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Jon Robin Baitz stops by Ojai on his way to New York

August 9, 2010 |  5:37 pm
Baitz Jon Robin Baitz will open the annual Ojai Playwrights Conference Summer Works Festival on Tuesday with a reading of his new play "Other Desert Cities."  Baitz has developed two earlier plays at Ojai, "The Paris Letter" and "Chinese Friends" -- both went on to major New York productions. "Other Desert Cities" is slated to be produced at New York's Lincoln Center this coming January.

Baitz, or Robbie, as his friends call him, is one of the most celebrated playwrights in American theater, known for his witty, politically aware examinations of contemporary family dynamics. "The Film Society" premiered off-Broadway in 1987, and "A Fair Country" was nominated for the 1996 Pulitzer Prize.

He says he has a strong bond with Ojai and its annual Summer Works Festival. "It’s a fantastic place with a great audience, with a real avid interest in the process, willing to be generous to pieces that are only heard in the context of the reading of new work."

He describes Tuesday's presentation as "a staged reading without too much staging. There’s a little bit of staging: They might move their eyebrows."

Click here to read my full interview with Baitz.

-- Margaret Gray

Photo of Baitz by Bob Chamberlin /Los Angeles Times