Thursday, April 11, 2013

Other Desert Cities
The Space Theatre: 3/29 – 4/28

     The Denver Center Theatre Company’s production of “Other Desert Cities” stuns!
       Playwright Jon Robin Baitz has written one of the best contemporary dramas to have been encountered by this reviewer in a very long time. Although the playwright has seemingly created Act One as a hard ball from political left field Act Two reveals family secrets that humanize its right wing characters. 
     It’s a play about a daughter’s return home to Palm Springs after a breakdown due to a beloved brother’s suicide. It seems that she's found her mental bearings by writing a play that’s a scathing expose full of shame and blame for her parents.   
     Director Kent Thompson has cast the play well and given it the leisurely pacing needed to allows the characters’ stories to unfold naturally and Baitz’s astoundingly well written dialogue to pop!
     Although one might wish for a bit more luminosity at final curtain in light of a revelation late in the play the affectionately drawn performance by Kathleen McCall as Brooke Wyeth the depressed daughter is stunning.
        With his portrayal of Lyman Wyeth the curmudgeonly patriarch, Michael Hartman delivers some smashing professional work enhanced with that inimitable gravel voice Denver audiences have come to love. 
        Polly, the unflinchingly acid-tongued matriarch of this clan is given a brilliant portrayal by Lauren Klein. The quips with which the playwright illuminates this character allow her to be as self revelatory as she is acerbically funny.
     Tracy Shaffer is a complete delight as Silda Grauman, Polly’s alcoholic sister, who once partnered with her in the writing of screenplays. John Patrick Hayden turns in a fine performance as Trip Wyeth that is by turns self pitying for being ignored and all whirring gears calculating his place in the inheritance simultaneously. James Kronzer’s superbly appointed set and the very fine lighting design by York Kennedy enhance the production.
      One of the very best productions to have been mounted by The Denver Center Theatre Company this season!

Single tickets for OTHER DESERT CITIES start at $35 (non-SCFD) and also are available for $10 (SCFD 10 for $10 program) and are on sale now.  To purchase, call Denver Center Ticket Services at 303.893.4100.  For groups of 10 or more, please call 303.446.4829.  TTY (for Deaf and hard-of-hearing patrons): 303.893.9582.  Tickets also may be purchased at the Denver Center Ticket Office, located in the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex lobby.  Buy and print online at  Student rush $10 tickets are available one hour prior to curtain with a valid student ID subject to availability.  Senior and military rush tickets are available one hour prior to curtain, subject to availability. No children under four will be admitted to any theatre.

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