Lost souls are found, love is rekindled, and secrets are exposed at a mysterious motor lodge in the American West. Created by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Ellen Reid, playwright christopher oscar peña, and director James Darrah, 'desert in' is a groundbreaking new eight-part miniseries that reveals a supernatural story of love, loss, and the price of memories. 

Featuring the talents of eight extraordinary, award-winning composers and interlocking stories from rising and veteran screenwriters, 'desert in' is helmed by a team of directors led by LBO Artistic Director James Darrah. 

About the Series 

Part supernatural love story, part dazzling long-form music video, 'desert in' is driven by a blend of striking new music that ranges from lush classical to jazz, from electronic soundscape to cinematic sweep, and more. Principal filming took place  in Palm Springs, CA. With a diverse cast of actors, singers and creators, 'desert in' creates a wholly new storytelling experience.  On-screen actors are complemented by performers who are not seen, but whose voices are heard on the soundtrack. Some of the on-screen actors are seen singing; others create and embody characters guided by off-screen voices. The effect places the story in a dreamlike universe that’s not quite earthbound, not quite celestial.

'desert in' is commissioned and produced by Boston Lyric Opera in association with Long Beach Opera.




Ep. 1: “This House is Now”
Composer: Ellen Reid
Writer: Kirsten Greenidge
Director: James Darrah

Ep. 2: “Love is Like the Sea”
Composer: Nathalie Joachim
Writer: Joy Kecken
Director: James Darrah

Ep. 3 : “Someday you’ll know…they’re calling to you too”
Composers: Ellen Reid, Vijay Iyer
Writer: A. Rey Pamatmat
Director: Zackary Drucker

Ep. 4: “A Single Man”
Composer: Emma O’Halloran
Writer: Ryan J. Haddad
Director: James Darrah

Ep. 5: “I miss you more than I remember you”
Composer: Wang Lu
Writer: christopher oscar peña
Director: Raviv Ullman

Ep. 6: “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter”
Composer: Shelley Washington
Writer: Quentin Nguyen-duy
Director: James Darrah

Ep. 7: “The Sun Also Rises”
Composer: Nico Muhly
Writer: Jesse J. Sanchez
Director: Joy Kecken

Ep. 8: “Tell me how all this, and love too, will ruin us”
Composer: Michael Abels
Writer: Roxie Perkins
Director: James Darrah


Onscreen Performers

  • Cass: Isabel Leonard
  • Sunny: Talise Trevigne
  • The Lounge Singer: Justin Vivian Bond
  • Ion: Raviv Ullman
  • Rufus: Alexander Flores
  • Federico: Anthony Michael Lopez
  • Old Man / Derek: Ricco Ross
  • The Son: Jon Orsini
  • The Stranger: Carlis Shane Clark

Vocal Only (Offscreen) Performers

  • Ion: Edward Nelson
  • Rufus: Jesus Garcia
  • Federico: Alan Pingarrón
  • Old Man / Derek: Davóne Tines
  • Vapors: Brianna J. Robinson, Emma Sorenson, Neal Ferreira

Creative Team

  • Director of Photography: Michael Elias Thomas
  • Production Designer: Yuki Izumihara
  • Costume Designer: Molly Irelan
  • Gaffer / Lighting Designer: Pablo Santiago

National Endowement for the Arts    California Arts Council Arts Council for Long Beach City of Long Beach Art Works Opera America KUSC

This activity is supported in part by the California Arts Council, a state agency. Learn more at cac.ca.gov
Supported in part by a grant from the Arts Council for Long Beach and the City of Long Beach.
Long Beach Opera events are supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission