Current Projects

 

Musicals

 

Agent 355

Concept by Preston Max Allen and Jessica Kahkoska
Music, Lyrics, and Book by Preston Max Allen
Book and Dramaturgy by Jessica Kahkoska   
Direction by Estefanía Fadul
Musical Direction by Madeline Smith

The Culper Spy Ring famously helped George Washington win the American Revolution, but there’s one secret they never revealed; the identity of their  single f emale member , Agent 355 . Now, an allfemale/TGNC punk-rock band will reveal the truth about the unknown woman that helped America’s first spy ring “outwit them all.”

Challenging a history written by men, Agent 355 explores the loyalty, heritage, and courage of six real Revolutionary women whose stories, sacrifices, and secrets shaped the nation

In 2017, Agent 355 received the Marion International Fellowship for the Visual and Performing Arts, and was originally developed in residence at the Chautauqua Institution.

In 2018, Agent 355 was workshopped at the UCROSS Foundation, Village Theatre, various NYC workshops, and through a Musical Theatre Factory Developmental Residency at Playwrights Horizons. 

In June 2019, Agent 355 was selected for a Roundabout Theatre Company Space Jam Residency, in partnership with Bucks County Playhouse.

In August 2019, Agent 355 appeared in Chautauqua Theater Company's 2019 Season as a New Play Workshop, funded by the Roe Green Foundation. 

Agent 355 was selected for a 2019 American Antiquarian Society Fellowship for Creative and Performing Artists and Writers, upcoming November 2019.

Press:
Secret Agent Woman: ‘Agent 355’ Writers Preston Max Allen and Jessica Kahkoska
Celebrate Women’s History Month with MTF Videos of Agent 355
November 2018 Developmental Residency at Musical Theatre Factory
September 2018: Marion Fellows Lecture at SUNY Fredonia
May 2018 Concert at (l)PR
Marion Fellowship in Chautauquan Daily
Marion Fellowship Awarded in May 2017
Marion International Fellowship for the Visual and Performing Arts

Above: August 2019 New Play Workshop at Chautauqua Theater Company
Below: May 2018 concert at (le) Poisson Rouge, NYC


Letters to the President

 

Conceived by Michael Bello and Jessica Kahkoska
Directed by Michael Bello
Dramaturgy / Letter Curation by Jessica Kahkoska
Music Direction by Patrick Sulken

The act of writing a letter has been a way for Americans to share their most personal hopes, concerns, and dreams with the occupants of our nation’s highest office since its founding.

"Letters to the President" reimagines an archival canon of letters through new music by multiple musical theatre composers. Each new song is inspired by an actual letter to a U.S. president curated from the National Archives and private collections from across the country. Spanning topics including western expansion, World Wars I and II, space exploration, and the civil rights movement, Letters to the President offers a powerful look at the American dream.

“Letters to the President” features songs by Anna K. Jacobs, Ben Wexler, Dawn Avery, Elliah Heifetz, Emily Gardner Xu Hall, The Lobbyists, Madeline Myers, Mark Sonnenblick, Naomi Matlow & Teresa Lotz, Nick Blaemire, Preston Max Allen, Rona Siddiqui, Ronvé O’Daniel & Jevares Myrick, Simone Allen, Will Van Dyke & Jeff Talbot, and Zack Zadek.

Letters to the President premiered at the Great Hall at Cooper Union, as part of the Cooper Union’s Spring 2019 Free and Public programming. The evening’s guest letter readers were MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell, ACLU National Legal Director David Cole, actress Piper Perabo, investigative journalist Suki Kim, The Smithsonian Institution National Museum of the American Indian's Mandy Van Heuvelen, producer Rob Long, and renowned presidential historian David Eisenbach, Ph.D.

Press:
Photo Flash: Inside LETTERS TO THE PRESIDENT, A New Multi-Composer Song Cycle
Andrew Chappelle, Whitney Bashor And More Join Letters to the President At Cooper Union
Letters to the President at Cooper Union Announces Composer Line-Up
Broadwayworld.com: Letters to the President Comes to Cooper Union on April 8
AM New York: Musicians to share Americans' 'Letters to the President' at The Cooper Union

All Photos by Marget Long, The Cooper Union, 2019


The death of desert rose

Music and Lyrics by Elliah Heifetz
Book by Jessica Kahkoska

More info coming soon!

The Death of Desert Rose will be developed as part of the 2019-2020 Dramatist Guild Foundation Fellowship

 

Plays

 

In Her bones

By Jessica Kahkoska
With story collaboration and research support by various individuals and organizations in Denver, Trinidad, Antonito, Taos, and more.

When an unexpected blizzard forces Berkeley freshman Mia to wait out the storm at a rural highway gas station/ general store/ laundromat/ tow shop in Southern Colorado, she’s forced to confront a past that she is both fleeing and seeking out. As she shares family memories with store owner Moises to pass the time, another world creeps in-- one of shadows, forgotten prayers, and secrets hiding right in plain sight.

In Her Bones explores the complicated legacy of crypto-Judaism in the Southwest, illuminating an unlikely, alpine tale of secrecy, faith, fear and how we pass on stories when written records are too dangerous to keep.

