SEPTEMBER 4-7, 2019

Wednesday - Saturday at 8pm

Created and Performed by The HawtPlates (Justin Hicks, Kenita Miller-Hicks, and Jade Hicks)

Art Direction: Breck Omar Brunson, Lighting Design: Hao Bai, Sound Design: Andrew Lulling, Recording Engineer: Ernie Indradat, Stage Manager: Belynda Hardin, Text: Quincy Flowers, Dramaturg: Sunder Ganglani, Production Assistant: Stefania Bulbarella, Producer: Jennifer Harrison Newman

Photo by Chris Myers



The HawtPlates: More a performance trio than a band, The HawtPlates make conceptual live vocal works by breaking down folk and vernacular musical forms and reconstituting them into other modes of performance. In hearing their work, there is a sense that the music is specific to them as a family, and that it can only be made by them. While they maintain that it is “soul music” to that which they are true, they employ highly improvisational means, as well as their own sagacious formulas, to concoct curatives to the symptoms and traumas of being working class citizens in the modern world.  By amassing a pantry of sights, ideals, persons, and places, they produce potent tonics and “one pots” hearkening the spirit of the family heirloom recipe.

Together and individually, The HawtPlates have served as muses of sorts to various artists such as Meshell Ndegeocello, Abigail DeVille, Kaneza Schaal, Charlotte Brathwaite, and have collaborated with the likes of Ahrens and Flaherty, Helga Davis, Cauleen Smith, Steffani Jemison, Reggie "Regg Roc" Gray and The D.R.E.A.M. Ring, Lynn Nottage, Queen Esther and The Harlem Gospel Singers, National Black Theater, The Guthrie Theater, The Public Theater, Performance Space New York, Bruce Weber, and The Park Avenue Armory to name a few.

Breck Omar Brunson (Art Direction) was born to a cosmetologist mother and insurance salesman father just south of Philadelphia in Chester Pennsylvania in 1975.  Although born in the north east he spent most of his young summers with extended family in the south. The contrast of lifestyles has influenced Breck to question his surroundings and his place comparatively within them. Through simple suggestive gestures he finds ways to include his audience in his artwork by giving them just enough to engage while simultaneously provoking consideration of  their own place in his created environments and objects. Breck has a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art with a focus on installation and sculpture. After completing his degree he continued pursuing his art career in white box galleries, public inserted works, and various art fairs. He makes original works as well as uses or manipulates found objects to narrate his presented encounters. He feels that art is happening with and without us at all times and we simply need to isolate any given moment to see the depth and hear the conversation.

Breck is also a builder designer specializing in smaller furniture pieces and decor. He pursues this element of his creativity with the same simplicity and deductive nature. He is also in various music outfits as a writer, vocalist, and producer.

Breck has been invited to numerous places including Kuaui, Mexico City, Los angeles, Chicago and Miami to create original pieces, mostly site specific. Most of his work is ongoing and semi-permanent with an edge of jest that morphs with time and environment. 

Breck currently lives in Philadelphia and continues his poetic art pursuits through any means available.

Hao Bai (Lighting Design) works as a designer & tech in lights, sound & projection. Hao is a resident audio/visual designer at La Mama. Recent credits: Lighting Design: The Tempest (The Gallery Players); Go Forth (Stanford Live, CA); Asian Zombie Moms (LaMama); Shasta Geaux Pop (CAC, Cincinnati); Run! It’s getting ugly (JACK); YNCAST (JACK);Projection Design: Eternal Now (ACC, South Korea), Electronic City (New Stage Theatre); M.Beth (14 Street Y); Animal Magnetism (WuZhen Festival, China), Virgo Star (Ars Nova). Projection & Sound Design: CowboysCowgirls (JACK); American Mill #2 (A.R.T/New York Theatres).Sound Design: Don Quixote Takes New York (Loco7); The Violin (59E59), Gemini Stars/Scorpio Stars (Pioneers Go East Collective), Virgo Cowboy (BAAD!)

