If you like family drama, if you enjoy the political world and all its squabbles, have to endure “Uncle Bob” at holiday dinners, Other Desert Cities is the play for YOU.  Secrets, truths, lies, pretense and the showing of a public face that appears politically correct is part of many families. All that is certainly at the heart of Other Desert Cities.


(This overview contains NO spoilers. Something I feel compelled to say when I post ANYTHING about House of Cards). This play, though not quite SO treacherous, does contain hidden truths and its own sorts of mistruths and ultimately, very unexpected revelations. The title of the play appears to take its name from a sign on the way TO Palm Springs that indicates which way to drive to those “other desert cities”, when in truth we know, there really is only the one.


I don’t know about you, but I have at least 3 challenging extended family member in my midst. We just don’t agree on politics and life in general. But we have agreed to disagree. You know how that goes. Often a bit of sort of friendly sparring and eye rolling ensue. But we still love them. They are, after all, family. Now meet the Wyeths of Palm Springs. Act One lays out some of the history and issues and there are plenty of really funny one-liners that have the audience laughing out loud. Who doesn’t love witty language being tossed around. Jon Robin Baitz’s language is a real thrill. Act Two? A big and serious shift in tone. Still great wordplay, but the truth inside the heart of the family begins to makes its appearance. All is hardly at all what we thought we knew.

In this Broadway hit and Pulitzer Prize nominee, Brooke Wyeth returns home after a long absence to visit her well-connected, conservative parents in Palm Springs. In a dramatic shift, Brooke announces that she is about to publish a memoir dredging up a pivotal and tragic event in the family’s history — a wound they don’t want reopened. In effect, she draws a line in the desert sand and dares them all to cross it. “All family reunions should be this satisfying” said The New York Times, praising the play as a ” witty, deeply enjoyable family drama.” A co-production with Syracuse Stage in New York.



Other Desert Cities: In Performance from Portland Center Stage on Vimeo.


General Performance Times:

Evenings: Tuesday – Sunday evenings at 7:30 p.m.

Matinees: Saturday and Sundays at 2 p.m.

Thursdays at noon

View the season calendar.

Run Time:

Approximately 2 hours and 5 minutes, including one intermission.


Other Desert Cities is recommended for ages 16+; contains strong language and mature content. Children under 6 are not permitted at any PCS production. The actors in this production will be using tobacco-free herbal cigarettes. This production features brilliant mid-century architecture and close-to-home family dynamics.


View the cast and creative team bios.


Explore the playbill.