IN THE GREEN (LINCOLN CENTER, LCT3)
“What [Grace McLean] puts these five astonishing singers through over the course of ninety minutes is unlike anything I have ever experienced in a theater in my life. At every moment, there is a fierce, pioneering inventiveness… [F]or the composers and musicians out there reading this, and for the theater-makes who like a little resistance when they’re turning the wheel, In the Green is a piece to be reckoned with… what’s really wonderful about this production is how purely and thoroughly Grace’s intentions are being served… Kudos to Kris Kukul and Ada Westfall and a really powerhouse band, and especially to the five tireless singers: Rachael Duddy, Ashley Peréz Flanagan, Mia Pak, Hannah Whitney, and the den mother, visionary, and iconoclast at the center, Grace McLean.”
- Jason Robert Brown, jasonrobertbrown.com, “Recommendation: Grace McLean’s “In the Green” (July 29, 2019)
“Give credit… to the bold musical experimentation going on here, generated by an ace team that includes Kris Kukul (music supervisor and, with Ms. McLean, orchestrator), Ada Westfall (music director) and Nicholas Pope (sound). The score is designed to disorient, with shards of notes that seem to emanate from all over the theater.”
- Ben Brantley, The New York Times, “Review: A Singing Nun Struggles With PTSD in ‘In The Green’” (June 27, 2019)
“Along with orchestrator Kris Kukul and music director and band-leader Ada Westfall, McLean builds the beds for her songs out of stunning live looping… As Jutta… she clicks her tongue, claps, grunts, and even spits, and her fleshy vocalizations build into ecstatic rhythms, foundations over which the cast’s voices can climb upwards like ropes of green ivy on a stone wall. Along with only four musicians, including a wine-dark cello and jangling qanun, the vocal loops bring something of Hildegard’s own music and her own philosophy into the play’s aural landscape…”
- Sara Holdren, Vulture, “Theater: In the Green and We’re Only Alive … Are Two More Bursts of Musical-Theater Energy” (June 27, 2019)
“The three performers become one being, their voices blending seamlessly to incant some incredibly difficult music, all of which sounds flawless under the direction of music supervisor Kris Kukul and music director Ada Westfall.”
- Zachary Stewart, TheaterMania, “In the Green: Can Two Nuns Share a Cell for 30 Years Without Driving Each Other Crazy?” (June 27, 2019)
“Meanwhile, a band of four musicians, just barely visible offstage, perform in near darkness. Ada Westfall, while simultaneously playing bass or keyboards, conducts with brisk precision, creating a compelling visual as well as audio contrast to McLean’s languid presence.”
- Stanford Friedman, New York Theatre Guide, “Review of Lincoln Center Theater's LCT3 production of In the Green” (June 28, 2019)
REMNANT (MITU580, THEATER MITU)
THEASY BEST BET: "Softly hugging your ears, headphones not only allow for three parts of the show to unfold simultaneously, but also create an intimate form of communication... the fragmented narrative is interwoven with original songs, most of them written, produced, and performed by the incredibly talented musician Ada Westfall."
- Asya Gorovits, Theatre Is Easy, "Remnant" (Aug. 31, 2018)
*PLEASE NOTE: The following reviews were written for Ada's old legal name and pronouns. To avoid confusion, Ada's new legal name and pronouns have been substituted in brackets.
rimbaud in new york (BAM, THE CIVILIANS)
"The show is most engaging in musical numbers that summon the impact of Rimbaud on others... among these are the rowdy opener, 'Hot Mess Disaster Boy' (with music by [Ada Westfall])..."
- Ben Brantley, The New York Times, "Review: ‘Rimbaud in New York’ Splices the Genes of the Original Outlaw Artist" (Mar. 3, 2016)
NY TIMES CRITICS' PICK: "As Dean, who eventually becomes a successful songwriter in his own right, [Ms. Westfall] gives a moving, understated performance, and [her] tense rapport with Ms. Baldwin's loving but breezily egotistic Tammy is nicely etched."
- Charles Isherwood, The New York Times, "Review: ‘Songbird,’ a Honky Tonk Take on Chekhov" (Oct. 29, 2015)
the plastic masquerade (minq vaadka album)
"It's been a long time since an album has been so strong and so as-of-yet unknown... mixes impishness and theatricality in a fresh punk/cabaret blend, the likes of which have been missing from that semi-underground scene for far too long... fully original, a bright-pink-paint-besplattered mess of talent... paradoxically, everything about Vaadka–from the fake name to the swaggering bravado–registers as completely genuine... with a voice that could belt a Broadway tune as easily as it fronts a rock band, [Ada Westfall] sings like the queer lovechild of Billie Joe Armstrong and Justin Bond."
- Linda Leseman, Original Hipster, "Minq Vaadka, This One's For You" (May 22, 2010)
a play on war (CONNELLY THEATER, THEATER MITU)
2010 DRAMA DESK NOMINATION FOR OUTSTANDING MUSIC IN A PLAY: "Simple and theatrical, the perfect balance to the purposefully discordant and at times ridiculously florid music and sound (and I have yet to fully process how delightful I find the Sound of Music motifs, that other and more demure family of war and sacrifice). Well done, designers and associates. Well done, all."
- Tzipora Kaplan, Theatre Is Easy, "A Play On War" (Feb. 22, 2010)