Lawrence Stallings, Pablo Castelblanco, Richard Azurdia, Peter Pasco
The Fountain Theatre has been honored with three Ovation Award nominations for its Los Angeles Premiere of My Mañana Comes by Elizabeth Irwin. Directed by Armando Molina, the fast-paced comedy/drama about four busboys in the kitchen of an upscale restaurant drew rave reviews. The talented cast featured Richard Azurdia, Pablo Castelblanco, Peter Pasco and Lawrence Stallings.
The Ovation Awards are the only peer-judged theatre awards in Los Angeles, created to recognize excellence in theatrical performance, production and design in the Greater Los Angeles area.
The Fountain Theatre production of My Mañana Comes has received the following nominations:
Best Production of a Play
Best Acting Ensemble of a Play – Richard Azurdia, Pablo Castelblanco, Peter Pasco and Lawrence Stallings
Best Scenic Design – Michael Navarro
For the 2015/16 Ovation Awards voting season, there were 280 productions registered from 116 different organizations, resulting in nominations for 70 productions from 45 organizations. These productions were voted on by 233 Ovation Awards voters — vetted individuals from the Greater Los Angeles area who are working theatre professionals.
The 27th Annual LA STAGE Alliance Ovation Awards will occur on Tuesday, January 17, 2017 at The Ahmanson Theatre in Downtown Los Angeles. More info
Lawrence Stallings, Pablo Castelblanco, Richard Azurdia, Peter Pasco
by Victoria Montecillo
Last weekend, I got to watch our production of My Mañana Comes on its closing weekend. It’s three days later, and I’m still thinking about it. After hearing about the show and the kind of work that the Fountain produces from Stephen Sachs and Barbara Goodhill, I was eager to see the work in action. I knew that the show was about four busboys in a high-end restaurant, and that the show would touch on issues surrounding immigration and fair pay, but I was otherwise walking in with no expectations of what I was about to see.
Playwright Elizabeth Irwin
One of the first things that captured me within the first couple of scenes was the reality of it all. I knew the playwright was a woman, and I was stunned at her ability to capture the conversations between these young men so well. I could feel each unique voice and personality from the four characters, which only made the story even more riveting.
I felt like this play really sneaks up on you, in the best way possible. For a while, it’s just four guys working in a kitchen trying to make ends meet, teasing each other, and sharing their lives with one another. And in the next moment, you’re suddenly aware of how much you care about each of these men. They’re each dealing with their own set of challenges, and you can feel yourself rooting for them. And suddenly you’re watching these characters you care about struggling to fight for equal pay, providing for their families, and maintaining their friendships with each other.
As a theatre geek, I have to say that I have a soft spot for powerful pieces of theatre that don’t have a happy ending. They end, instead, by giving the audience something to think about, and with the gut-wrenching realization that theatre is, in fact, an avenue for real stories about real people. Perhaps after the show that I saw, the actors all came out smiling and ready to answer all of our questions and discuss the piece in an illuminating and inspiring talkback, but stories like that don’t always end that way. This piece, and the incredible actors in the cast, were telling a much bigger story of real struggle.
On top of all of that, the audience gets to witness all of this unfold in the Fountain’s cozy, 78-seat theatre. Their space made us feel like we were all apart of this story, and part of the action. Seeing this particular piece in such a small space helped me realize how effective it can be to tell stories in a smaller space, where there seems to be no separation or distance between the performers and the audience. Everything is shared, and that makes the experience all the more powerful.
Pablo Castelblanco and Peter Pasco
Another thing I really appreciated about this production was how well it brought to light very specific perspectives within cultural identity. In the talkback with the cast after the show, which was moderated by Stephen Sachs, an audience member praised actor Peter Pasco for his portrayal of Whalid, a young Mexican-American man with no claim to his own heritage. Pasco responded to the audience member, expressing the difficulty that many first-generation and second-generation Americans have with the culture of their families, especially when visiting their “home countries”. As I clearly remember him explaining his own experiences in relation to Whalid’s in the talkback, “When I’m here in the United States, everyone sees me as Peruvian, even though I feel that I’m American. But when I’m in Peru visiting my family, I don’t feel like a Peruvian at all.” His words deeply resonated with me, as a first-generation Filipino-American. Getting to see a character like that onstage, as well as hearing the actor speak about it so eloquently afterwards, was a very special feeling.
It was sad to see such a beautiful piece as My Mañana Comes in its closing weekend, but I felt lucky to be apart of one of the many audiences that got to see such a powerful piece at the Fountain, with an unbelievable cast bringing such an important story to life. One of the most inspiring things to see after the show was all of the people in the audience who were clearly so moved by the performance; there was one woman behind me who clearly wanted to express her gratitude to the actors for sharing such an important story, but she was far too overcome with emotion. There were countless people around me who made a point of thanking the actors and the Fountain Theatre for bringing such an important and relevant piece to audiences in this community, and I was again reminded of the magic and power of live theatre, and all it can do to bring communities together through art and storytelling.
Director Armando Molina is one of the nicest guys you’ll meet. We think you’ll agree. Take a look. In this short video chat with us, he talks about about our upcoming LA Premiere of Elizabeth Irwin’s My Mañana Comes, his fabulous actors, and working at the Fountain.
