OTHER DESERT CITIES

Will Geer's Theatricum Botanicum
Los Angeles

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Jon Robin Baitz’s funny, explosive and entertaining look at unruly family politics was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. At Theatricum, it will be a true family affair, featuring members of founder Will Geer’s own family. The manicured life of a conservative actor-turned-politician and his impeccable wife is upset when relatives arrive at their Palm Springs home for the holidays — including politically liberal daughter Brooke who’s about to publish a tell-all memoir.

Theatricum Botanicum has been named “One of the 50 Coolest Places in Los Angeles” by Buzz magazine, “One of Southern California’s most beguiling theater experiences” by Sunset magazine, and “Best Theater in the Woods” by the LA Weekly. The enchantment of a midsummer night at Theatricum Botanicum [makes it] crystal clear why audiences have been driving up into the hills since Theatricum’s maiden season way back in 1973. Summer Shakespeare doesn’t get any better than this,” writes StageSceneLA. Says Los Angeles magazine, “The amphitheater feels like a Lilliputian Hollywood Bowl, with pre-show picnics and puffy seat cushions, yet we were close enough to see the stitching on the performers costumes. Grab a blanket and a bottle and head for the hills.”

The amphitheater is terraced into the hillside, so audience members are advised to dress casually (warmly for evenings) and bring cushions for bench seating. Patrons are welcome to arrive early and picnic before a performance.

Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum, 1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga, CA 90290; $10-$38.50; (310) 455-3723; www.theatricum.com

Reviews

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"...director Mary Jo DuPrey builds a mounting tension in her cast that gets them through the slower bits, and they're persuasive not just as individuals but as a family."

"f you’re anything like me, you’ll want to see Other Desert Cities more than once, the first time for the thrill of discovery, the second (and beyond) for the chance to rediscover Baitz’s compelling cast of characters in a whole new light. I’ve now seen five productions, and though Theatricum Botanicum’s will hopefully not be the last, it’s one of the absolute best."

"A masterful piece of ensemble work… clever and funny dialogue."

"OTHER DESERT CITIES is a good story, with a great twist. It grabs your attention and pulls you in, particularly in the second act."

"Each principal manages to make a distinct and indelible impression – a clear tribute to their acting skills. Director Mary Jo DuPrey helms the production with a compassionate hand, allowing each character the space to shine."

"FOUR STARS… EXQUISITELY RENDERED… [director Mary Jo Duprey] heads straight for the souls of these characters, each of whom is utterly human, Her cast is stupendous."

"The play is utterly gripping, utterly fascinating. Other Desert Cities is a playwriting tour de force with fully-formed, three-dimensional characters that, when infused with life by excellent actors, can make the audience giddy with laughter and later make it lean forward in pin-drop moments of rapt attention."

"...the zingers flying around the stage are delivered with such wit and aplomb by the five actors, it’s a rousing experience to witness this production at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum."

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