Ridge Theater has created more than thirty productions including opera, multimedia theatre, new music performance, and ballet. Ridge Theater is a pioneer of contemporary performance. We use visual and sonic exploration to develop new works that push the boundaries of contemporary storytelling, inventing new approaches to the theatrical vocabulary. Ridge Theater got its start in small venues in downtown New York City, and has grown to perform large-scale immersive productions at venues that include BAM, Lincoln Center, ART, Carnegie Hall, Philadelphia’s Verizon Hall, and prestigious theaters throughout Europe.
A squad of Afghanistan veterans are brought back together in a bid to support their former officer's political campaign. With tensions rising, and the past ever present, the dark truth of their famed mission comes to life and the traumas of their deployment are laid bare.
New York University, Shubert Theater
Written by Richard Wesley, Directed by Bob McGrath, Projections by Kristen Morgan, Set Design by Nadja Antic, Costume Design by Brynne Oster-Bainnson, Lighting Design by Christopher Wong.
Lulu: A Case of Rhyme and Punishment is a contemporary opera inspired by Frank Wedekind's tragic masterpiece. It is the dark chronicle of Lulu, a young woman living in fin-de-siecle Vienna, groomed from childhood by a predatory father figure. Lulu becomes an astute instinctual seducer and predator who rips through the lives of all who love her. Told through the sympathetic eyes of her friend and lover, the Countess Gesch, the opera paints Lulu’s downward spiral with an eclectic musical palette of soul, rap, Kurt Weill, and art rock. In the blurred Kafkaesque realm of a circus, courtroom, and boudoir, the audience are voyeurs to abuses of power and the cycles of trauma. Through the use of multimedia we create a hallucinogenic, contorted Expressionist world; a circus filled with prying eyes. Human desire is a mystery, a Pandora’s Box that this opera unlocks.
Eastern Connecticut State University, Proscenium Theater
Written by Jennifer Charles, Joseph Budenholzer, and Bob McGrath; Music by Joseph Budenholzer, Jennifer Charles, and Oren Bloedow; Featuring Jennifer Charles, John Dossett, Jordan Goldston, and Emmitt George; Projection Design by Dylan James Amick, and Kristen Morgan; Dramaturgy/Video by Donald Campbell; Directed by Bob McGrath
Fantini Futuro is a new audio-visual performance work by Ben Neill for the mutantrumpet, his self-designed electro-acoustic instrument, countertenor, Baroque keyboards, and interactive video projections. The piece is based on the music and life of early Baroque trumpeter/composer Girolamo Fantini, who was responsible for bringing the trumpet indoors from the hunt and the battlefield to the realm of art music. The narrative depicts Fantini as a traveler through time and space, from the 17th century to the future, and reflects on the transformative power of current technology using the history of the trumpet as a metaphor.
Roulette, Brooklyn and Ramapo College
Composed by Ben Neill; Featuring Ben Neill, Ryland Angel and Gwendolyn Toth; Directed by Bob McGrath
Part multimedia opera, part conceptual art, Anatomy Theatre is an installation that conjures a time in pre-modern Europe when “Specialists” traveled from town to town, dissecting the corpses of executed criminals to seek evidence of corruption in the interior of the human body.
A joyous, grisly theatrical event by Pulitzer Prize winning composer David Lang, and world renowned conceptual artist Mark Dion.
LA Opera June 15–20, 2016. BRIC In Brooklyn, January 2017.
Music by David Lang; Libretto by Mark Dion & David Lang; A Ridge Theater Production; Directed by Bob McGrath; Film by Bill Morrison; Projections Design by Laurie Olinder; Scenic Design by Mark Dion; Lighting Design by Christopher Kuhl; Costume Design by Alixa Gage Englund; Conducted by Christopher Rountree; Creative Producer Beth Morrison; Featuring wild Up Ensemble at the LA Opera, and featuring the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) at BRIC In Brooklyn.
