In development: Remnant is a documentary performance piece that blurs the specificity of geopolitical borders to focus more keenly on the human experience of death, illness, war, and the effects they have on the people who fight and survive their realities.
Reimagining a seminal antihero of classic German literature as a closeted trans woman, Woyzeck and Herself is a queer adaptation of Georg Büchner’s classic text with book and music by trans theater artist Ada Westfall. Created specifically for a trans or non-binary performer in the lead role, the piece investigates the hyper-masculine nature of the military, “deviant” identity in a repressive environment, and the tragic madness often nurtured beneath layers of culturally reinforced shame.
Book, lyrics & music: Ada Westfall
Collaborators: Kayla Asbell, Denis Butkus, Ben Gullard, Alex Hawthorn, Jo Lampert, Michael Littig, Barrie McLain, Molly Beach Murphy, Justin Nestor, Attilio Rigotti, Corey Sullivan, Ada Westfall
Held hostage by their past, a family grapples with failure, worth and a world closing in around them. In this hyper-theatrical production, human beings become objects, music carries the memory of days long gone, and a life is reduced to a mortgage. Theater Mitu's staging explores a landscape of unrealized hopes and asks what happens when you are written out of the American Dream.
Written by Arthur Miller
Directed by Rubén Polendo
A Theater Mitu collaboration
Original Music: Ellen Reid in collaboration with Ada Westfall
Once upon a time, there was a girl who talked to God. She built a nation, and they burned her for it. Oscar, Grammy, and Golden Globe winner David Byrne, lead singer of the Talking Heads and creator of the Public Theater hit Here Lies Love, explores the electrifying, meteoric rise of Joan of Arc through the lens of a one-of-a-kind rock musical concert. Directed by Golden Globe winner Alex Timbers, Joan of Arc: Into the Fire is a thrilling and provocative new show about challenging the powerful and believing in the impossible.
Book, Music, and Lyrics by David Byrne
Directed by Alex Timbers
Choreography: Steven Hoggett
Scenic Design: Christopher Barreca
Costume Design: Clint Ramos
Lighting Design: Justin Townsend
Sound Design: Cody Spencer
Projection Design: Darrel Maloney
Special Effects Design: Jeremy Chernick
Music Coordinator: Michael Aarons
Music Director: Kris Kukul
Featuring: Terence Archie, James Brown III, Jonathan Burke, Rodrick Covington, Jody Gelb, Sean Allan Krill, Jo Lampert, Mike McGowan, Dimitri Joseph Moise, Mary Kate Morrissey, Adam Perry, John Schiappa, Kyle Selig, David St. Louis, Mare Winningham
Band: John Kengla - guitar, Yuval Lion - drums, Karl Mansfield - keys/conductor, Oskar Stenmark - trumpet, Ada Westfall - guitar, Bobby Wooten - bass
Secret Supper: The Musical
November 2018 @ The Africa Center
An immersive, site-specific, culinary adventure, Spring Street Social Society invites its audience to join them in a clandestine space, where a singing, soliloquizing cast of characters awaits to envelop you in an evening of spectacular musical theater alongside a sumptuous sit-down supper prepared by acclaimed chef Daniel Eddy of Philadelphia's Walnut Street Café. The audience will become one with the performers in an extraordinary, entertaining – and perhaps a bit emotional – show about what it means to be creative in New York City.
