A novelist returns home to her prominent California Republican parents with the manuscript of a new book – a memoir filled with very dirty laundry. Needless to say, the reunion is vexed.
Jon Robin Baitz's play Other Desert Cities just arrived on Broadway, starring Stockard Channing and Stacey Keach. It's part comedy, part dark emotional thriller.
Kurt Andersen talks with Baitz about how this combination of tension, comedy, and politics has become the playwright's specialty. "We have a running joke, my brother and I," Baitz recalls sardonically. "When he gets a new play of mine he says, 'Do I die in this one?'"
Baitz was the creator of ABC's Brothers and Sisters, also about a grown—up family full of smart, strong personalities in crisis. The show was a hit for Baitz, but turns out, Los Angeles was anything but, and he was relieved of his duties on the show. "It was a nightmare. Just the fact that I came from New York and wrote sort of serious-ish plays, before I opened my mouth, there was a kind of trope going around the network already: 'We can't have any of the Baitzian angst.'''
(Originally aired: January 28, 2011)