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September 9, 2003

Personal Captioning System (TM) Makes Live Theatre Truly Accessible to the Deaf

From: PRNewswire (press release) - Sep 9, 2003

New Device Provides Access to All Performances ... From Any Seat in the House

NEW YORK, Sept. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Until now deaf theatre patrons have had
access to live theatre limited to a few signed or captioned performances,
possibly restricting their ability to attend.
To make all performances accessible, Sound Associates, Inc. has developed
the Personal Captioning System (TM) a hand-held wireless, color monitor that
displays dialog and lyrics in text in real time from any seat in the house.
It's already in use in Broadway's "Big River."
"The PCS offers deaf theatre patrons the option of following onstage
dialogue and song lyrics conveniently and unobtrusively," said T. Richard
Fitzgerald, president of Sound Associates, Inc. and designer of the system.
"We're committed to expanding access for everyone to enjoy live theatre and
the Personal Captioning System is another tool to achieve that goal."
The Personal Captioning System (PCS) was introduced to the public for Deaf
West and Roundabout's Broadway Musical "Big River" at the American Airlines
Theatre, and will travel with the touring company of the show. It displays
dialogue and song lyrics word-for-word as the play progresses. In theatres
with the PCS system, patrons merely request the device in the theatre lobby
and take it to whatever seat they happen to have. Thanks to a polarized
filter, nearby patrons are not distracted by light or moving text.
The PCS features the Captioner(TM), a 4" X 4" wireless color video monitor
contained in a leather case that can be used in any seat by patrons unable to
hear the performance. The captions are automated and synchronized with the
show's lighting cues to accommodate pacing variations from performance to
T. Richard Fitzgerald received a 1980 "Tony" for his design of the widely
used Infrared Listening System(TM) to aid hearing impaired patrons. He
designed the sound for numerous Broadway shows including "Annie; 42nd Street;
Zorba; The King And I; Beauty And The Beast; Peter Pan;" and the current
production of "Little Shop Of Horrors."
Sound Associates, Inc. was founded in 1946 by Thomas Fitzgerald, a pioneer
in the field of sound and sound design, who was posthumously awarded a Tony
for 'Outstanding Theatrical Achievement'.
His legacy continues today through the work of his sons, Peter and T.
Richard Fitzgerald, both Broadway sound designers. For over fifty years Sound
Associates has been supplying sound equipment to the performance industry,
offering the best in assistive listening for professional or personal use and
is synonymous with infrared listening as it is known today.

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