Directed by Andrew Neisler
Book by T. Adamson
Music by Alex Thrailkill and Jeanna Phillips
Production Design: Christopher Bowser
Menu by Daniel Eddy
Music Director: Alex Thrailkill
Choreography: Ben Hobbs
Costumes: Heather Barton
Featuring: Audrey Hailes, Preston Martin, Molly McAdoo, Ronald Peet, Emma Tattenbaum-Fine, Ada Westfall
Band: Michael Hunter - violin/acoustic guitar, Evan Johnston - synth/bass, Alex Thrailkill - electric guitar, Ada Westfall - drums
Boy genius, rebel, visionary, Rimbaud set off a bomb in the world of letters with the publication of Illuminations. 130 years later, this dazzling book of poems, written mostly in prose, continues to amaze. John Ashbery's recent, highly acclaimed translation offers us these poems through the wonderfully precise and always surprising language of one of America's greatest contemporary poets. For Rimbaud in New York, The Civilians create a wildly original, playful and enriching inquiry into the meaning and legacy of Illuminations, staging how these revolutionary poems continue to resonate in the American imagination, setting off explosions in the minds of new readers. The show finds Rimbaud in the 1950s of Ashbery and Frank O'Hara, in the downtown scene of the 1970s and in the many artists and musicians he's influenced – Patti Smith, Bob Dylan, Jim Morrison, David Wojnarowicz, and Jean-Michel Basquiat, to name a few. But, most centrally the show focuses on the poems themselves, which The Civilians animate through performance, song, and an eclectic theatricality that brings Rimbaud into the present, here and alive in New York City.
As globalization moved forward in this past decade, blurring and yet accentuating national borderlands, one city – Ciudad Juárez – emerged in 2008 as the "Murder Capital of the World." Directly across the Mexican-American border, El Paso, TX has branded itself as the "Safest Large City in America." Led by Juárez-born-and-raised Founding Artistic Director Rubén Polendo, and drawn by the vortex of questions within and around Ciudad Juárez, Theater Mitu's company members traveled to the region five times in 2012 and 2013, conducting research and interviewing citizens on both sides of the border. Based on an archive of hundreds of hours of interviews, the piece has emerged as an exploration of this border community's memories from the past, both recent and distant, and hopes for the future, near and far.
Conceived and Directed by Rubén Polendo
from a series of interviews in and around Ciudad Juárez, Mexico and El Paso, Texas
Associate Director: Scott Spahr
Lead Projection Design: Ada Westfall & Justin Nestor
Lead Sound Design: Alex Hawthorn
Music composed by Ada Westfall
Lead Text Architecture: Rubén Polendo
Text Architecture, Stage Installations, Additional Video & Sound: Denis Butkus, Aysan Celik, Ryan Conarro, Alex Hawthorn, Michael Littig, Justin Nestor, Scott Spahr, Jenny Waxman, Ada Westfall
Research, Interviews and Archive: Julianna Bloodgood, Denis Butkus, Aysan Celik, Ryan Conarro, Nathan Elam, Michael Littig, Justin Nestor, Tyler Penfield, Rubén Polendo, Natalia Salmeron, Scott Spahr, Jenny Waxman, Ada Westfall
FEBRUARY 22 - MARCH 3 @ NYU Tisch - Abe Burrows Theater
Inspired by the cult classic movie directed by Allan Moyle, with script and story by Jacob Brackman, Allan Moyle, and Leanne Ungar, Times Square is a new punk rock musical about two girls who find courage, love, and rock and roll while on the run in the rough and sleazy streets of the old Times Square. All roles will be played by Tisch undergrad acting students.
Music and lyrics by Jill Sobule & Robin Eaton
Book by Jim Lewis
Directed by Steve Cosson
Music director: Ada Westfall
Minq Vaadka is a punk-burlesque alter ego created by Ada Westfall. Playing around the city at venues like Joe's Pub, Mercury Lounge, CSV and more, Minq released one album: The Plastic Masquerade, one EP: Minq Vaadka Will Take Your Elektro-Küsse in Queens, Please, and two music videos for "Leading Me On" and "More With Less."
In spring of 2010, Sanaz Ghajar and Built For Collapse adapted The Plastic Masquerade into a live dance piece titled Orpheus & The Plastic Masquerade at Galapagos Art Space, scored with the album performed live by Minq and his band, choreography by Ben Hobbs.
In fall of 2011, director Chantel Gaidica and her company Te Ilum produced Minq's second theater piece titled Minq Vaadka's Narcischism: Un Cabaret d'Adieu at the Robert Moss Theater, featuring new original music by Minq Vaadka, book by Chantel Gaidica, Ryan Maeker, Barrie McLain, and Ada Westfall, choreography by Sam Pinkleton, costumes by Hannah Hogan, lighting by Chris Bowser, and sound design by Ryan Maeker.
Minq is on a long hiatus at the moment while Ada decides how best to manifest him next...