Andrew Lulling (Sound Design) has had the opportunity to work closely with dynamic and vibrant musicians and artists, and has engineered past productions such as Robert Wilson’s Zinnias, the life of Clementine Hunter, Robert Whitman’s Passport, Pig Iron Company’s Pay Up, and the Builders Association The Elements of Oz among others. Andrew is also currently production manager and audio engineer for the Peter Sellars and Reggie Roc Grey show FLEXN, produced by the Park Avenue Armory. Andrew recently was the Sound Designer for MAZE at the Shed. When not touring, Andrew is the house audio engineer at BRIC Arts Media, in Brooklyn NY. 

Ernie Indradat (Recording Engineer) is very excited to be collaborating with The HawtPlates for this production of Waterboy and the Mighty World. Ernie is Brooklyn based and is currently involved in many eclectic audio engineering projects including recording, mixing, mastering, live sound, and sound design for WNYC, WFMU, iHeartRadio, Vox Media, The High Line, Simon and Schuster, MLB, among others.  Recent credits include recording and mixing music produced by Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth for the feature documentary, Barbara Rubin and the Exploding NY Underground, and production sound for the live experimental dance piece, Blood Fountain, by A.R.M. as part of the High Line's Out of Line series of events.

Belynda Hardin (Stage Manager) loves her job and is happy to be here at The Bushwick Starr helping to shine the light with HawtPlates! She has worked in Theater and Dance in different capacities for many years, focusing the last 10 years with Stage Management. National Black Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club's Stargate, Foundry Theatre, Crossroads Theatre, American Bard Theatre, The Lark, Lincoln Center Education,  Stage Manager for Festivals; New Black Fest at The Lark, 48 Hours in Harlem-Harlem 9, NYMF  2017, NAMT 2017 Festivals, Going Down To The River Festival at Ensemble Studios, Now Africa Playwrights Festival. NBTF (Winston Salem, NC: Hands Up ,Rain Pryor’s Fried Chicken & Latkes (Production Manager PSM: The Peculiar Patriot (Lincoln Center Education, Paramount Theatre @ Emerson),  The First Deep Breath, The Peculiar Patriot, Crowndation, Serious Adverse Effects, Blood, Sweet, Manhood, Un-Tamed, Zoohouse, Hands Up,  (National Black Theatre) Master ( Foundry Theater)  Stargate @ MTC, American Slave Project and readings @ MTC, The Lark to name a few. ASM: Crossroads Theatre, New Black Fest, Production Manager:  African Film Festival. Prop Master- 125th & FREEdom, The Peculiar Patriot, Dead and Breathing, Carnaval, Hands Up. She is continuing her trajectory to service and support new and developing theatrical projects that bring awareness enlightened, uplift and entertain the people.

Quincy Flowers (Writer) is a writer, who lives in Brooklyn, NY. He holds graduate degrees from creative writing programs at the University of Houston and NYU, where he received a New York Times Fellowship. Other awards include a grant from the Ludwig-Vogelstein Foundation and a residency at the Headlands Center for the Arts. His work has been published in Black Renaissance / Renaissance Noire, and Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic, among others. His writing practice involves a persistent meditation on the value of fiction within societies and cultures, including commercial and political spaces. Drawing from studies of literary fiction, performance, and film, Flowers proposes that imagination made elastic can inhabit one time, while extending to another and back again. This motion stores and accumulates energy that is directed toward new political possibilities.

Stefania Bulbarella (Production Assistant) is an Argentine multidisciplinary artist based in Brooklyn.  Projection Design: Field Awakening (Signature/ Corkscrew), Azul Otra Vez (BRIC), The Revolution (National Sawdust). Director: The Sound in the Throat (Glassbox), Thebes Land (NSD), Venus (Sitio 0), The Man in the Window (Italytime), Ese Animal que Soy a Veces (LATEA) Associate director: Nanas (LATEA),  Field Awakening (Paradise Factory). Assistant Director: Dike -workshop (NYTW), La Négrophilia (Vineyard Theatre), Somos New YorkLas Mariposas (People’s Theatre Project). Studies: BFA in Directing and Creative Technologies - The New School, Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute. www.stefaniabulbarella.com

Sunder Ganglani (Dramaturg) Was Co-producing Artistic Director at The Foundry Theatre before attending graduate school at Yale School of Drama. At The Foundry he commissioned, developed, and produced many new works among them Ariana Reines' TELEPHONE, and most recently W. David Hancock's MASTER. He collaborates across disciplines and is currently working with visual artists Izhar Patkin and Ak Jansen, and composer/musicians Wayne Shorter, Esperanza Spalding, and Rhiannon Giddens. He sits on the board of The Stop Shopping Choir, and sings and screams on the street as well.

