Title Card - Bees and Honey (2023)
Bees & Honey. [By] Guadalís Del Carmen. [Directed by] Melissa Crespo. Venue, New York, NY, 2023.

“Bees & Honey” feels like a modernized 90s sitcom, like “Martin,” but with modern themes and heartening drama.

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“Bees & Honey” feels like a modernized 90s sitcom, like “Martin,” but with modern themes and heartening drama.

General Information

Includes information about the production, cast, staff, venue, and crew.

Director(s) Melissa Crespo
Writer(s) Guadalís Del Carmen
Language English, Spanish
Attendance Type Offline – In Person
Event Status On Schedule
Venue or Network (The Susan & Ronald Frankel Theater at The Robert W. Wilson MCC Theater Space) 511 West 52nd Street, New York, New York 10019
Performance Date May 6, 2023
First Performance At This Venue May 4, 2023
Opening Night Performance May 4, 2023
Last Performance At This Venue June 11, 2023
Venue URL 1
Tickets Starting At $44.00
Genre(s) Play, Comedy, Drama, Romance, Young Adult
Duration 2 Hours with a 10 Minute Intermission
Noted Performers
Johaira Maribel Martinez
Manuel Xavier Pacheco
Scene/ Set Design Shoko Kambara, Daniel Peguero
Costume Design Devario D. Simmons
Lighting Design Reza Behjat
Sound Design German Martinez
Choreography Teniece Divya Johnson, Mayte Natalo


Johaira and Manuel meet like many couples used to. It was, by chance, at a Washington Heights club in New York City, and it was love at first sight for them. The chemistry was there, so they wanted to see how long the reaction would last. Could it be through marriage, her taxing job as a prosecutor with DA office aspirations, and him opening multiple mechanic shops? What about their families intermingling? Heck, her wanting and expecting more from him, thus having him read Bell Hooks and other Black feminist literature?

The laughs are many, hardships few, but love is not an infinite resource. It has to be replenished, and there comes a point where both question if there is anything left to pull from anymore as one moment seemingly breaks the proverbial camel’s back.

Character Descriptions

Manuel (Xavier Pacheco) and Johaira (Maribel Martinez)
“Manuel (Xavier Pacheco) and Johaira (Maribel Martinez),” Bees & Honey. [By] Guadalís Del Carmen. [Directed by] Melissa Crespo. The Susan & Ronald Frankel Theater at The Robert W. Wilson MCC Theater Space, New York, NY, 2023.

Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member, and character descriptions may contain what can be considered spoilers.


A Columbia law school graduate who identifies as Afro-Latino, Johaira advocates for sexual assault survivors at the law firm she works at and has a long-term goal of working in the DA’s office.


Raised by a single mom after his dad died, Manuel was a very rambunctious kid. He put his mom through a lot between him and his brother, but now with maturing, he holds a steady job at a mechanic shop, is trying to franchise throughout the boroughs, and may even open a shop in Staten Island.

Things To Note

Content Information

  • Dialog: Cursing and use of the N-word throughout
  • Violence: dialog dealing with self-harm from one of Johaira’s cases
  • Sexual Content: Some foreplay and conversations about sexual assault
  • Miscellaneous: Mention of selling drugs


Our Rating: Positive (See Live)


The First Half’s Sitcom Vibe

In the first half, things are light, comical, and even give “Martin” vibes because of the humor and back and forth. Johaira, with her serious career and advanced vocabulary, yet able to code switch if need to, is an evolved Gina in some ways.

Manuel, while not on the radio, is a man’s man. One whose communication is partly rooted in misogyny, what could be considered Washington Heights culture, if not how men talk when they are of the streets – even if they are moving on up.

While volatile at times, this combination creates the kind of opposites attract dynamic that makes you want more and hope, despite the BS, these two stay together.

The Second Half’s Drama

So many things can take a toll on a marriage, and a few detrimental things hit in the second half after the intermission. Note, this isn’t the type of play with infidelity, so there is no need to worry about that. However, between demanding jobs, taking care of elderly parents, and keeping a marriage alive while trying to better yourself as an individual, Johaira and Manuel have a lot going on. All of which leads to understandable fights that rarely, if ever, seem meant for entertainment, shock, or awe but are about what couples go through and sometimes don’t handle the best way.

Take Manuel wanting his mom to live with them as she deals with Alzheimer’s. Johaira is working on an intense sexual assault case with a high-profile trial. With a 10-2 record thus far, what could be a potential career-defining case. Manuel is trying to manage two mechanical shops, so the question becomes: What time will either have to check in on his mom and ensure she is comfortable? Add in, the mother is overtly critical of Johaira while often comparing her to Manuel’s sister-in-law unfavorably? That’s taxing for a couple with barely enough time to be intimate, in or out of the bedroom.

Johaira’s Captivating Speeches

Beyond how she plays off Xavier Pacheco, what Maribel Martinez brings is the type of energy and presence that you’d expect from a one-woman show. Thankfully, she is given the space, as she practices her speeches for court, to exhibit her gift for the audience, and to watch it up close is just mesmerizing.

I can only compare it to how my mother would say I became entranced by watching Barney as a child. For there is a passion, a sense of purpose in Martinez’s performance that makes it clear it is about far more than getting lines right. It’s about the audience understanding the impact the words are meant to have. Especially regarding the plight sexual assault survivors have to go through for justice when the system often turns the tables and has them defending their decisions, dating history, and sex life.

The Multilayered Manuel

This isn’t to downplay what Pacheco delivers. While he mainly provides comic relief and appeal, Pacheco is given room to be far more than a man raised in a single home. As he tries to bridge the world he grew up in and the world Johaira finds acceptable for their life together, you understand the struggle.

Also, as his marriage gets rocky, you feel for him. To watch a jovial man be worn down and forced to shield his heart as he becomes unsure how safe it is? All while having no means or desire to damn Johaira. For while she is part of the reason his heart feels unsafe and insecure, you can see the desire for reconciliation in his expressions of love. Of which, sometimes, aren’t enough for Johaira as she doesn’t necessarily find Manuel hard to love, but herself hard to love, and maybe underserving.

On The Fence

Sometimes Wishing We Got To Meet The People They Talk About

From Johaira’s friends, Manuel’s friends, and family, so many names and character descriptions are dropped. Yet, this is a two-person play, so no matter how animated Johaira describes Manuel’s mom or how Manuel describes Johaira’s friends, they never manifest.

Which, for the sake of time and cutting unnecessary fat, is understandable. However, that doesn’t get rid of the longing to see these integral people in both Johaira and Manuel’s lives in the flesh.

Dropping Breaking The Fourth Wall

When Johaira and Manuel first meet, they have moments when they talk to the audience and let us in. This is dropped once the two get married, which may leave you mixed feelings. At times, you’ll likely want to know the inner thoughts of Manuel and Johaira, especially when things get rough. But, again, there is the need to question if it was necessary and if things were better without it?

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The First Half's Sitcom Vibe - 86%
Sometimes Wishing We Got To Meet The People They Talk About - 77%
The Multilayered Manuel - 82%
Johaira's Captivating Speeches - 84%
The Second Half's Drama - 85%
Dropping Breaking The Fourth Wall - 74%


With a sitcom appeal mixed in with the kind of drama that pulls at your heart and could make you audibly cry, "Bees and Honey" hits in unexpected ways but shows why off-broadway plays must be sought and seen.

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