"Exit Cockoo" Review

Select performances of Working Theater's EXIT CUCKOO -- Lisa Ramirez's new Off-Broadway play about the intricate and colorful culture of nannies in New York and the people who employ them, in previews beginning April 17, prior to its official press opening April 23, directed by Colman Domingo, at Theater Row's Clurman Theatre (410 West 42nd Street) -- will be followed by talkbacks featuring special guests including author David Strah ("Gay Dads") and members of Domestic Workers United, Employers for Justice, and others.

At once a comedy and commentary on a particular slice of city life, EXIT CUCKOO is based on Ms. Ramirez's own experiences as a nanny, and springs from her observations. The play is an honest and humorous look at the uncommon lives of a seemingly invisible, voiceless class of workers most often distinguished in New York by the strollers they push.

On Saturday, April 18, following the 2pm matinee, Domestic Workers United hosts "The Nanny Legacy," a post-show discussion regarding the nanny-parent relationship with individual accounts of being a nanny, employing a nanny and being nurtured by a nanny. Theatergoers will be welcome to share their own stories.

Following the 8pm performance on Wednesday, April 22 will be "Women's Work?," a panel discussion about how women and society face the continuing dilemma for mothers of whether or not to work outside the home.

On Tuesday, April 28, Working Theatre hosts Gay Parents Night, with a reception beginning at 6pm, followed by the 7pm curtain, and a post-show discussion led by special guest David Strah, author of "Gay Dads: A Celebration of Fatherhood."

And following the matinee performance on Sunday, May 3, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice hosts "Employers for Justice," a talkback about the current employment practices among employers of domestic workers.

EXIT CUCKOO is directed by Colman Domingo, best-known for his performance in the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical PASSING STRANGE. Mr. Domingo also helmed the Off-Broadway comedy SINGLE BLACK FEMALE and will star in his own solo show A BOY AND HIS SOUL this fall at The Vineyard Theatre.

Lisa Ramirez came to New York eight years ago to pursue a career as an actress. By her own admission a failed waitress, she took work as a nanny and has gone from the feeling that the world had come to an end, to discovering that life as a nanny was "the best thing that ever happened to me."

EXIT CUCKOO has been work-shopped regionally and abroad, with the support of playwright and performer Eve Ensler (THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES). At the 2008 Midtown International Theatre Festival in New York, EXIT CUCKOO was awarded Best Overall Performance of a Solo Show, and Lisa received the award for Outstanding Actor (Female) from The Talkin' Broadway 2008 Summer Theatre Festival Citations.

The production has set design by Rachel Hauck; lighting design by Russel Phillip Drapkin; sound design by Matt O'Hare; and costume design by Raul Aktanov.

Since the company was founded in 1985, Working Theater's mission has been to produce new plays for and about working people. Working Theater began its current season with the world premiere of Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's KING OF SHADOWS. Other plays the Working Theater has presented are TABLETOP by Rob Ackerman, ASCENSION DAY by Michael Henry Brown, I AM A MAN by OyamO, HOLD PLEASE by Annie Weisman, and last season's OUR DAD IS IN ATLANTIS by Javier Malpica. Noted actors who have appeared at the Working Theater include Jeanine Serralles, Ving Rhames, Andre de Shields, Holly Hunter, Jeremy Webb, Laura Esterman and Brennan Brown.

Connie Grappo is the company's Artistic Director; Mark Plesent is Producing Director.

EXIT CUCKOO runs April 17-May 17, 2009 at Theatre Row's Clurman Theatre (410 West 42nd Street); Tuesdays at 7pm; Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8pm; Saturdays at 2pm and Sundays at 3pm. Tickets are . For reservations, contact www.ticketcentral.com or call 212-279-4200.

Running time is approximately 90 minutes.

For more information about Working Theater and EXIT CUCKOO, visit www.theworkingtheater.org.

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