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Dezart Performs Garners Rave Reviews for Church & State

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Dezart Performs Garners Rave Reviews for Church & State

“Honest to God” comedy by Jason Odell Williams opened 11
th Season for Award-Winning Ensemble in Palm Springs

(press photos available online at:

19 November 2018 – Palm Springs, CA: Coming off a record-setting 11 Desert Theatre League Awards for their 10th season, Dezart Performs kicked off their 11th on November 9 with the “serious comedy, honest to God,” Church & State. Just closed after eight packed houses, the show received near rhapsodic critical reviews from the local press. 

“Told passionately by Dezart Performs in a professionally-designed production (Church & State) is compelling.” said Bruce Fessier of The Desert Sun. “The audience belly-laughed for a solid 60 minutes. The other 30 we sobbed,” summed up Kay Kudukis in Broadway World. “It is very, very powerful.” Jack Lyons of the Desert Local News praised Michael Shaw for his “intelligent and sensitive direction” and noted that its “relevancy in today’s chaotic, ‘ripped from the headlines’ environment is spot on….a powerful play with poignant performances by an outstanding cast — a splendid production.” Bonnie Gilgallon of the Coachella Valley Independent opined that “Dezart Performs’ production of Church and State is what good theater is all about—it’s not just an entertaining evening watching really good actors; it also has a story line that makes the audience think. It makes us debate important issues on the way home, and maybe consider a viewpoint we’ve never had before. The production of Jason Odell WilliamsChurch and State goes beyond special; it’s spectacular.”

The cast for Church & State featured Beau Marie as Senator Charles Whitmore; Kelley Moody as Sara Whitmore, the Senator’s wife; Tammy Hubler as Alex Klein, the campaign manager; and James Owens in multiple roles including the clueless and lovable page, Tom.

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. 

The 11th Season for Dezart Performs continues with Perfect Arrangementa comic tale of closeted lives by Topher Payne, January 11 — 20. 

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.

All performances for Dezart Performs take place at the Pearl McManus Theater (at the historic Palm Springs Woman’s Club) 314 S Cahuilla Road, Downtown Palm Springs. Season discounts are available. Tickets may be purchased online at 

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 Shaw
March 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.” –