Anatomy Theatre was commissioned by Ridge Theater and Beth Morrison Projects; Presented by LA Opera.
Peabody Southwell as Sarah Osborne; Marc Kudisch as Joshua Crouch; Robert Osborne as Baron Peel; Timur Bekbosunov as Ambrose Strang.
The Demo is based on Douglas Engelbart’s historic 1968 demonstration of early computer technology. Engelbart is the most influential figure in the early history of computers and the Internet, inventing what we now take for granted; videoconferencing, hyperlinks, networked collaboration, digital text editing and something called a mouse. The Demo reimagines Engelbart’s historic demonstration as a technologically infused hybrid performance using the video of the original 1968 demo.
Co-Created, Composed, and Performed by Ben Neill and Mikel Rouse; Co-conceived by Ben Neill, Mikel Rouse, and Bob McGrath; Directed by Bob McGrath; Set and Projection Design by Jim Findlay and Jeff Sugg; Sound Design by Christopher Ericson; Produced by ArKtype/Thomas O. Kriegsmann in collaboration with Ridge Theater; Performed at Stanford Live and The Krannert Center For The Performing Arts.
Music by Igor Stravinsky; Performed by The Philadelphia Orchestra; Conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin; Performed at Verizon Hall, Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts; Directed by Bob McGrath; Film by Bill Morrison; Projections by Laurie Olinder.
Sets by Jim Findlay; Lighting by Matt Frey; Costumes by Deb O.; Stage Management by Matt Tierney; Video Programming by Austin Switser; Choreography by Dan Safer.
Featuring Hope Davis, Anna Kichtchenko, Jennie Liu, Kate Moran, Ani Taj Niemann, and Natalie Thomas.
Written by Tennessee Williams; Directed by Bob McGrath; Projections by Laurie Olinder.
Award-winning Playwright Neil LaBute riffs on Wilco in the opening to his fresh adaptation of Georg Buchner’s classic work. An investigation of desire, exploitation and madness, LaBute’s Woyzeck brings a new fire to this canonical tale.
Director Bob McGrath, will reprise his collaboration with Neil LaBute on Mr. LaBute’s free adaptation of Georg Buchner’s Woyzeck with music by Pulitzer prize winning Composer David Lang.
Main Theater, UC Davis.
The Greek myth of Persephone is presented as a nineteenth-century theatrical experience, immersed in the colors of the Hudson River School, then transported through a dense wave of cutting-edge musical and visual technology.
A collaboration by Ben Neill, Mimi Goese, Warren Leight, and Ridge Theater; Directed by Bob McGrath; Music by Ben Neil; Lyrics by Mimi Goese; Book by Warren Leight; Films by Bill Morrison; Projections by Laurie Olinder; Featuring Julia Stiles as Persephone, and Mimi Goese as Demeter; Co-commissioned by BAM, and VA Tech.
Sets by Jim Findlay; Choreography by Dan Safer; Lighting Design by John Ambrosone; Costumes by Jane Alois Stein.
"Persephone, a multimedia production from the Ridge Theater at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, presents a lush feast of imagery for the eye to savor. At its bewitching best, the production evokes a French Neo-Classical painting that has magically bloomed into three dimensions." - Charles Isherwood, The New York Times
A theatrical concert with projections.
Shelter is commissioned by the Next Wave Festival of the Brooklyn Academy of Music, musikFabrik, and Kunststiftung NRW.
Music Composed by Michael Gordon, David Lang, and Julia Wolfe; Libretto by Deborah Artman; Film by Bill Morrison; Projections by Laurie Olinder.
Performed by musikFabrik.
Performed by Trio Mediæval; Set design by Jim Findlay; Costume design by Ruth Pongstaphone; Lighting design by Matt Frey; Sound design by Norbert Ommer; Directed by Bob McGrath.
Ultima | Oslo Contemporary Music Festival.
