Before Marlee Matlin there was Phyllis Frelich, winner of the 1980 Best Actress Tony Award for Children of a Lesser God. Matlin, also deaf, got the movie role -- and many others, but Frelich has continued to work in the theatre.
Her latest project is Brilliant Traces, which she's directing for Deaf West Theatre Company in Los Angeles. The show, a 1989 hit at Off Broadway's now-defunct Circle Repertory, began previewed Jan. 29, opens Feb. 1 and runs to March 1.
Cindy Lou Johnson's comedy/drama traces the romance of Henry and Rosannah, a man and woman stuck in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness. Anthony Natale and Jackie Roth play the couple in this mounting, done in American Sign Language with voice interpretation and supertitles for hearing audiences.
Designing the show are Robert Steinberg (set), Ken Booth (lighting), and Maro Parian (costumes).
For tickets ($15-$20) and information on Brilliant Traces at Deaf West Theatre Company, call (213) 660-5673 (voice) or (213) 660-8826 (TDD). The troupe's next show will be William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, adapted and directed by Elina deSantos.
In other Deaf West Theatre news, the company has been negotiating to lease a new theatre in North Hollywood. So far, it's been unable to secure the property and will remain where it is for the first part of 1998. Deaf West left its old home at the Fountain Theatre in 1993 and moved to its present site at 660 N. Heliotrope Drive in Los Angeles.
Deaf West Theatre is a permanent resident theatre company comprised of deaf, hard of hearing and hearing actors. All performances are presented in American Sign Language with simultaneous spoken English translation.