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Chance Theater presents the Orange County premiere of Cry It Out

Chance Theater, Anaheim’s official resident theater company, announces the Orange County premiere of Cry It Out, Molly Smith Metzler’s comedy that takes a sharp and honest look at the double-edged sword of motherhood in all its joys and perils. Directed by Elina de Santos, Cry It Out will run April 1 – May 1, 2022 on the Cripe Stage at the Bette Aitken theater arts Center as the second show in Chance Theater’s 24th Anniversary Season.

Cry It Out depicts three new mothers of differing backgrounds who are facing the same struggle. Jessie is an Ivy League-educated corporate lawyer. Lina has a night-school nursing degree and terrible credit. The third mother 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 klatch. 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 that class has on parenthood in the U.S. circa the 21st century.

Cry It Out evolved from scribbled notes playwright Molly Smith Metzler wrote during the first two years of her daughter’s life and the friendships that she developed during that time. The play thrusts three characters together and allows us to explore and examine the power of female friendship and the incredible effects of the social and economic class structure upon parenthood in modern-day America. It is a rich and complex reminder of the trials and tribulations for the old moms, reassuring solace for new moms, and an outright eye opener for the childless.

In an interview featured in American Theater Magazine, Metzler talks about why she chose this title. “I was almost done with the play and I still didn’t have a title. I was super-stressed out about it, because I had only bad ideas, like ‘Two Coffees in a Yard,’ or ‘Over Coffee.’ Just Horrible. Then I remembered that the two main characters briefly talk about the ‘cry it out’ sleep method-a disputed, a controversial method of ‘teaching’ your baby to sleep through the night by leaving them to scream their lungs out. It’s aggressive, and it’s not unlike what new parents go through.”

She went on to muse about how often people are surprised that “chick play” doesn’t quite define the play. “But what’s surprising is who is doing the most crying: the male character. He’s the one ‘crying out’ most loudly. It’s an important texture of the story. To me this play is about the challenges facing new parents. It’s about how unfair the socioeconomics of child care are in this country. It troubles me when the play is marketed as a ‘chick play.’ That’s only 50 percent of who should be in the house. And it’s contrary to the play’s point: that parenthood isn’t a women’s issue.“

Molly Smith Metzler grew up in Kingston, New York, an economically depressed city in the 1990s that was starkly divided by income. Having grown up around people of limited means, Molly developed an interest in discussing and dissecting the issue of class. She did not, however, always want to be a playwright. In fact, it wasn’t until the semester before graduation from SUNY Geneseo that Molly took an introductory playwriting class that changed her life forever. To date, Molly has given us Training Wisteria and Elemeno Pea for the stage, and such television classics as Shameless, Orange Is the New Black, and the new Netflix limited series Maid, (inspired by Stephanie Land’s memoir Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay and a Mother’s Will to Survive) which recently received the AFI Award for “TV Program of the Year” and has been nominated for many other awards, including Writers Guild of America, Golden Globes, SAG Awards, and more.

Cry It Out premiered at Actors Theatre’s 2017 Humana Festival of New American Plays. It was published in 2017 by Dramatic Publishing Company, and at the 2018 Humana Festival in April, 2018, it received an ATCA/Steinberg New Play Award Citation.

Critical reaction to Cry It Out was almost universally positive. USA Today called it “whip smart” observing that “while the voices provide different colors, they harmonize well on subjects … including the American economy and women’s choices across the country.”

LEO Weekly praised the play as “a deeply felt topical drama that takes audiences on an emotional roller-coaster ride that whipsaws through laughs, poignant tears and moments of monumental rage,” summing it up as “comic gold.”

Joining director Elina de Santos on the design team are scenic designer Bruce Goodrich (Skylight, Middletown, Seminar), lighting designer Sarah Schwartz, costume designer Adriana Lambarri (Sweat, A Wrinkle in Time, Skylight), sound designer Marc Antonio Pritchett (Sweat), and stage manager Bebe Herrera (Yellowman, The Other Place, Maple and Vine).

The cast of Cry It Out will feature a mix of newcomers and returning actors – Aubrey Saverino (Inventing Van Gogh) as Jesse, resident artist Amanda Zarr (The Vandal, Good People) as Lina, Angel Dumapias as Adrienne, and Seyto James as Mitchell.

The executive producer for Cry It Out is Elizabeth Jones. Rachelle Menaker & Eddie Shuller are the associate producers. Bette & Wylie Aitken are producers for the entire 2022 Season and The Family of Mary Kay Fyda-Mar are the season’s associate producers.

This article was released by the Chance Theater.