‘Other Desert Cities’ Another Tennessee Premiere for MCTC

Other Desert Cities MCTC 1Music City Theatre Company is at it again with another Tennessee premiere of a hot-out-of-New-York play. Earlier this year it was Venus in Furtwice – and now Bradley Moore and colleagues are tackling Other Desert Cities beginning Thursday.

Jon Robin Baitz’s play was a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and won the 2012 Drama League Award for Distinguished PlayJudith Light won the 2012 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in the Broadway production of the show.

“When I read Other Desert Cities for the first time, it sat with me; I couldn’t get the script out of my brain,” Moore says. “There was something so universal about the message of the piece. I really loved how Jon Robert Baitz was able to capture the true dynamics of a family so perfectly through a complexity of emotions. After all, that is what any definition of family is: complex.”

The play is set on Christmas Eve 2004 in Palm Springs, Calif. The well-heeled family of Polly and Lyman Wyeth gather to roast chestnuts and each other: Their daughter Brooke, a successful author of one novel, is coming home after six years, a divorce and a nervous breakdown; Polly’s sister, Silda, arrives fresh from rehab with her tart tongue intact. Polly and Silda wrote film comedies for MGM in the 1970s (Polly and Lyman’s boy Trip is part of the biz now as a TV producer) while former film actor Lyman saw his star rise when kindred spirit Ronald Reagan appointed him to an ambassadorship.

Brooke has her own special gift for the rest of the family – she reveals she’s ready to publish a tell-all memoir that details the suicide of her brother Henry. His involvement in Weather Underground-like radical activities is an understandably still-sore spot decades later.

The cast includes Carrie Jennings as Brooke, Terry Occhiogrosso as Polly, Rod Streng as Lyman, Memory Strong as Silda and Michael Adcock as Trip.

Other Desert Cities is MCTC’s seventh show since Moore founded it in 2008. Its stated mission is “to provide the Nashville community thought-provoking, socially relevant work with a strong vision” – so far, so good on fulfilling that mission.

Take a look at some scenes from the play as performed in Los Angeles at the Mark Taper Forum in 2012:



Thursday, Nov. 14 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 15 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 16 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 20 7:30 p.m. Pay-What-You-Can
Thursday, Nov. 21 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 22 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 23 7:30 p.m.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for all performances – Full cash bar and snacks available at every performance


Vibe Nightclub 1713 Church St.


$12 – available at the door or in advance by calling (615) 756-7330; Music City Theatre Company accepts cash and all major credit cards.


Visit www.facebook.com/musiccitytheatrecompany or email Moore at bradleymoore81@aol.com.

*Photo by Bradley Moore and Michael Adcock of (L to R) Rod Streng, Terry Occhiogrosso, Carrie Jennings, Memory Strong and Michael Adcock courtesy Music City Theatre Company.

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About Evans Donnell

Evans Donnell is the chief theater, film and opera critic as well as co-founder of ArtsNash. He wrote reviews and features about theater, opera and classical music for The Tennessean from 2002 to 2011. He was the theater, film and opera critic for ArtNowNashville.com from 2011 to 2012. Donnell has also contributed to The Sondheim Review, Back Stage, The City Paper (Nashville), the Nashville Banner, The (Bowling Green, Ky.) Daily News and several other publications since beginning his professional journalism career in 1985 with The Lebanon (Tenn.) Democrat. He was selected as a fellow for the 2004 National Critics Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, and for National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) arts journalism institutes for theater and musical theater at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism in 2006 and classical music and opera at the Columbia University School of Journalism in 2009. He has also been an actor (member of Actors Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA), founding and running AthensSouth Theatre from 1996 to 2001 and appearing in Milos Forman's "The People vs Larry Flynt" among other credits. Donnell is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association (www.americantheatrecritics.org).