Deaf West Theatre Takes Big River On The Road; North American Tour Set for Summer 2004

News   Deaf West Theatre Takes Big River On The Road; North American Tour Set for Summer 2004
Deaf West Theatre will produce a North American tour of their current Broadway hit, the American Sign Language adaptation of Big River, a production spokesperson confirmed.

The staging which uses deaf, hard-of-hearing and hearing actors will be launching the tour in the summer of 2004. There is no official word on casting, dates or cities as of yet.

The Broadway run, which opened at the American Airlines Theatre July 24 to positive reviews, recently extended one week. The co-production between Roundabout Theatre Company and Deaf West in association with The Mark Taper Forum will end Sept. 21. There has been talk that the show will transfer to another Broadway house.

Jeff Calhoun (Bells Are Ringing, Grease) directs and choreographs the musical — with music and lyrics by Roger Miller and book by William Hauptman — based on the novel by Mark Twain. Steven Landau serves as musical director.

In the production, set on a stage of pages from the novel upon which it is based, songs and dialogue are both sung and signed with actors doubling as characters — one speaking and singing and one signing.

This Big River was originally produced at the Deaf West Theatre in North Hollywood, California in 2001. It then transferred to the larger Mark Taper Forum in 2002. The staging won six Los Angeles Ovation Awards and five Los Angeles Drama Critics' Circle Awards including Best Musical for both. Tyrone Giordano makes his Broadway debut in the role he originated at the Deaf West Theatre and reprised for the Mark Taper Forum run. Voicing the role of Huck and playing Mark Twain is Dan Jenkins — who was Tony nominated for his turn as Huck in the original 1985 production of the Roger Miller-William Hauptman musical.

Tickets for Big River, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn at the AA Theatre, 227 West 42 Street, are available through (212) 719-1300. For more information, visit

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