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May 19, 2003


From: United Press International - May 19, 2003

An American Sign Language adaptation of the musical "Big River, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" is heading to Broadway.

Adapted from Mark Twain's novel, this new production of "Big River" will be directed and choreographed by Jeff Calhoun.

A collaboration of Roundabout Theater Co., Deaf West Theater and the Mark Taper Forum, the musical will include deaf, hard-of-hearing and hearing actors performing with both spoken English and American Sign Language, interweaving music, voice, sign language, dance and storytelling techniques from both hearing and deaf cultures into a unique theatrical event.

"Big River" is a tale of adventure and self-discovery, which begins on a raft on the Mississippi River in the 1840s, where Huck, escaping from his drunken father, meets up with Jim, a runaway slave. The story of their journey downstream is an American classic that captures the rhythms, sounds and spirit of life on the big river. Musical numbers include "Do You Want to Go To Heaven," "Waiting for the Light To Shine," "Hand for the Hog," "Muddy Water," "When the Sun Goes Down in the South" and "Worlds Apart."

Previews begin at Broadway's American Airlines Theatre on July 1, with an official opening of July 24.

The original Broadway production of "Big River" opened on April 25, 1985, at the Eugene O'Neill Theater. Directed by Des McAnuff, the production won seven 1985 Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Book and Best Score.

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