Armando Molina’s credits include The Long Road Today by Jose Cruz Gonzalez (South Coast Repertory), Visitors’ Guide to Arivaca by Evangeline Ordaz (Teatro Vision in San Jose and Denver Center of the Performing Arts), Anna In The Tropics by Nilo Cruz (PCPA Theaterfest), Conjunto by Oliver Mayer and Hippie Mexicana by Evangeline Ordaz (Borderlands Theater Company, Tucson) and Living Out and Distracted by Lisa Loomer (TheatreWorks in Palo Alto and Mixed Blood Theatre in Minneapolis). Armando received national recognition from the NEA and Theater Communications Group as a recipient of their Career Development Program for Directors. As a member of the Cornerstone Theatre Company for nine years, Armando acted in and directed Cornerstone community residencies in Baldwin Hills, Chinatown, Boyle Heights, Watts, South Central and with the Bus Riders Union. He is a co-founder of the critically acclaimed Latino comedy group Latins Anonymous, whose first play, Latins Anonymous, was held over for six months at the Los Angeles Theater Center, then followed by runs at San Diego Repertory Theater, Group Theater in Seattle, South Coast Repertory and Sacramento Theater Company. Their second play, The LA LA Awards, premiered at the Japan American Theater in Los Angeles, then ran at San Diego Rep, the Guadalupe Cultural Center in San Antonio and the Odyssey Theater in Los Angeles. Both plays were published by Arte Publico Press and continue to be performed nationally. He is currently artistic director of Company of Angels Theater, the oldest non-profit professional theater company in Los Angeles.
Just beyond the elegant dining room of an Upper East Side restaurant, service workers angle for shifts, pray for tips and cling to dreams of life beyond their daily back-of-house grind. Armando Molina directs the Los Angeles premiere of My Mañana Comes by Elizabeth Irwin, opening April 16 at the Fountain Theatre in Hollywood.
The minimum wage crisis and rights for undocumented workers lie at the center of Irwin’s funny and powerful new play.
Starring as four busboys working in the kitchen of an upscale French restaurant in Manhattan are Richard Azurdia (Backyard at Echo Theater Company, Bill & Joan at Sacred Fools, one of 54 “fascinating Angelenos” profiled in LA Weekly’s 2015 People issue), Pablo Castelblanco (Sálvese quien pueda at the Leonardus Theatre in his native Bogotá, Colombia) Peter Pasco (Our Lady of 121st Street at the Victory, Seven Spots on the Sun at Theatre @ Boston Court) and Lawrence Stallings (original productions of Book of Mormon on Broadway, Hair and Passing Strange off-Broadway).
Expertly juggling delicate entrees and fussy customers, the young men face off with management and with each other when a sudden pay cut threatens their dignity, their dreams for a better life — and their friendship.
“This is exactly the kind of play we like to do at the Fountain,” suggests co-artistic director Stephen Sachs. “It’s fast-paced, hip and funny, but it also opens a window into a community we don’t often see, gives voice to a community that is usually not heard. You really get to know and care about these guys – the relationships, camaraderie and the sharing of dreams.”
According to Molina, “Irwin gets to the truth about who these guys are, the reality beneath the tropes. She shatters preconceptions.”
Irwin, who worked in the restaurant industry for many years, wanted to explore what undocumented immigration means to people who are directly affected by it — both those who are undocumented and those who work alongside and have relationships with them.
“This story explores the complications and nuances of their lives,” she said in an interview.
Set design for My Mañana Comes is by Michael Navarro; lighting design is by Jennifer Edwards; sound design is by Christopher Moscatiello; costume design is by Magdalena Guillen; props and set dressing are by Dillon Nelson; production stage manager is Emily Lehrer; associate producer is James Bennett; and Stephen Sachs, Simon Levy and Deborah Lawlor produce for the Fountain Theatre.
The cast: Peter Pasco, Richard Azurdia, Pablo Castelblanco, Lawrence Stallings
Did we have a good time Friday night or what? The cast and Fountain production team gathered for the first rehearsal of our upcoming LA Premiere of Elizabeth Irwin’s My Manana Comes. Directed by Armando Molina, this funny, fast-moving and powerful new play stars Richard Azurdia, Pablo Castelblanco, Peter Pasco and Lawrence Stallings. It opens April 16th.
In My Manana Comes, four kitchen workers in an upscale restaurant learn the hard way how to deal with pay cuts that could jeopardize their dreams for a better life, their dignity and their friendship. Fast-paced, hip and funny, the play brings to colorful life the camaraderie, sharing of dreams, competition and traitorous backstabbing that climaxes with a powerful dramatic turn at the end. Immigration, the minimum wage crisis, rights for undocumented workers, and citizenship lie at the center of this fast-moving, funny and powerful new LA premiere that examines the true meaning of “home” and how far we’re willing to go to get there.
At Friday night’s first rehearsal, producer Stephen Sachs welcomed the group and guided them through production business. Director Armando Molina spoke about his vision for the play. Joining the actors were Producing Director Simon Levy, Associate Producer James Bennett, Director of Development Barbara Goodhill, publicist Lucy Pollak, costume designer Magdalena Guillen, and production stage manager Emily Lehrer.
After business and paperwork were finished, the four actors sat at the table and read the script together for the first time. The play instantly came alive from the first few pages. Funny, hip, heartfelt, with a strong dramatic turn at the end. Instant chemistry developed between these four talented actors, feeling like these four characters had worked together closely for years. It was hard to believe the cast had just met Friday night for the first time.
Audiences are going to love this funny new play and enjoy the four dudes in this chaotic kitchen. My Manana Comes opens April 16th. Join us! The service will be excellent!