Sinéad Cusack and Clare Higgins cast in The Old Vic’s UK Premiere of Jon Robin Baitz’s ‘Other Desert Cities’

Other Desert Cities

By Jon Robin Baitz

Directed by Lindsay Posner

Previews from 13 March 2014 | Press night: 24 March 2014

Sinéad Cusack and Clare Higgins are to play sisters Polly Wyeth and Silda Grauman respectively, in The Old Vic’s UK premiere of Jon Robin Baitz’s acclaimed play, Other Desert Cities, directed by Lindsay Posner. Further casting will be announced shortly.

Other Desert Cities is the first play in a new season of productions which will be presented in-the-round at The Old Vic. Reprising the transformation of The Old Vic’s auditorium into the round, first seen for the award- winning 2008 production of The Norman Conquests, this ambitious project is once more made possible by the generous support of CQS. The season of productions is supported for the fourth consecutive year by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Other Desert Cities, is a fierce and funny drama deftly exploring family politics, love, loss and redemption. Previewing from 13 March 2014 with a press night on 24 March.

Brooke Wyeth returns to the family home in Palm Springs for the first time in six years with some incendiary news for her Republican parents Polly and Lyman, her brother Trip and her recovering alcoholic aunt Silda. She is about to publish a memoir about her family, exposing a pivotal moment in their painful and explosive past, her actions threatening to push fractured family relations to a point beyond repair.

Other Desert Cities was first seen in 2010 at New York’s Lincoln Center, where it won the Outer Critics’ Circle Award for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play before enjoying even greater success on Broadway and gaining five nominations for the 2012 Tony Awards. Other Desert Cities was a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.




Sinéad Cusack plays Polly Wyeth. This role marks her return to The Old Vic stage, having last appeared in The Bridge Project ( Other recent stage work includes Juno and the Paycock (National and Abbey Theatre), Rock ’n’ Roll (Royal Court, West End and Broadway; 2008 Tony Award nomination for Featured Actress) and The Birds (Gate, Dublin). Sinéad has also played many leading roles for the RSC, including Antony and Cleopatra, Macbeth, The Taming of the Shrew, The Merchant of Venice, As You Like It, Measure for Measure, Much Ado About Nothing (also on Broadway; Tony Award nomination for Best Actress) and Cyrano de Bergerac. Our Lady of Sligo (National, Broadway) saw her win The Evening Standard and Critics’ Circle awards for Best Actress, as well as an Olivier nomination.

On screen, Sinéad has starred in The Wrath of the Titans, Eastern Promises, V for Vendetta and I Capture the Castle, and is well known to British television audiences for her roles in A Room With A View (ITV), the final series of Poirot (ITV) and North and South (BBC). In 2014 she will appear in the film Eliza Graves, alongside Michael Caine, Ben Kingsley and Kate Beckinsale, as well as the new BBC drama 37 Days, with Ian McDiarmid and Tim Pigott-Smith.


Clare Higgins plays Silda Grauman. Clare is the recipient of three Olivier Awards; for Hecuba at the Donmar; Sweet Bird of Youth at the National; and Vincent in Brixton also at the National, West End and on Broadway (for which she also won The Evening Standard and Critics’ Circle awards for ‘Best Actress’, and received a Tony nomination). Other notable theatre roles include Jocasta in Jonathan Kent’s Oedipus opposite Ralph Fiennes (National), Gertrude in Hamlet with Rory Kinnear (National), L in Death of a Salesman (Lyric), The Night of the Iguana (Lyric), The Fever (Royal Court), Phaedra (Donmar) and Mrs Klein (Almeida). Film work includes the cult films Hellraiser and Hellraiser II, as well as I Give It A Year, The Golden Compass and The Libertine. Television audiences will know Clare from recent roles such as Mrs. Barlett in the third series of Downton Abbey, Lady Claudine in Parade’s End and Joyce in The Syndicate.


Jon Robin Baitz is a celebrated American playwright, screenwriter and television producer and is perhaps best known in this country for his internationally successful TV series, Brothers and Sisters, about a wealthy Californian family who grapple with love, loss and living in the modern age. His plays include: The Substance of Fire, A Fair Country, and Ten Unknowns, (all produced at The Lincoln Centre), The Paris Letter, The Film Society, Mizlansky/Zilinsky and Three Hotels as well as a new version of Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler. He is the recipient of a Rockefeller Foundation Award, a Drama Desk Award, is a Guggenheim Fellow, and a Pulitzer Prize finalist for A Fair Country. He won a Humanitas Award for the PBS-TV’s American Playhouse, with his version of Three Hotels, which he also directed.


Lindsay Posner’s most recent directing credit at The Old Vic was Terence Rattigan’s The Winslow Boy starring Henry Goodman, which transferred to New York in October where it enjoyed a critically acclaimed run at the Roundabout Theatre, starring Roger Rees. His productions of Noises Off (The Old Vic and West End) toured theatres across the UK and Ireland from March to July 2013. Lindsay was Associate Director at the Royal Court Theatre from 1987 to 1992 where his production of Death and The Maiden won two Olivier Awards. His many other theatre credits include Butley starring Dominic West (Duchess), An Ideal Husband starring Samantha Bond and Rachael Stirling (Vaudeville), Fool For Love starring Juliette Lewis (Apollo), Arthur Miller’s A View From The Bridge starring Ken Stott (Duke of York’s, nominated for four Olivier Awards), Carousel (Savoy), Fiddler on The Roof (Sheffield and Savoy), House of Games, Tom and Viv, The Hypochondriac, Romance (Almeida), A Life in the Theatre (Apollo), the world premiere of Power by Nick Dear, Tartuffe (National), Twelfth Night, Volpone, The Taming of the Shrew and The Rivals (RSC), Abigail’s Party (Menier Chocolate Factory) and Uncle Vanya (Vaudeville).


Other Desert Cities

Jon Robin Baitz

Thu 13 March – Sat 24 May

Previews: Thu 13 March – Sat 22 March | Press Performance: Mon 24 March at 7pm

Mon–Sat 7.30pm; Wed & Sat 2.30pm

[Please note there are no matinee performances on Saturday 15 March or Wednesday 19 March].

Captioned Performances: 29 April 7.30pm and 10 May 2.30pm | Audio Described Performance: 13 May 7.30pm

TICKETS: £10, £16, £21, £29, £43, £53

Box Office: 0844 871 7628 | | The Old Vic, The Cut, London SE1 8NB

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