Three Hotels, A Fair Country (Pulitzer Prize finalist 1996), Mizlansky/Zilinsky, Ten Unknowns, and The Paris Letter, as well as a version of Hedda Gabler (Broadway 2001). He created “Brothers & Sisters,” the TV series which ran for five seasons, until 2011. Other TV work includes PBS’ version of “Three Hotels,” for which he won the Humanitas Award, and episodes of “The West Wing” and “Alias.” He is the author of two screenplays: the film script for “The Substance of Fire” (1996) and “People I know” (2002). He is a founding member of Naked Angels Theatre Company, and on the faculties of the MFA programs at The New School for Drama, and SUNY Stony Brook/ Southampton. His play Other Desert Cities won the Outer Critics Circle Award in 2011.

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*Member of Actors' Equity Association (AEA), the union of professional actors and stage managers in the United States.

**Member of United Scenic Artists, Local USA-829

JAN/FEB 2013

JAN 6 7 8 9 10 11
8:00 PM
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14 15 16
7:30 PM
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Out & About
4:00 PM
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Talkback with the Cast
21 22 23
7:30 PM
7:30 PM
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4:00 PM
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3:00 PM
Spirituality & the Arts Talkback
28 29 30
7:30 PM
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Inside SpeakEasy
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Inside SpeakEasy
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Out & About - JAN 18: Join the cast after the performance for a special post-show party!

Talkback with the Cast - JAN 20: Post-show discussion with the artists from Other Desert Cities.

Spirituality & the Arts Talkback - JAN 27: Post show discussion of the larger spiritual issues raised by the production led by Rabbi Howard Berman and Reverend Pamela Werntz of the Emmannuel Center.

Inside SpeakEasy - FEB 1 & 3: Post-show series about the evolution of a theatrical production, focusing on the Rehearsal process for Other Desert Cities. Takes place immediately after the performance each day.

Jon Robin Baitz Anne Gottlieb Munson Hicks Scott Edmiston Michele Teevan Scenic Design by Janie E. Howland Anne Gottlieb


Catching Baitz - Other Desert Cities director Scott Edmiston examines the life and career of playwright Jon Robin Baitz.

Journey to the Desert - Walt McGough investigates how Jon Robin Baitz found inspiration in the most unlikely of places.

Father of the Family - Actor Munson Hicks returns to Boston to play Lyman Wyeth in Other Desert Cities.

"I Love a Rebel" - Director Scott Edmiston on what makes Other Desert Cities hilarious and heart-breaking.

Up & Coming - Production Associate Michele Teevan on her SpeakEasy experiences and performing for the President.

Behind the Scenes: - Scenic Designer Janie E. Howland on her design process and the little details that make all the difference.

Taking Risks: - Anne Gottlieb talks about the challenges and rewards of playing Brooke Wyeth.

Press Features

  • Dig Boston - January 15, 2013
    It's like Arrested Development with more politics. Two seats, please.
    Read the article online>>


  • Boston Globe - January 15, 2013
    A family's history, mirroring a nation's

    "A first-rate...production, directed with fluid assurance by Scott Edmiston...MacDonald delivers a magnificent performance as the louder-than-life Polly...You’re not likely to experience a more riveting drama this season."
    Read the full review online>>

  • Boston Phoenix - January 22, 2013
    Other Desert Cities is a worthy destination

    "Baitz's plays are always fiery and smart, with a fierce moral center...Scott Edmiston's staging for SpeakEasy Stage Company is as sparkling and emotionally truthful as the play, the smackdown between Karen MacDonald's frosted-granite Polly and Anne Gottlieb's equally stubborn but more fragile Brooke as tender as it is unrelenting."
    Read the full review online>>

  • South Shore Critic - January 15, 2013
    SpeakEasy's "Other Desert Cities": Other Hung-up Wyeths

    "While the play itself is extraordinarily involving, it’s the acting on view which makes this production a terrific piece of theater...Each one of them gets at least one great moment in the spotlight, but, under Edmiston’s intensely focused direction, it’s as an impeccable ensemble that this cast really shines."
    Read the full review online>>

  • Frank Avruch, Boston's Man About Town - January 14, 2013

    "This is theatre at its best. Don't wait too long for tickets. this one is headed for a sell out!"
    Read the full review online>>

  • Berkshire Fine Arts - January 14, 2013
    Poignant Other Desert Cities At SpeakEasy

    "This is an outstanding production that should not be missed."
    Read the full review online>>