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Dezart Performs Continues 11th Season with Perfect Arrangement

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Dezart Performs Continues 11th Season with Perfect Arrangement
Secret Lives Set in midst of 1950s Red Scare is focus of dark but witty comic work by Topher Payne

Michael Shaw Directs Second Show of 11th Season for Award-Winning Ensemble in Palm Springs

14 December 2018 – Palm Springs, CA: Imagine I Love Lucy with Ricky and Fred sharing a bed and Lucy and Vivian as lesbian lovers with State Department credentials. In a nutshell, that’s the recipe for the improbable secret high-wire act brought to life in Topher Payne’s darkly comic Perfect Arrangementfrom the award winning Dezart Performs of Palm Springs. Set against the backdrop of the 1950s “Red Scare” and the burgeoning gay rights movement, the play runs January 11 – 20 at thePearl McManus Theater (at the historic Palm Springs Woman’s Club / 314 S Cahuilla Road, Downtown Palm Springs) and is directed by Dezart Performs founding artistic director Michael Shaw.

“In an age of unequally dispersed marriage equality, Perfect Arrangement is an object lesson about how far we’ve come, but still how far we have to go,” said Shaw. “Topher Payne’s richly witty and deeply nuanced script is at once laugh-out-loud hilarious, but yet movingly heartbreaking. It may look like a sitcom on the outside, but on the inside, it’s a poignant history lesson based in fact.”

The plot thickens quickly as two married – but secretly gay — U.S. State Department employees, Bob and Norma, are tasked with identifying “sexual deviants” within their ranks. The result: classic situational comedy of the “Golden Age of TV” style with razor sharp dialogue and societal exploration.

“Literally, the cast spends a lot of time jumping in and out of the closet,” says Shaw. “We laugh at their antics, but our hearts clutch at their moral choice every minute: life, liberty or the pursuit of happiness.”

The cast for Perfect Arrangement features Hanz Enyeart as Jim Baxter, Deborah Harmon as Kitty Sunderson, Phylicia Mason as Mille Martindale, Hal O’Connell as Theodore Sunderson, Olivia Saccomanno as Norma Baxter, Adam Jonas Segaller as Bob Martindaleand Yo Younger as Barbara Grant.

Dezart Performs, one of the Coachella Valley’s preeminent theatre companies, recognizes that the performing arts enrich the life and culture of a community, promote greater understanding and provoke insightful discussion. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit theatre company, its mission is to provide an artistic home for bold and cutting–edge plays, creating an atmosphere of artistic growth for actors, writers, and directors who uniquely contribute to the diverse theatrical environment in the Coachella Valley.

Sponsors of Dezart Performs’ 2018/19 Season include The Riviera Palm Springs, Desert Care Network, Eight4Nine Restaurant & Lounge, Acqua at the River, TRIO Restaurant, Hotel Zoso and the Desert Sun.

Showtimes for Perfect Arrangement: Fridays and Saturdays @ 7:30pm, Saturdays and Sundays @ 2pm.  Ticket prices are $45 Opening Night with Post Show Reception; $35 Evening; $30 Matinee. Performances take place at the Pearl McManus Theater (at the historic Palm Springs Woman’s Club) 314 S Cahuilla Road, Downtown Palm Springs. Season discounts available. Tickets may be purchased online 

11th Dezart Performs Complete Season Listings

Perfect Arrangement
A comic tale of closeted lives by Topher Payne
Directed by Michael Shaw
January 11 — 20, 2019

It’s 1950, and new colors are being added to the Red Scare. Two U.S. State Department employees, Bob and Norma, have been tasked with identifying sexual deviants within their ranks. There’s just one problem: Both Bob and Norma are gay and have married each other’s partners as a carefully constructed cover. Inspired by the true story of the earliest stirrings of the American gay rights movement, madcap classic sitcom-style laughs give way to provocative drama as two “All-American” couples are forced to stare down the closet door.

“A clever canape of a comedy…Mr. Payne is a deft and witty writer.” – The New York Times

“Usually a playwright has to choose between writing a laugh-out-loud comedy and a very serious drama. Topher Payne has written both with Perfect Arrangement.” – TheatreMania

*   *   *

White Guy on the Bus
A new drama by Bruce Graham
Directed by Michael ShawMarch 1 — 10, 2019

Week after week, a wealthy white businessman rides the same bus, befriending a single black mom. As they get to know one another, their pasts unfold and tensions rise, igniting a disturbing and crucial exploration of race.
“A scalding take on race.” -New York Times

White Guy on the Bus is a play with guts. This one goes for the jugular.” – Chicago Tribune

*   *   *

The Maytag Virgin
A southern love story by Audrey Cefaly
Directed by Deborah Harmon
April 5 — 14, 2019

Alabama high-school teacher Lizzy Nash is on a leave of absence after the sudden death of her husband when a mysterious new neighbor moves in next door. Jack and Lizzy, both hiding a world of secrets and pain, excite and confound each other. Maytag Virgin explores the ideas of moving forward and self-enlightenment, and the bridge between the two.

“….unflinchingly honest. Cefaly’s writing is richly-layered, creating compelling characters that must balance love and heartache, the safe with the unfamiliar.”– DC Metro Theatre Arts

“…it’s the emotional journey of Maytag Virgin gives it such a wallop. Cefaly writes with sympathy and a finely-sharpened wit.” –