Funkhaus Wallrafplatz, Klaus-von-Bismarck Saal, Cologne, Germany.
Philharmonie Essen, Alfried Krupp Saal, Essen, Germany.
Brooklyn Academy of Music—2005 Next Wave Festival.
A Comic Book Opera.
Multimedia music theater with words and drawings by Ben Katchor. Based on his comic strip about two buildings with the same footprint in different parts of Manhattan.
OBIE Winner—Best New American Production, 2000.
Words and Drawings by Ben Katchor; Music Composed by Michael Gordon, David Lang, and Julia Wolfe;
Directed by Bob McGrath; Set Design by Fred Tietz; Lighting Design by Howard Thies; Costume Design by Rachel Comey, and Jennifer Cooper; Film by Bill Morrison; Projection Design by Laurie Olinder; Dramaturgy by Daniel Zippi.
Executive Producer Kenny Savelson; Co-Produced by The Kitchen and Bang On A Can; Production Manager Jim Findlay.
Commissioned by the Settembre Music Festival, Italy.
Sung by Theo Bleckmann, Tony Boutté, Katie Geissinger, and Toby Twining.
Performed by John Benthal on Electric Guitar, David Cossin on Percussion, Martin Goldray on Keyboards and Sampler, and Bohdan Hilash on Clarinet.
Royal Court Liverpool.
Kampnagel, Hamburg, Germany.
An environmental symphony with projections.
Symphony by Michael Gordon; Film by Bill Morrison; Projections by Laurie Olinder; Set design by Jim Findlay; Sound design by Norbert Ommer; Directed by Bob McGrath.
World Premiere, November 2001, European Music Month, Basel, Switzerland; Performed by the Basel Sinfonietta; Conducted by Kasper de Roos; Commissioned and Presented by Europäischer Musikmonat; Lighting Design by Richard Hoyes; Produced by Numa Bischof for the Basel Sinfonietta; Produced by Daniel Zippi for Ridge Theater.
American Premiere, September 2004, St. Ann‘s Warehouse, Brooklyn, NY; Performed by Tactus Modern Ensemble; Conducted by Patti Monson; Lighting Design by Matt Frey; Produced by Susan Feldman for Arts at St. Ann‘s; Produced by Bill Morrison for Hypnotic Pictures and Ridge Theater.
January 2007, Angel Orensanz, New York City; Conducted by Patti Monson.
October 2007, deSingel, Antwerp, Belgium; Performed by Vlaams Radio Orkest; Conducted by David Atherton.
Emily Dickinson discovered entire worlds within her imagination. Discerning the gears of the cosmos in the everyday, Dickinson created a new landscape of the interior in writings rich with wonder and fierce with longing. It’s an intriguing duality that forms the heart of Lightning At Our Feet, a multimedia song cycle inspired by the poems of Dickinson, from composer Michael Gordon and Ridge Theater—the creative team behind Decasia (2001). Setting her poems to music and motion, Gordon and Ridge create an environment of restless creativity. Transformed by Bill Morrison’s films, and Laurie Olinder’s projections, rolling screens form rooms onstage both real and metaphoric.
Directed by Bob McGrath with Dramaturgy by Daniel Zippi, four contemporary women channel the poet as they pore over poems, write songs, and contemplate mortality, while receiving dispatches from a distant war. Together, these collaborators create a theatrical prose poem that reimagines Dickinson’s words as songs for our time.
Produced by Michael Gordon and Ridge Theater; Text by Emily Dickinson; Music Composed by Michael Gordon; Films by Bill Morrison; Projections by Laurie Olinder; Dramaturgy by Daniel Zippi; Directed by Bob McGrath.
Musical Arrangements by Michael Gordon in collaboration with Jennifer Charles, Leah Coloff, Ted Hearne, Courtney Orlando, and Bora Yoon; Set Design by Jim Findlay; Costume Design by Ruth Pongstaphone; Lighting Design by John Ambrosone.
