Theater for the New City presents ADA by Demetria Daniels from February 16 to March 5, 2023 at the Johnson Theater, 155 First Avenue, New York, 10003. An evening of extraordinary feminist history, ADA tells the story of a woman who pioneered computer programming. The production stars Tori Jewell as Ada and Eric Kuzmuk as Charles Babbage, Ada’s partner and inventor of the Difference Machine, a mechanical calculator and a proposed Analytical Machine. Joining them are Wasim Azeez, Carl Bindman, Emma Miller, Aaron Moore, Stephanie Jane Moreno and Thomas Shuman as well as seasoned director Robert Leibowitz. Tickets are $18 general admission, and $15 for students and seniors. For more information at to purchase tickets, visit https://theaterforthenewcity.net/shows/ada/.
ADA tells the remarkable story of a remarkable woman who is largely unknown, but worthy of recognition. She and her partner would soon use machinery to do math in ways that, at the time, were visionary if not downright revolutionary. This history-making play unearths the story a truly heroic woman who seems like a saint of science, showing us the struggles and successes of Ada Lovelace Byron long before STEM was an acronym – and what it’s like to be a woman ahead of her time.
“Born a Victorian lady, she changed the course of world history,” playwright Demetria Daniels said. “She’s considered the first woman computer programmer, having created the first algorithm. In doing so, she brought England’s Victorian Age into the Industrial and Digital Ages.”
“What interested me in the material was the fact that Ada Lovelace, one of the founding mothers of the modern computer, existed in the 1840s, not the 1940s, and that I never even heard about her until four weeks ago,” director Robert Liebowitz said. “This play shines a spotlight on a story and a person whose journey, and struggles, are well suited to the stage. Audiences will discover an important story, an overlooked chapter in women’s and someone worthy of being far more than a footnote in feminist history.”
ADA is the story of Ada Lovelace Byron. Born a Victorian lady, she changed the course of world history, credited as being the “first woman computer programmer.” Born in 1840, while England was in the midst of two eras: the Victorian Age of laced-up corsets and bustles, and the Industrial Revolution of new machine inventions, Ada got married, became a mother of three children, and a superb mathematician. So distinguished, she consulted Prince Albert on his 1851 Crystal Palace exhibition.
Her mother tutored her in geometry, trigonometry algebra, logarithms, tangents, geometry and she became a specialist creating the first algorithm, or computer code of zeros and ones.
While developing her mathematical expertise, and writing on Charles Babbage’s Analytical calculating machine, in her brilliant notes she suggested that it could carry out more than just mathematical calculation of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, insisting it could be used as symbols for music geology, history, languages, literature, and all other subjects. In other words, she saw more than numbers in math: She began to realize how math could be used to harness and even control the world, and she played a key role in developing computing and creating code.
Her code is used in every computer worldwide and will advance civilization in generations yet to be born.
As in so many cases of people who are ahead of their time, she suffered as much as she succeeded. She spent most of her very short 36 years in pain: Leech blood- letting, measles, dizzy spells, aches, stomach upsets, opiates, mesmerism and died of uterine cancer, buried next to her Father, Lord Byron.
About Demetria Daniels
About Theater for the New City
THEATER FOR THE NEW CITY was founded in 1970 by Crystal Field to realize clear purposes and goals: to embody the vision of a center for new and innovative theater arts that would be truly accessible to the community and its experimental theater artists, to discover relevant new writing and to nurture new playwrights, to be a bridge between the playwright, experimental theater artist, and the ever-growing audiences in the community, creating spaces where a new vision can breathe and be nourished by a working process not subject to commercial constraints and pressures, creating events and ways in which to bring theater into the community and bring the community into the theater, and involving disadvantaged youngsters in theater arts in order to focus their energies towards creativity and achievement
Now in its 52nd year, THEATER FOR THE NEW CITY is a unique Cultural Institution that has earned a nationwide reputation for its dedication to nurturing established and emerging playwrights who experiment with new forms and to presenting other experimental and developmental theaters with a very active program of Community Art Services and Festivals which continue to expand theater accessibility.
For more information, visit theaterforthenewcity.net.