Photo by Don Kellogg

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Other Desert Cities

I originally reviewed the December 2010 Lincoln Center Theatre production at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre and my review can be found here.  An instantly popular commodity, the play, by John Robin Baitz, almost immediately announced a Broadway transfer for the following year.

You'll have to read my original review for the baseline facts and circumstances.  What I will say at this re-visit to the property is that the Broadway transfer, now starring Rachel Griffiths in her Broadway debut (replacing Elizabeth Marvel) and Judith Light (replacing Linda Lavin) in addition to the prior cast of Stockard Channing, Stacy Keach and Thomas Sadoski.

The show's tension level is even higher than before.  What Joe Mantello has been able to extract is the tighten the plot around the primary family secret, bring out the true and most pertinent family opinions, angst, fears, and political differences.   Ms. Light, as Silda, brings what appears to be a more intentionally focused political bent to the role where as Ms. Lavin played a more broad foil to the family.  Ms. Griffiths dives into the emotionally charged role with aplomb.  It's no secret she has masterfully played these broken roles in the past (Brenda Chenoweth on Six Feet Under, and Sarah Walker on Brothers and Sisters).  The result is a fantastic family-focused drama permeated by mystery and deception that may leave the family teetering on the brink of destruction.

You'll just have to pay a visit to the Booth Theatre to find out how it all plays out somewhere in the desert near Palm Springs.