It's a family affair for actors Polly Lee and Mark Watson these days -- and it's playing out for them both on and off the stage.
A delightful married couple, they're new parents to baby daughter Zoey, almost 3 months old, whom they adopted as a newborn.
And they play new parents on stage, too, in "Cry It Out," Molly Smith Metzler's insightful comedy at Merrimack Repertory Theatre in Lowell, April 24-May 19.
The play captures the laughs, frustrations and secret confidences that come with the early days of parenthood. It throws two different women into an unlikely but fierce friendship as they tiptoe to their shared backyard for coffee and chats during nap time.
Lee and Watson feel fortunate to share the stage, and Zoey's early days, together at MRT.
"We knew MRT was a family-friendly theater," Watson said recently by phone. "And here we are with a new baby and being together as a family here."
"MRT has been wonderful, and we feel so fortunate," added Lee, who was in last season's "Silent Sky."
Her character is Adrienne, a successful jewelry designer, married to financier Mitchell, played by Watson.
"She's reveling in her work and we meet her at a tense moment," Lee said. "She feels forced into a box of motherhood. It's a meaty part."
Mitch, meanwhile, idealizes motherhood and is rethinking how fatherhood will affect his relationship with Adrienne.
"It's super-dynamic, and the characters are so real," Lee said.
Young Zoey is adapting well to life on the road with her parents. "She's a super baby -- we had her at early rehearsals for table reads," Watson said. It's great since we're trying to expose her to lots of words."
Zoey isn't on stage during "Cry It Out." But she'll be off-stage in a pack-and-play set up in the Green Room. And both her parents are here, too, enjoying working together and sharing her early months.
"It's fun working with Mark and a dream for us," Lee said.
"It's wonderful," Watson agreed. "A great opportunity for us to work together and be a family, too."
Tickets are $24-$66 at the box office at 978-654-4678 or www.mrt.org.
Nancye Tuttle's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the wings
OPPOSITE ASNER: Lowell's Jerry Bisantz has landed the gig of a lifetime, playing opposite the legendary Ed Asner ("Lou Grant," "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," "Up" and dozens of other TV shows and movies in a long career). He'll be in the political comedy "God Help Us!," with Asner playing God, at the Regent Theatre in Arlington for two shows Thursday, June 20, at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Barbara Guertin is in the show, too. "I am memorizing the 60-page script. Barbara and I will get together about four times before our one rehearsal with Mr. Asner," Bisantz said. Tickets $30-$75 at www.regenttheatre.com.
LAUGHS FOR A GOOD CAUSE: On Friday, April 26, five fabulous comics perform for a great cause at Worcester's historic Hanover Theatre. "A Night of Comedy: A Benefit for the Ava Roy Fund," 8 p.m., features Kendra Cunningham, Chris Tabb, Jimmy Dunn, James Dorsey and Tony V. The event is presented by Worcester Fire Fighters Local 1009 in honor of fallen hero and firefighter Christopher Roy. Tickets $28 or $43. VIP $100 tickets include a pre-show party at 6:30 with the comedians. Call 877-571-7469 or www.thehanovertheatre.org.
SEASON FINALE: Join Maestro Bruce Hangen and the Orchestra of Indian Hill for its season finale concert Saturday, April 27, at 7:30 p.m., at Littleton High School, 56 King St. The concert features the orchestra's violinists, Alice Hallstrom, Angel Hernandez, Anabelle Tirado and Susan Jensen, in Vivaldi's "Concerto for 4 Violins." Other program selections include Bach's "Brandenburg Concerto No. 6" and Elgar's "Enigma Variations." Hangen gives a pre-concert talk at 6:30 and a post-concert café Q&A follows the show. Visit www.indianhillmusic.org for tickets and dining options.