By Dee Jae Cox

John F. Kennedy once said, “I see little of more importance to the future of our country and of civilization than full recognition of the place of the artist. If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him, (or her.)

In 2011, Playwright Tony Padilla, had a vision of a small repertory company that allowed theatre artists to participate fully in the realization of their creative vision both onstage and off.” His vision resulted in the creation of the Desert Ensemble Theatre (DET), known for their World Premier productions, DET has come to be recognized as one of the leaders in Coachella Valley Theatre.  Named “Best Repertory Company” in the Desert Sun’s “Best of the Valley Awards,” 2018, over the years this desert theatre has been honored with 28 Desert Theatre League Awards in all major categories.

Under the Leadership of Executive Director, Shawn Abramowitz and Artistic Director, Jerome Elliott, the Desert Ensemble Theatre has reached new creative heights and fulfilled many artistic visions. Their latest presentation, Kill the Editor, written by Aren Haun, is the second production in their series of “West Coast Originals,” showcasing the talents of established and emerging playwrights from the Pacific Time Zone. Their first production this season was the world premiere of Jerome Elliott Moskowitz’s hit show,Do Not Remove Label.” In addition to producing theatre, Abramowitz and Elliot are both award-winning artists who act, sing, write and direct for the stage.


Haun, is a Bay Area based playwright, actor, director and teacher, with multiple successful scripts under his belt. Kill The Editor, was originally produced by Exit Studio Theatre in San Francisco, CA.  Described as an unrelenting and humorous exploration of the artistic process, the play tells the story of film editor Ben, who has landed his dream job to edit a documentary for the Cannes Film Festival. The challenge is he has just a week to cut a five-hour film down to size and Cameron, (the filmmaker) doesn’t want to touch a frame. Then Libby, (the previous editor) returns and threatens to hold the master copy for ransom. Who will ultimately prevail in this battle of dueling artistic visions?

The cast features Desert Theatre League Award (DTL) winning actor Sean Timothy Brown as Cameron, DTL nominee Eliza Convis as Libby, and Keivan Safavi, making his DET debut as Ben.  Brown, a Palm Springs based actor/musician returns to the DET stage after previous performances in All This Intimacy, Bad Jews, Election Day, and Asleep on the Wind (Desert Star Award, Outstanding Lead Actor). Convis, an actress and visual artist, was previously seen in DET’s production of All This Intimacy, and has the coolest named cat, called Boudica.  Safavi, is making his debut on the DET stage a year after relocating to the Coachella Valley from the Bay Area.

Kill The Editor is directed by Kudra Wagner, who’s making their directorial debut with Desert Ensemble Theatre. Wagner, originally arrived in the Coachella Valley with, Barn Rat Theatre Company and now teaches and does improv with Coachella Valley Theatre (CV Rep.) Wagner, states that they are a “HUGE fan of interesting people in interesting situations. When placing interesting people in interesting situations you get CONFLICT, DRAMA and CONTRADICTION, all of which we know to be cornerstones of an entertaining night out. That is what drew me to this play.”

Desert Ensemble’s mission statement indicates that they are “committed to growing the art of theatre by producing innovative plays that underscore the complexity of human interaction. We nurture the growth of artists of all ages, on and off the stage, and create an environment that rewards and cherishes them.” Their current production seems to reflect that commitment.

Kill the Editor runs January 27-29 and February 3-5 2023, with performances Friday and Saturday at 7:30pm, and Saturday and Sunday, 2pm. For additional information visit or call (760) 565-2476.

Desert Ensemble Theatre is located in the Palm Springs Cultural Center at 2300 E. Baristo Rd. in Palm Springs.

Dee Jae Cox, is a playwright, director and producer.

Cofounder and Artistic Director of The Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Project. 

And Co-Creator of the Palm Springs Theatre Go-To-Guide,