Manuel Igrejas is a native of Newark, New Jersey and grew up in Newark’s vibrant Portuguese community, the Ironbound, where he was a boy scout and an altar boy at Our Lady Of Fatima Church. He was voted most pious-looking three years in a row.
He spent the first ten years of his adult life (1970-1980) as a physical laborer, first with Erie Lackawanna Railroad in Hoboken (now NJ Transit) for five years as a carpenter and then another five with the Bloomfield Department of Public Works. (see below)
During that time he wrote poetry and fiction that was published in small magazines. In 1980 he was one of the actors in Jessica Raimi's radio soap opera, Our Life Together Among The Works of Art, which ran on WBAI. He also wrote several episodes of the show.
In 1980 he landed a job with the theatrical publicity office, Hunt/Pucci, where he was junior assistant press dweeb. The office handled Torch Song Trilogy, 'night, Mother, Crimes Of The Heart, Agnes of God and And a Nightingale Sang. You would have thought it was exciting but it was often pretty grim and the pay was lousy. He avoided theater for years and From 1983 to 1990 Igrejas sold restaurant supplies during the day and wrote fiction, poetry and plays at night. He also became one of the top restaurant supply salesmen in NJ.
When he returned to public relations in 1990 with David Rothenberg Associates, the firm represented such Broadway productions as The Song of Jacob Zulu and Lucifer's Child with Julie Harris, the off-Broadway phenomenon Tony n' Tina's Wedding and John Leguizamo's Mambo Mouth among many others.
In 1991 Igrejas became associated with Blue Man Group and was their Public Relations Director until 2005 when he retired from full time duty.
Igrejas also repped many downtown theater and dance companies, including En Garde Arts, Reza Abdoh, Ann Carlson, The Builders Association and Richard Foreman and the Ontological-Hysteric Theatre, STREB and Peak Performances at Montclair State University.
Igrejas’ poetry is included in the anthology, A New Geography of Poets. His story, The Little Trooper was included in Men on Men 4. An evening of three of his one act plays about the pursuit of mental health, Shrinkage, was produced off-off Broadway in spring 2004 and was reviewed favorably by the New York Times and Time Out. His play, Kitty and Lina, was produced in April 2008 and also received good reviews in The NY Times and Time Out. It is included in the Portuguese anthology, nem ca, nem la. His play, Miss Mary Dugan won the Best Play, Best Director and Best Actor Awards at the 2009 Fresh Fruit Festival. Hassan and Sylvia won Best Play and Best Actress Awards at the 2010 Fresh Fruit Festival. Other plays include nsa (O'Neill semi-finalist), Pittsburgh!, Chantal and Margarita and Max, (Best short play, best actress and best director awards at the 2013 Midtown Festival). Hassan and Sylvia, Miss Mary Dugan and Margarita and Max are available at www.indietheaternow.com.