Driven by a community-engaged, oral history-based research process in Colorado and New Mexico, In Her Bones explores if our identities and rituals rise from land where we spend our days, are inherited in the ancient stories of our blood, or are learned in the motions of mothers at sunset and overheard songs of grandparents.

In November 2018, In Her Bones (formerly titled THE UNTITLED CRYPTO-JUDAISM PROJECT) received the 2019 Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) “Powered By Off-Center” Residency.

In May 2019, In Her Bones was the subject of an academic talk and conversation with Dr. Seth Ward at the 2019 Western Jewish Studies Association Conference, titled “Constructing Hybrid Jewish and Non-Jewish Identities.”

In July 2019, Jessica was selected as Writer-in-Residence at Southern Colorado Repertory Theatre for the continued development of the project.

In October 2019, Jessica was invited to Denver University as an Arts & Humanities Marsico Visiting Scholar, and the Department of Theatre and Department of Judaic Studies presented a reading of In Her Bones.

In February 2020, In Her Bones will appear in the Colorado New Play Summit at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

Press:

2020 Colorado New Play Summit plays and playwrights Announced
In Her Bones Table Reading at Denver University
Southern Colorado Repertory Theatre Announces 2019 Writer-In-Residence: Jessica Kahkoska
New Legends Magazine: Shedding Light on Colorado Stories Through Theatre
Pueblo Chieftain: Arts Center Study Focuses on Crypto-Jews in the San Luis Valley
5280 Magazine, Best Colorado Events, April 2019
DCPA News Desk: ‘Powered by Off-Center’ is Empowering Artists’ Dreams
DCPA News Desk: DCPA Selects First Two Projects for New Artist Residency Program
Broadwayworld.com

 

Wild home: an american odyssey 

By Jessica Kahkoska
Created with Notch Theatre Company
Directed by Ashley Teague
With Support from the Wilderness Society   

Wild Home: An American Odyssey is a multi-community theatre project that creates original short plays and public performances documenting the experiences of local citizens and stakeholders in 15 areas across the US under serious threat from the oil and gas leasing on Public Lands.

The program is active in the North Fork of the Gunnison region of Colorado and is intended to explore and deepen the conversation around protecting wilderness spaces and Public Lands at a grassroots level and on a national, policymaker scale.   

In 2018 “Wild Home” received a residency at the Taft-Nicholson Center for the Arts and Humanities at the University of Utah.

In 2019, “Wild Home” was presented in partnership with the North Fork Valley Creative Coalition at Delicious Orchards in Hotchkiss, Colorado.

Wild Home is made possible, in part, through a grant from the Network of Ensemble Theaters’ Travel & Exchange Network (NET/TEN), supported by lead funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Click here to learn more about the project.

Above: Wild Home in Performance: April 19, 2019 at Delicious Orchards, Hotchkiss, CO. Performance photos by Jim Brett

Below: Wild Home Community Table Read and Talkback, December 2018, Paonia, Colorado


Nia

Adaptation by Jessica Kahkoska
Directed by Sarah Wansley
With Music and Lyrics by Tommy Wansley               

Inspired by Iphigenia et Aulis, Nia reimagines the story of Iphigenia’s sacrifice closer to home, in a rural Applachian town governed by fundamental religious rules and a blue collar military tradition. With an original folk score by Tommy Crawford, Nia delves into a dark, coastal world of military fervor, Pentecostal snake handling, kudzu vine, porch gossip, and sweet tea, all with an ancient, mythic violence lurking beneath the surface.

Was there indeed a miracle at Aulis, or just hysteria and violence? What story will we choose to believe?

Nia is the recipient of a 2018 FIRST STAGE residency at the Drama League. 

Check out Nia on NPX here.

 

Past Projects

 

Discount Ghost Stories

Concept and Book by Jessica Kahkoska and Alexander Sage Oyen
Music and Lyrics by Alexander Sage Oyen
Additional/ Adapted Text and Archival Research by Jessica Kahkoska
Developed with and Directed by Austin Regan

Discount Ghost Stories is a rock theatre band that conceptualizes dark American legends into multimedia concerts and albums. Discount Ghost Stories brings the “tall tales around the campfire” tradition to the 21st century, combining rock music, archival research, dark Americana lore, and immersive theatre into an electrifying rock séance with an irreverent vintage feel.

Discount Ghost Stories has been developed and presented at the American Musical Theatre Project (AMTP) at Northwestern University, Barn Arts Collective, Ars Nova ANT FEST, and Joe’s Pub at the Public Theatre.

Press:
Broadway World 6/23/2017
Broadway World 1/27/2017
Broadway World 1/18/2017
Broadway World 2/7/2019
Broadway World 10/31/16
Playbill.com 10/31/16
Broadway World 5/6/16
Northwestern University Theatre 5/131/16

"Silver Moonlight" @ Joe's Pub, 1/23/17
DISCOUNT GHOST STORIES
Video recorded by Micah Joel

"Heaven Is Our Home" @ Joe's Pub, 1/23/17
DISCOUNT GHOST STORIES
Video recorded by Micah Joel

"From The Top Of His Hill" @ Joe's Pub, 1/23/17
DISCOUNT GHOST STORIES
Video recorded by Micah Joel