By Rob Weinert-Kendt
The playwright Jon Robin Baitz walks healthily among the living, but in some ways his articulate, carefully constructed plays feel like throwbacks to a more literate, less cynical age. Plays such as The Substance of Fire, Three Hotels and The Paris Letter, map out internecine battles of love and loyalty among family, friends and lovers with a comic clarity that evokes Shaw, and a fraught psychological texture, thick with explosive secrets and lies, that recalls Ibsen.
Given those antecedents, it’s surprising that his career until last year was bookended by two formative West Coast experiences that would seem to belie his plays’ well-made classicism.
Other Desert Cities delivers many surprises.
One of them changes the game.
You’ve heard the adage: Don’t let a good deed go unpunished.
That seems to have been the state of mind of Jon Robin Baitz when he was unceremoniously thrown off the successful ABC-TV series, “Brothers and Sisters,” a show he had created and for whose success he was largely responsible as a writer/producer.