Actor-Created Theater Company Crescent City Stage Presents New Play, Cry It Out

Source: Crescent City Stage

Crescent City Stage has taken shape with founders and actors Elizabeth Elkins Newcomer, Jana Mestecky, and Michael Newcomer producing their latest show. Cry it Out, written by Molly Smith Metzler, will run from January 26 to February 9 at the Marquette Theater at Loyola, 6301 St. Charles Ave. 

This is the second Crescent City Stage performance at The Marquette Theater. Pantomime, written by Derek Walcott, ran in the space last September.

Crescent City Stage was formed when Elizabeth Elkins Newcomer, Jana Mestecky, and Michael Newcomer realized the New Orleans theater scene was lacking. Their mission is to create theater productions where actors can share their art on the stage and simultaneously make a living. What has resulted is a production company that is a professional, non-profit, union-affiliated theater with sustainable wages as its baseline. 

“Crescent City Stage is anti-starving artist,” Jana Mestecky explained. “We’re told from a young age when you get into the theater that you do it for the love of your art and take whatever job you can get. We’ve lived that life and been taken advantage of; we’re trying to provide a theater model that says, ‘We want to pay you for this job because you’re trained.’ Something like that is hard to do in New Orleans because there isn’t a marker that supports a theater company. That includes our commitment to inclusion, equity, and diversity.”

“We believe in the union and when you’re a union actor in this city there aren’t a lot of places that will give you the opportunity because it’s expensive, so that’s been really important to us,” Elizabeth Newcomer added.

In addition to stage productions, Crescent City Studio, the company’s acting studio, opened in July at 1506 Prytania St. at The Actor’s Apothecary. The spot serves as a professional training ground and a continuing education space for those in New Orleans who want to be actors. Acting, improv, and monologue classes are open to actors in training or those who want to experiment with acting without fully committing to rigid acting classes.

Cry It Out takes an honest look at the absurdities of being home with a baby, the power of female friendship, the dilemma of going back to work, and the effect class has on parenthood in America. The production stars Elizabeth Newcomer as Jessie, Tenea Intriago as Lina, Lebaron Thornton as Mitchell, and Mary Thornton as Adrienne. 

The play focuses on a pair of new mothers and neighbors from differing backgrounds who form a friendship on Long Island. The pair befriend another new mother in an affluent part of town with surprising results. Cry it Out focuses on women’s identity in new parenthood and what changes in friendships, marriage, finances, and life when one becomes a mother.

“As a parent myself, I saw my experience in each one of these characters,” said Mestecky, who directs Cry it Out. “As we’re in the process of rehearsals, we’re discovering that these aren’t unique experiences. This play takes a deep dive into the complexities of what it means to be a new parent on myriad fronts.”

Crescent City Stage first took shape during the pandemic. Elizabeth Elkins Newcomer, Jana Mestecky, and Michael Newcomer, who all have a background in theater, would get together with friends to read plays and be social. Cry it Out was one of the plays they read and Elizabeth Newcomer took a liking to it immediately. 

She explained, “I had a two and half year old and one year old at the time and this play was my life. By March 2020 we had gotten the rights to the show and originally planned to produce it that fall. Obviously, we weren’t able to do it then, but the dream grew from there.”

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