“Looped” – Photo By Matthew McLean

By Dee Jae Cox

One of the best shows that I have seen in the Coachella Valley, was Nathan Sanders’, “The Sugar Witch.”  Leanna Rodgers’ brilliant presentation of Sisser Bean, was absolutely riveting from start to finish.  When Judith Chapman, embodied Tallulah Bankhead in Matthew Lombardo’s Looped,” I was so captivated by her stunning performance, that I don’t think I blinked during the entire show.  What do both of these incredible productions have in common?  They are examples of the talent and creative genius of Robbie Wayne and the Desert Rose Playhouse.  Since taking the helm as the Producing Artistic Director, Wayne has raised the bar on quality productions.  Time and again I have been reminded of why I love theatre

“Sugar Witch” – Photo By Tim McIntosh

Promoted as the Coachella Valley’s only LGBTQ theatre, the Desert Rose Playhouse has continued to work within the desert theatre community to showcase the best of performing arts.  But just as with all theatres across the Coachella Valley and the country, they have been forced to go dark. Theatre, the heart of any community, is going through a renaissance, (a rebirth) and changes are emerging.  We cling to what we know until there is nothing left to hold on to and then we look for new directions.

Due to lack of productions –and ticket sales—the Desert Rose Playhouse, is no longer able to hold on to their current venue in Rancho Mirage, a sad by-product of this pandemic.  But as the saying goes, when a door closes, a window opens. And with that, they have found an incredible potential new home in the heart of downtown Palm Springs.  The old Zelda’s night-club located on Palm Canyon Dr in Palm Springs, which offers the perfect opportunity for the Desert Rose Playhouse to spread their wings.

Wayne, stated the following; “The New space opens the option of booking National A List Entertainers for the venue to appear with their one man shows, cabarets, ensemble tours, etc. It triples our current audience capacity.  They already have several local bars involved to cater our productions through their catering liquor license.

We are partnering with other Coachella Valley theatre companies that have smaller venues or no home venue so they too can use our stage during the social distancing regulations that we know will be implemented during the first months of reopening.

The new home is walking distance to major downtown Palm Springs hotels, restaurants, and bars growing our patron base. Relocating to Palm Springs takes the theatre to a whole new level of possibilities.  Production value is definitely important and our top priority but Location is Everything.  This particular location along with everything the facility itself offers is absolutely ideal for creating an iconic theatre that will have its own place in the history of the Palm Springs Arts Community for many years to come.”

This will be an incredible new theatre space in the heart of downtown Palm Springs and with Wayne’s experience and creativity, it will no doubt be a success.   But no theatre is an island and the Desert Rose Playhouse, is in need of a little help from their friends.  They have raised the first $5,000 dollars, but need an additional $15,000 by August 1st, in order to secure the space. 

If you are one of those generous people who are wondering how you can make a difference in the midst of this crazy time, here’s your chance.  This new venue has unlimited potential that can only benefit the desert community.   I was incredibly excited after seeing the space and imagining the potential, check it out and take a look at their wonderful promotional video… then give. – https://youtu.be/lhXNeG2q2rc

donate at: www.desertroseplayhouse.org – Under the support tab https://charity.gofundme.com/drp2020

Venmo: @DesertRose-Playhouse

Paypal: paypal.me/DesertRosePlayhouse Mail: PO Box 2256 Cathedral City, CA 92235

Dee Jae Cox is a playwright, director and producer.  She is the Cofounder and Artistic Director of The Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Project.