Jennifer Harrison Newman (Producer) is a New York based theater artist who works extensively with artists across disciplines pushing the boundaries of dance, opera, and theater. Jennifer has been an artist in residence at Princeton University, Yale University, Central Connecticut State University, The Field, Mabou Mines, Baryshnikov Arts Center, 651 Arts, and Sisters Academy Inkost. Current projects include Triptych(Eyes of One on Another)(International); Angels's Bone (Hong Kong, Beijing); Everything That Rises Must Converge (Chicago, NY); Topologies (GIBNEYNY). Recent site-specific and theatrical work includes: We Were Everywhere (Princeton University); The Infinite Hotel (Prototype Festival); Place (BAM/Next Wave Festival). MFA Yale School of Drama.



Dr. Lisa Thomas, Jonathan McCrory, Mrs. Hilary McDaniel, Aaron Glick, Ms. Lynn Ahrens, Kaneza Schaal, Mamie Miller, Liz Callaway, Dan Gallagher, Becky Oleksa, Tyler Hardwick, Kelli Barrett, Loren Lott, Paul Lazar, Susan Bazela, David Brian Colbert, Rose Navales, Mark Barton, Vitaly Dvo, Nadia Shahbaz, mwaits8900, Brian P. Allen, rdejak, Brucefan1949, Alisa Hurwitz, Carey B., Anthony Jesse White, Lydia DesRoche, Peter Mills, Vladimir Stojnic, Jessica Noll, Justin Scribner, Rona Siddiqui, Tressi Daymon, Charlotte Brathwaite, Nana Mensah, Florence Liebman, Chaelon Costello, Serena Ryen, Elizabeth Burton, Jungwon Kim, Ryan Dejak, John Del Gaudio, Materials for the Arts, Savitri Durkee, Ak Jansen, and the entire Bushwick Starr team for it’s radical support

This project is supported in part by a commission from The Bushwick Starr, and development included a residency at NACL (North American Cultural Laboratory) in Summer 2019 as part of a new long-term partnership with The Bushwick Starr.




“This is the setting of a story we tell when we have to remember what memory and love feel like. When memory and love have a badge and a rifle, everything has changed." - Quincey Flowers

Waterboy and The Mighty World is a culmination of memory and love, a family affair - not just the Hicks family; a family of spirits, legends, and singers who passed their voices on from generation to generation. It’s a collection of lineages of music making, approaches to story telling, and attempts at the invocation of all kinds of spirits.

Imagine that this theater is filled with them, your shoulder to theirs - all of us called together to ask a few questions:

What would justice look like, feel like, sound like - if it were in the process of proclaiming and protecting what it loves instead of killing what it fears?

What does heroism mean right now - to be a hero, to have one, to need one?

How might music and singing take part in bending the world towards justice?



Odetta Holmes:
Martin Luther King Jr. called Odetta “The Queen of American Folk Music.” Her voice was the score for the Civil Rights movement. Her style of singing - its idiosyncrasies and subtle inflections, and pieces of her folk archive are woven like thread through Waterboy.

Bass Reeves:
Bass was the first black deputy U.S. Marshal west of the Mississippi River. During his long career he was credited with arresting more than 3,000 felons - bringing each of them in alive rather then dead. Fragments of his story were used to create Waterboy’s libretto.

The Georgia Sea Island Singers:
An American folk music ensemble from Georgia formed in the early 1900s. Screen captures from an archival video of their performance of “Buzzard Lope” are interspersed in this text. Their performance style was influential in staging Waterboy.

Korean Pansori:
An oral tradition and genre of musical storytelling originated in the 17th century by shamans and street performers. Pansori style singing permeates several musical passages in Waterboy.


We’re grateful for your presence - all of you, visible and invisible alike.

- Sunder Ganglani, Dramaturg