Commissioned by the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts at the University of Houston, and BAM for the 2008 Next Wave Festival. Lightning At Our Feet was originally workshopped at Virginia Tech in April 2008.
Produced by Kenny Savelson; Presented by arrangement with Lisa Booth Management, Inc.; Production Stage Management, and Company Management by Sarah Ford; Musical Direction by Ted Hearne; Video Supervision by Austin Switzer; Sound Supervision by Jamie McElhinney; Movement Consultation by Julia Koch.
Conductor Michael Christie’s closing concert of the season features the world premiere Ridge Theater staging of Henryk Gorecki’s Symphony No. 3, Symphony of Sorrowful Songs. Gripping dreamlike visual artistry and hallucinatory film work accompany Gorecki’s prolific prayer for light in the midst of darkness.
Produced by Ridge Theater; Film by Bill Morrison; Projections by Laurie Olinder; Nathalie Paulin, Soprano; Directed by Bob McGrath.
The Sinking Of The Titanic immerses audiences into a rich sonic and visual world that imagines the music of the ship’s orchestra after it submerges through a multimedia theatrical re-visioning of British composer Gavin Bryars’ 1969 score of the same name.
Incorporating new film and video elements, and texts developed by New York’s acclaimed Ridge Theater, Titanic draws from documents relating to the life and legacy of legendary Philadelphia book collector and philanthropist Harry Elkins Widener. This new realization focuses on the passions of collectors, cultural memory, and the tremendous humanistic legacy of Widener, who perished aboard the R.M.S. Titanic in 1912. It would have been his triumphant return to America after hunting down his most coveted book, an exceedingly rare and elusive edition of Sir Francis Bacon’s essays.
The production includes a live electro-acoustic orchestral score, two actors, a full-length silent film, still projections, and surround-sound design. Texts will be adapted from Bacon’s essays and letters from the Widener Archives at the Rosenbach Museum & Library.
Music by Gavin Bryars; Production by Ridge Theater; Film by Bill Morrison; Projections by Laurie Olinder; Voice, Toby Twining; Orchestra of the Boyer College of Music and Dance; Conducted by Thaddeus Squire; Directed by Bob McGrath.
This realization of The Sinking Of The Titanic was co-commissioned by Peregrine Arts and The Boyer College of Music and Dance at Temple University with the generous support of The Philadelphia Music Project, a program of The Pew Charitable Trusts, administered by the University Of The Arts. Additional funding was provided by The Stockton Rush Bartol Foundation and The Argosy Foundation.
The Difficulty Of Crossing A Field is an opera based on an Ambrose Bierce tale about an inquest into the strange disappearance of an Alabama planter just before the Civil War.
Composed by David Lang; Libretto by Mac Wellman; Films by Bill Morrison;Projections by Laurie Olinder; Set Design by Jim Findlay; Costume Design by Ruth Pongstaphone; Lighting Design by Matt Frey; Dramaturgy by Daniel Zippi; Directed by Bob McGrath.
Made possible in part by a grant from the Association of Performing Arts Presenters Ensemble Theatre Collaborations Grant Program, a component of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Theatre Initiative.
The world premiere of a new production of Sophocles’ tragedy, using a score written by, and instruments created by the late avant-garde composer Harry Partch.
Musical Direction by Dean Drummond; Performed by The New Band; Projections by Laurie Olinder; Film by Bill Morrison.
Set Design by Jim Findlay; Lighting Design by Matt Frey; Costume Design by Ruth Pongstaphone; Dramaturgy by Daniel Zippi; Directed by Bob McGrath.
The Alexander Kasser Theater at Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ.
A symphony with projections.
Symphony by Michael Gordon; Film by Bill Morrison; Projections by Laurie Olinder; Directed by Bob McGrath.
Queen Elizabeth Hall, London; Performed by London Sinfonietta; Conducted by Martyn Brabbins.
Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall, New York City; Performed by American Composers Orchestra; Conducted by Steven Sloane.
A multi-media theater work inspired by the life and art of Henry Darger.
2001 Obie Awards for Direction, and Collaborative Design; 2003 Bessie Award for Visual Design.
Written by Mac Wellman; Directed by Bob McGrath; Music by Julia Wolfe; Songs Written by Cynthia Hopkins
Featuring Daniel Zippi as Henry Darger; Storm Sequence Choreography by David Parsons; Visual Design by Laurie Olinder; Film by Bill Morrison; Set by Fred Tietz; Costumes by Pilar Limosner; Lighting by Howard Thies; Sound by Tim Schellenbaum; Special Effects by Ruth Pongstaphone.
Musical Direction by Matt Tierney; Production Stage Manager, Judy Tucker.
January 2004, Tanz Theater, Darmstadt Germany, (International premiere).
January 2003, St. Ann’s Warehouse, Brooklyn.
April 2001, The Kitchen, New York City.
January 2001, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, (World premiere).
Jennie Richee—or Eating Jalooka Fruit Before It’s Ripe is a multi-media theater work concerning the life and art of self-taught artist and writer Henry Darger who served as a menial laborer in Chicago Catholic hospitals for over fifty years creating his works in off hours. The show delves into the wildly fantastic world created by Darger in a 15,000 page narrative entitled, The Story Of The Vivian Girls, In What Is Known As The Realms Of The Unreal, Of The Glandeco Angelinian War Storm, Caused By The Child Slave Rebellion, more than 300 large radiant watercolor paintings, numerous collages, drawings, and studies.
“Exquisite, precisionist direction by Bob McGrath [Darger is] played to perfection by Daniel Zippi … acid, aching and both entirely mad and wholly lucid … alternately cataclysmic and radiant with a candy-colored light, this otherworldly theatrical excursion is the inside of an artist’s mind exposed to the sunlight. Odd, oddly beautiful, and disturbing.”—Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun Times
“Technically impressive, with its intricate film and slide projections … staged
with a fine feeling for theatrical space by Director Bob McGrath … he has conjured up
a dreamlike world, in which the actors seem to float.”
—Richard Christiansen, Chicago Tribune
An opera based on the 1985 hijacking of the cruise ship Achille Lauro.
BAM’s Next Wave Festival, December 2003.
Composed by John Adams; Libretto by Alice Goodman; Performed by The Brooklyn Philharmonic; Conducted by Robert Spano; Directed by Bob McGrath; Films by Bill Morrison; Projections by Laurie Olinder.
The New York Virtuoso Singers; Harold Rosenbaum, Artistic Director.
Lighting Design by Matt Frey; Costumes by Kaye Voyce.
A Play by Mac Wellman.
Directed by Bob McGrath; Projection Design by Laurie Olinder; Set Design by Molly Hughes; Lighting by Jane Cox; Composition and Sound Design Jay Hagenbuckle.
SoHo Rep, New York City.
A silent play with music.
Written by Robert Coover; Thomas Derrah as Charlie; Adapted by Bob McGrath, Ridge Theater, and Robert Brustein; Music by Bill Frisell; Projections by Laurie Olinder; Film by Bill Morrison; Directed by Bob McGrath; Presented by American Repertory Theatre (ART) and Ridge Theater.
Hasty Pudding, Cambridge, MA
A modern opera.
Composed by Michael Gordon; Libretto by Mathew McGuire; Directed by Bob McGrath; Music by Michael Gordon; Projections by Laurie Olinder; Film by Bill Morrison; Dramaturgy by Daniel Zippi.
Co-Presented by The Creation Company and Bang on a Can.
The Kitchen, New York City.
A Play by Susan Sontag.
Directed by Bob McGrath; Projections by Laurie Olinder; Film by Bill Morrison; Stephanie Roth as Alice.
North American Premiere.
Presented by The American Repertory Theatreat the Loeb Drama Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts.