By Jesse Bertel

“Other Desert Cities,” a play written by Jon Robin Baitz that delves into themes of family secrets and the consequences of revealing them, opens at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 14, in the Studio Theatre at Suze’s Prescott Center for the Arts (PCA), 208 N. Marina St.

The play, directed by Parker Anderson, tells the story of Brooke Wyeth, who returns to Palm Springs after a six-year absence to spend Christmas with her family. However, her announcement that she plans to publish a memoir revealing a tragic family event creates tension as her relatives strive to keep the past buried.

Seating for the performance is set up as theater in the round, where the stage is surrounded by audience members on all sides.

“I’ve directed three-sided theater before,” Anderson said. “This is the first time I’ve done it in the round, and [it] is challenging because no matter where you’re sitting, somebody’s back will be to some part of the audience. So, you have to keep making sure they’re moving around so they change places fairly regularly while making it look completely natural.”

Each of the characters in this performance plays a principal role.

“There are no small parts in this show, no small characters,” Anderson said. “It’s an ensemble piece and every single character is well-written, very powerful.”

Kataya Lacher is performing the part of Trip Wyeth.

“Trip is a dude, and I am a girl, so I have to do training to act masculine and change my appearance and everything to look like a boy, to look like Trip,” Lacher said. “Trip is the younger brother to the main character, Brooke, who’s trying to keep the family together while it’s very tense. He’s trying to make lighthearted jokes to keep the family at peace and it doesn’t all go according to plan.”

Jody Drake is performing the comedic role of Silda Grauman, the zany alcoholic aunt.

“I spend seven pages of the script asleep on the couch,” Drake said. “I get to come in and pretty well be the lighthearted comedian for some pretty intense material.”

The play tackles socio-political issues from the perspective of differing family values.

“This is a very cutting-edge show,” Drake said. “It’s a little bit against the politics of the community, but in the essence of theater, theater came to be because you could say things on stage that you couldn’t say without persecution somewhere else. So in that way, it’s really perfect.”

Due to its content and language, the production may not be suitable for all ages.

Showtimes are scheduled for March 14, 15, 16, 21, 22, and 23 at 7:30 p.m., with additional performances on March 17 and 24 at 2:00 p.m.

Tickets are $38 for general seating, with the lobby opening one hour before each performance and entrance into the performance area allowed 30 minutes before the start. Refreshments will be available before the show and during intermission.

For tickets and more information, interested individuals can contact 928-445-3286 or visit

Jesse Bertel is a reporter/videographer for the Prescott News Network. Follow him on Facebook @ JesseBertel, email him at, or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2043.

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