My Mañana Comes OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Matthew Murphy
  • NY TIMES

  • DAILY NEWS

  • TM

  • NEW YORK THEATER

Opening Night:
September 4, 2014
Closing:
September 20, 2014

Theater: Peter Jay Sharp / 416 West 42nd Street, New York, NY, 10036

Synopsis: 

Just beyond the elegant dining room of an Upper East Side restaurant, four busboys angle for shifts, pray for tips, and cling to dreams of life beyond their dingy back-of-house grind. Expertly juggling delicate entrees, fussy customers and beer-swilling line cooks, the young men face off with management and each other. As tensions reach a boiling point, how far will each of them go to see their own mañana come?

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF My Mañana Comes

    Back in the Kitchen, They Have Lives, Too ‘My Mañana Comes’ Depicts Busboys on the Upper East Side

    Alexis Soloski

    September 4, 2014: In the back of a ritzy Upper East Side restaurant, busboys in black jackets fill breadbaskets, garnish plates, roll napkins and silverware into tidy cylinders. Their gestures are precise, their actions rote. It’s a slog. It’s a dance. It’s a living. Elizabeth Irwin’s involving, thoughtful My Mañana Comes, directed by Chay Yew and produced by the Playwrights Realm, follows four runners during a summer’s brunches and dinners. The assured Peter (Jason Bowen) is Harlem bred; the brash Whalid (Brian Quijada) is Brooklyn born; while the focused Jorge (José Joaquín Pérez) and the flummoxed Pepe (Reza Salazar) are unauthorized workers. At first the play seems mere anthropology, detailing the morals and mores at the bottom of the food service industry. Having worked together for months and years, these men have formed an edgy camaraderie, ribbing and riding one another, but also covering for each other when court dates and family responsibilities intervene. They’ve even adopted similar slang.

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  • NEW YORK DAILY NEWS REVIEW OF My Mañana Comes

    Drama of East Side restaurant staff from Mexico charts a tough, and sometimes funny, course for survival

    Joe Dziemianowicz

    September 4, 2014: Elizabeth Irwin’s thoughtful drama follows four busboys running orders, filling bread baskets and carving lemon wedges at an Upper East Side restaurant. Peter (Jason Bowen) and Whalid (Brian Quijada) are homegrown; Jorge (Jose Joaquin Perez) and Pepe (Reza Salazar) are from Mexico, with bogus papers. Director Chay Yew guides four terrific performances. By turns humorous and haunting, this narrowly focused story of the survival of the fittest comes with a message: When life gives you lemons, do anything — no matter how lowdown — to keep your job slicing them.

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  • THEATERMANIA REVIEW OF My Mañana Comes

    The American melting pot reaches its boiling point in Elizabeth Irwin's new bilingual drama

    Hayley Levitt

    September 4, 2014: Next to the proscenium, there is no arena with which theater professionals are more familiar than a restaurant's back of house. And as playwright Elizabeth Irwin humbly illustrates in The Playwrights Realm's My Mañana Comes, the political, social, and emotional threads that bind and often strangle the members of the food-service industry are more intricately layered than a tiramisu. Irwin lays us down in the well-worn kitchen of an upscale restaurant on Madison Avenue (designed with expert detail by Wilson Chin), and holds her four characters captive in this confined space for the duration of the 95-minute play. As the restaurant takes on an increasing familiarity, we find Chay Yew's concise direction shrewdly captures the sharp rhythms of kitchen life — the rhythms that keep lemons sliced, bread baskets filled, and workers irrevocably entangled in one another's lives, for better or worse. The back-of-house "family" of busser/runners Irwin follows through a slow New York summer is composed of two illegal Mexican immigrants, Jorge and Pepe; a third-generation Mexican-American from Brooklyn, Whalid; and an African-American from Harlem named Peter. While all four would fall under the broad "minority" umbrella for the sake of political polling, Irwin successfully delineates the perspectives shaped by each of her characters' complex cultural backgrounds. However, she keeps these cultural distinctions as subtle shadows underlying four unique individuals, each with his own compelling tale and personal approach to surviving (and potentially escaping) less-than-minimum-wage life in urban America.

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  • NEW YORK THEATER REVIEW OF My Mañana Comes

    My Manana Comes Review: NYC’s Restaurant Exploitation Dramatized

    Jonathan Mandell

    September 4, 2014: The four busboys who work in the kitchen of a tony Upper East Side restaurant in the well-acted, superbly directed new play by Elizabeth Irwin, My Manana Comes, bring home a cruel irony of the $30 billion New York City restaurant industry that employs about one out of every 10 New Yorkers: Many restaurant workers can barely afford to feed themselves.* Wages are low – restaurants are required to pay their tipped workers just $2.13 an hour, based on the assumption that the tips will provide the needed full income. But tipped workers are reportedly twice as likely as the average worker to live in poverty. Their jobs are also rarely secure. My Manana Comes, produced by the Playwrights Realm theater company at the Peter Sharp Theater, is no didactic tract on the exploitation of restaurant workers. It is a spot-on recreation of the “back of house” of a fancy restaurant – right down to the totally convincing set by Wilson Chin – where the four men in black Nehru jackets fold linen, fill baskets with bread and buckets with ice, deliver the plates of food and return with the dirty dishes, in a ballet of efficiency. While working, they talk, and over the course of a summer we get to know them.

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