City Pulse

By Amelia Mularz

It’s pretty much the typical holiday scene in “Other Desert Cities” – that is, if your parents were once pals with Reagan, your brother is a reality series creator with a porn addiction, and your pot-smoking, free-loving aunt has come to stay.

The truth is, the only thing your family has in common with the play’s Wyeth clan is maybe a Christmas tree. The story, set in Palm Springs over the holidays, centers around an announcement from Brooke Wyeth (played by Rachel Griffiths of Brothers & Sisters). Fresh off a nervous breakdown, Brooke reveals plans to publish a tell-all memoir, exposing the family’s darkest secrets. You know, just the typical yuletide cheer.

I originally wanted to see the show last January, when it played Off Broadway at Lincoln Center Theatre. But, following rave reviews from The New York Times, the show sold out for the remainder of its run. Sadly, I spent multiple nights waiting in the standby line, hoping against all odds to score some cancellation tickets, only to leave empty handed each time. I’d then trudge over to the Whole Foods at Columbus Circle to drown my sorrows in the dessert buffet.

But for those of us who missed out before, the show is back, it’s now on Broadway, and yep, there are tickets available (fortunately for my waistline). It officially opened at the Booth Theatre, but I caught “Other Desert Cities” in previews recently. Sure, it’s been a long haul since January, but after seeing the show, I can say it was well worth the wait.

In fact, as I make plans to visit my family over Thanksgiving and Christmas, it seems so much more appropriate to see the show now. My family isn’t exactly fodder for a salacious memoir (our only scandal was once overstaying our welcome at an all-you-can-eat seafood joint), but there’s something in “Other Desert Cities” anyone can appreciate. We’re all members of a crazy cast we call family.

“Other Desert Cities” is at the Booth Theatre, 222 West 45th Street; tickets from $61.50.

Originally published November 2011
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