"Due to overwhelming demand from the presenting community," a release states, "it became necessary for the tour's team of producers to make arrangements to mount a second production in order to fulfill their prior commitment to the 12-week sit-down engagement in Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C."
The touring Deaf West Theatre production of the American Sign Language adaptation of Big River kicked off with a five-week stint at San Francisco's Curran Theatre, June 11. Atlanta’s Theater of the Stars, Deaf West Theatre, Dallas Summer Musicals, Gorgeous Entertainment, Houston’s Theater Under the Stars, Boston’s Wang Center for the Performing Arts and Washington, D.C.’s Ford’s Theatre in association with the Center Theater Group/Mark Taper Forum and Roundabout Theatre Company team to present the work at their regional homes and other venues.
The current show is booked through summer of 2005 for stops in Philadelphia, Cleveland, Tucson, New Haven, Tampa, St. Louis, Seattle and Tokyo, Japan. The latter is a collaboration with Hori Pro and Gorgeous Entertainment — the company also teaming with the Roundabout Theatre Company to bring the upcoming revival of Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman's Pacific Overtures to Broadway.
The revival staging of Big River, which uses deaf, hard-of-hearing and hearing actors. In the production, songs and dialogue are both sung and signed with actors doubling as characters — one speaking and singing and one signing.
Jeff Calhoun (Bells Are Ringing, Grease) once again directs and choreographs the musical — with music and lyrics by Roger Miller and book by William Hauptman — based on the novel by Mark Twain. The Broadway run opened at the American Airlines Theatre July 24,2003, to positive reviews. The co-production between Roundabout Theatre Company and Deaf West in association with The Mark Taper Forum ended Sept. 21.
This adaptation of 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.
For more information and a list of dates and venues for the national tour of Big River, visit the Deaf West website at www.deafwest.org.