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Interview: Elizabeth Newcomer & Tenea Intriago of CRY IT OUT At Crescent City Stage

Cry It Out opens on January 26 at Loyola's Marquette Theater.

Interview: Elizabeth Newcomer & Tenea Intriago of CRY IT OUT At Crescent City Stage
Cast members for Cry It Out. From top, Elizabeth Newcomer, Mary Thornton, LeBaron Thornton and Tenea Intriago. Photos by Brittney Werner

New Orleans production company Crescent City Stage continues its inaugural season with its latest production of CRY IT OUT by Molly Smith Metzler. This comedy takes an honest (and sharp) look at the double-edged sword of motherhood in all the joys and tribulations that come with it. Directed by Jana Mestecky, CRY IT OUT will run Jan. 26-Feb. 9, 2023, at the Marquette Theater at Loyola University.

CRY IT OUT centers on three new mothers of differing backgrounds. Jessie is an Ivy League-educated corporate lawyer. Lina has a night-school nursing degree and speaks her mind. And the third mother, Adrienne, lives in a mansion on a cliff overlooking the town. One day, her husband introduces himself to Jessie and Lina and asks them to include her in their coffee dates during naptime. They agree, which turns the unlikely duo into an even more unusual trio. The results aren't just mixed but genuinely surprising - an honest look at the challenges of being home with a baby, the dilemma of returning to work, and the effect class has on parenthood in the U.S. circa the 21st century.

BroadwayWorld sat down with leads Elizabeth Newcomer (Jessie) and Tenea Intriago (Lina) to chat about the show, how they relate to their characters as mothers and more about this "comedy with dark edges." What is CRY IT OUT about?

Newcomer: CRY IT OUT is about four new parents, a couple, and also two friends who've just met and they're navigating the early stages of what it's like to raise a newborn, how that challenges your identity, your sense of self, exploring the world of loneliness, navigating new friendships, changing relationships with your spouse, also figuring out whether or not you're going back into the workforce as a new parent. And it's also about making friendships in unexpected places when you're at a new stage in your life.

Intriago: I would also say how class affects parenthood as a whole.

BWW: I've heard this show described as a comedy with dark edges.

Intriago: I feel like, as most humans do, we each tend to fall into some humor to cope with tragedy, grief, loss, newness, and change, but I definitely feel like CRY IT OUT is unapologetic in the lenses through which we see those new experiences through the lives of these new parents.

BWW: The title refers to letting the child cry it out at night method of self-soothing, correct?

Newcomer: So, when you're sleep training a baby, the cry it out method is when you just let them cry it out, so they figure out how to soothe themselves. To add to the dark edges, I think a lot of times in motherhood, or when you have a baby, you're only focusing on all of the joyful aspects, the positivity, but there's a lot of darkness that goes along with it as well. So, it doesn't shy away from the messiness and the isolation that can happen from being at home with a newborn. There's a raw sense of humor that Molly Smith Metzler brings to the writing.

BWW: Going back to the self-soothing, do you think it's the parents who need to "cry it out?"

Newcomer: Yes, yes, for sure.

Intriago: Yea, agreed.

BWW: Who should see this show?

Newcomer: Everyone. I would say it's probably going to resonate the most with new moms because those are the central characters, but our director, Jana Mestecky, has an 18-year-old and a 16-year-old, and she talks about how much it brings back up that time in her life even though it's been almost two decades. It's such a visceral experience. So definitely any parent and then also people who are all affected by children and how children change the lives of adults. I think there is no one who won't take something away from this show.

BWW: What inspired you to audition for this show? Liz, in particular, you're a co-founder of Crescent City Stage, correct?

Newcomer: Yes, before we even fully launched Crescent City Stage, the co-founders and I used to get together and read plays. One of my friends out in LA told me about this play, and I had a newborn at home, and it did what really great theatre does by telling a story that is cathartic, and it was so comforting to read the story at the time that we were all like this has to be our first show. We actually had it slated for the fall of 2020 in March before Covid hit.

Intriago: I know Liz through the grapevine of the New Orleans community, and I'm so grateful that our paths got to cross finally because I've heard such beautiful things. I heard of the casting call for the piece a couple of weeks before Liz reached out to me specifically. I have hesitancy just to be transparent to audition in general, even in my career outside of theatre, where I work mostly in film and television. I have a hard time where people don't see me as a mother even though I am one in my own life. I don't play a lot of people who have that experience, and I play a lot younger usually, and so it's really hard personally for me to be like, yes, I'm going to go out for that. I judge myself before the process even begins...but then Liz reached out to me specifically, so that kind of made me breathe for a second and made me feel, 'oh, maybe I am seen as this part of what I encompass as a full-fledged human being navigating the world.' And when I read the sides for my character Lina, she and I are so similar in so many ways, and it would behoove me not to attempt to speak her words.

