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'Other Desert Cities' A dysfunctional family has never been this much fun

Nicholas Hormann, Suzanne Ford, Ann Noble, not one big happy family
Suzanne Mapes Photography

'Other Desert Cities' a Pulitzer Prize 2012 finalist now playing at The International City Theatre in Long Beach


By Joan Alperin-Schwartz matter what your differences, they're with you for life...for good or for bad.

In the case of the Wyeth family, bad is certainly the operative word...The year is 2004 and George W. Bush has just been reelected. Wars are raging both in Iraq and Afghanistan But things couldn't be better in Palm Springs, where Mr. and Mrs. Wyeth live. Of course, that's all about to change.

Their daughter, Brooke (Ann Noble) , once a promising novelist, now an angry depressive, has decided to grace her parents Lyman, a former actor/former U.S.ambassador (Nicholas Hormann) and Polly (Suzanne Ford) with a visit. After all it is Christmas and what better time for a reunion than the holidays.

You see, Brooke has not seen her staunch Republican parents in over six years...Having a nervous breakdown and spending time in a psychiatric facility, might have had something to do with that.

Then there's brother, Trip (Blake Anthony Edwards) a reality t.v. producer, who just can't get any respect from his loved ones. You can't really blame the family...After all, Trip is a REALITY tv producer. But he's also a good guy, who just wants everyone to get a long, at least for one day.

The comic relief of this group is Aunt Silda (Eileen T'Kaye) who lives with Brooke and Lyman. Silda is funny, broke, and a full blown, alcoholic. Hey, no one's perfect.

Last, but certainly not least, are Brooke and Lyman Wyeth. I know I mentioned their political leanings, but they are also a couple with wealth, political influence and A-list connections that mean everything to them. A fate worse than death for these two, would be having anyone in their circle, think badly of them.

And that's exactly what will happen, if Brooke has her way. Seems daughter dearest has written, a soon to be published memoir, about her family's history/secrets, which includes the suicide of her underground revolutionary/terrorist/brother, Henry, decades ago. Brooke blames her parents for Henry's death and is about to let the world know it.

'Other Desert Cities' written by Jon Robin Baitz was a 2012 Pulizer Prize finalist and nominated for five Tony Awards. I certainly can see why.

It's absolutely wonderful...A funny, insightful, explosive, surprising, entertaining look at family dynamics and thanks to an amazing cast, a must see play and luckily, there's still time.

'Other Desert Cities' directed by caryn desal opened at The International City Theatre in Long Beach on June 6th and the remaining performances are...

8:00 pm...Thursday, June 26, Friday, June 27, Saturday, June 28

2:00 pm...Sunday, June 29th.

The International City Theatre, Long Beach Performing Arts Center is located at 300 East Ocean Blvd, Long Beach, CA 90802.

Tickets are: Thursday $42.00, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, $47.00.

For reservations, please call...562-436-4610 or go to

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