BWW: Tell us about your characters.

Newcomer: I play Jesse...she was a lawyer and on the partner track in New York City for nine years, and she moved to Long Island with her husband, Nate, to set up their family for a little more opportunity. She is a compassionate mother; she really wants to do a good job. She's fallen in love with motherhood in a way that she never knew was possible. She sees the best in people, and she is questioning whether or not she wants to go back to her old life of working now that she's found a new sense of self in being a stay-at-home mom. She doesn't want to step on anyone's toes and is a little careful about what she says, but she's really fun to play.

Intriago: Lina is a trip. She's alive and dashy and abrasive, charismatic, loud and unapologetic and sensitive and guarded, and everyone's best friend. At the start of the play, she's 24 days out of going back to work, and she's on the fence about it as well in a way that she's more scared to leap back into this world because she doesn't know how to leave her baby at home with her mother-in-law. In a way, as mentioned before, because I find myself so similar to her, Lina never meets a stranger, so when Jesse moves in next door, it's a party. And it's chaos of the best kind. She's an incredible, complex, complicated woman, and I'm so honored to get to know her through the show.

BWW: And you're both mothers yourselves?

Intriago: Yes, I have a seven-year-old son.

Newcomer: And I have two sons, a six-year-old and a four-and-a-half-year-old.

BWW: Do you relate to your character's journey with motherhood? Or do you relate to a different mom in the show?

Newcomer: I do relate to my character's journey. When I had my oldest, I also didn't want to go back to work. At the time, I was teaching drama, and I was really hurt and upset by the thought that someone else would be spending all of those moments with my son. I just felt like that was an experience I wanted to have with him, and I was worried about how that might affect my connection. And then, after my youngest was born, I actually had this surge of creativity, and then I wanted to do work but not in the same way. I wanted to work. My kids feel like my biggest mark on the world and my biggest creation, and then I was able to keep translating that into other facets, but yes, I do relate to her journey in that way.

Intriago: I feel like there's a piece of each woman in this show where I'm like 'yea, that is me.' I relate mostly with Lina, but the other character Adrienne in the piece has a sort of moral conundrum of sorts in that she is passionate about her work, and she wants to give the impression to her daughter that just because you have a kid it doesn't mean your dreams end, and it doesn't mean you have to stop what you love in order to just be a mom and that being a mom is your only identity marker. Especially when my son was first born; I was very young. I had my child at 24. I just felt like I had lost my identity completely and felt like if I wanted to pursue acting still or my dreams still that I wasn't allowed to because of sort of these societal conditions on motherhood and how they're not very expansive and they don't let us dream big and what it meant to have my husband stay home whenever I was out on a job. And still, I grapple with that whenever I spend a lot of time out in Los Angeles and New York working. In the summer of 2018, I was in LA for the entire summer on a show, and I was so guilty the entire time. I thought I didn't deserve it and thought I was taking something away from my husband, and I couldn't navigate those feelings and that pressure even though I so wanted to be there, and I was so excited to live my dream in action. And so, this character Adrienne in an emotional way, says 'f-you' to society, and it's like, no, I'm here, I'm doing this, I'm a mom. It doesn't mean I love my child any less; I'm pursuing my dreams. I still struggle with that deeply most days...I want to show him I have full capacity in each area.

BWW: What can you tell me about the creative team?

Newcomer: We've got some powerful feminine energy. We also have just in terms of gender representation, we have masculine, feminine, nonbinary, and gender fluid, and that's important to us as well as black, white, and Hispanic representation.

Intriago: It's a pretty well-rounded concoction of barely white people in the whole production, which is really exciting. And not all one kind of gender. I'm nonbinary, which was another element of why I was hesitant to audition for the show because I feel like now that I'm out, people can't see me as a mother or a woman, whereas in my personal life, being called mother still feels very true.

Newcomer: There's only one man, and he plays Mitchell, so he plays the husband in the show, and then we have four black designers; three women, one nonbinary. Our director and stage managers are all women or gender-fluid. So, we have lots of feminine energy just flowing through, and that was purposeful. My husband, when we first thought about doing the play, he was considering directing, but then we all thought 'no, I think we need a woman or a mom to direct this piece,' and it was an easy choice for Jana to take the lead.

Cry It Out runs January 26-February 9 at Loyola's Marquette Theater. For tickets, visit

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