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Performance & Discussion of Visible Language—a World Premiere Musical in American Sign Language and in English at WSC Avant Bard in Washington, DC—Sunday 16 November 2014

The WSC Avant Bard theatre company and the Gallaudet University Theatre and Dance Program presented Visible Languagea world premiere musical, performed in American Sign Language and English, about the 1890s culture war that changed the life of every Deaf person in America livestreamed on the global, commons-based peer-produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Sunday 16 November 2014, at 11 a.m. PST (San Francisco) / 1 p.m. CST (Chicago) / 2 p.m. EST (Washington, DC). 

The performance will be followed by a discussion with members of the creative team. In Twitter, use #howlround.


Captions are available here

Visible Language is a world premiere, Helen Hayes Award Recommended© musical with book and lyrics by Mary Resing and music by Andy Welchel. Performed in American Sign Language and English, the show tells the true story of the 1890s culture war when two powerful and egotistical men—Alexander Graham Bell and Edward Miner Gallaudet—clashed over how the Deaf should be taught to communicate. The outcome of that contest, vividly dramatized in sign and song in Visible Language, changed the life of every Deaf person in America.

The performance runs about one hour 50 minutes, after which there will be a discussion with members of the creative team.

Visible Language is directed by Tom Prewitt with musical direction by Elisa Rosman. Complete credits and cast and creative/production team bios can be found in the Visible Language program, which can be downloaded as a PDF available here.

Various locales around Washington, DC, during a week and a half in the 1890s.


Prologue: A busy Washington, DC, street corner, “What Did You Say?” (Company)

Scene One:  U.S. House of Representatives Committee Room, “Give Me a Sign” (Company)

Scene Two: The B&O Train Station, “We’re Here. Where Are We Going?” (Helen Keller & Anne Sullivan)

Scene Three: The Cosmos Club, “Century of Innovation” (Alexander Graham Bell, Edward Miner Gallaudet & Company)

Scene Four: The Bell household

Scene Five: A lecture hall at Kendall Green, “Need to Communicate” (Ennals Adams & Kendall Green Students)

Scene Six: Bell’s office, “Nothing Sweller Than Helen Keller,” I (Alexander Graham Bell, Ennals Adams & Company)

Scene Seven: An office in the Washington Post building

Scene Eight: Kendall Green board meeting, “Money” (Edward Miner Gallaudet, Professor Fay, Professor Berk, Ennals Adams, Rep. Randall & Company)

Scene Nine: Bell’s office, “Nothing Sweller Than Helen Keller,” II (Alexander Graham Bell, Ennals Adams & Company)

Scene Ten: The Bell household, “I Have My Own World” (Helen Keller & Company)

Scene Eleven: Kendall Green/Bell household/Office of House of Representatives, “Speech Is a Gift” (Edward Miner Gallaudet, Alexander Graham Bell, Mabel Bell & Company)

Scene Twelve: Bell’s office, “Nothing Sweller Than Helen Keller,” III (Alexander Graham Bell, Ennals Adams & Company)

Scene Thirteen: The White House, “We as Women, Educated” (Carrie Harrison, Mabel Bell, Mary Cannon, Anne Sullivan, Helen Keller, Eliza, Freddy & Company)

Scene Fourteen:  U.S. House of Representatives Committee Room, “What Did You Say?” (Reprise) (Mabel Bell, Ennals Adams, Edward Miner Gallaudet, Alexander Graham Bell & Company)

Scene Fifteen: The Geographic Society meeting at the Bell house

Finale: “I Want to Communicate” (Company)

Book and Lyrics by Mary Resing

Music by Andy Welchel

Directed by Tom Prewitt

Music Direction by Elisa Rosman

Lisa Anne Bailey | Carrie Harrison

Tom Baldridge  | Edward Miner Gallaudet

Adam Bartley  | Dr. Edward Fay

Mikey Cafarelli  |  Rep. Joseph Cannon

John Cartwright II  | Sam, a Kendall Green student

Tyresha Collins | May,  a Kendall Green student

Lewis Freeman  | Samuel Randall

Kari Ginsburg*  | Mabel Bell

Brady Humphrey  | Adolf,  a Kendall Green student

Harv Lester  | Alexander Graham Bell

Aarron Loggins |  Ennals Adams Jr.

Jose Martinez |  Jacob,  a Kendall Green student

Miranda Medugno |  Helen Keller

Sarah Anne Sillers |  Anne Sullivan

Emily Stemper  | Laura Redden Searing

Jaclyn Young  | Mary Cannon

*Member, Avant Bard Acting Company

Alex Aucoin  | Drums

Mitch Bassman, Lindsay Williams  | Reeds

Meagan Frame, Rick Netherton |  Bass

Elisa Rosman |  Piano/Conductor

Stage Manager | Kathryn Dooley

Scenic Designer | Ethan Sinnott

Lighting Designer | Annie Wiegand

Assistant Lighting Designer | Casey Analco 
Master Electrician | Alex Keen

Costume Designer | Elizabeth Ennis

Assistant Costume Designer | Lauren Lentini

Sound Designer | Neil McFadden

Choreography  |Tyler Herman

Choreography for “I Want to Communicate” | Kriston Pumphrey

Properties Designer | Kevin Laughon

Production Manager | Lena Salins

Director of Artistic Sign Language  | Aaron Kubey

Visual Dramaturg  | Willy Conley

Assistant Directors | Charlie Ainsworth, Tyler Herman

Assistant Stage Manager | Victoria LeBlanc

Technical Director  | Jacob Fisher

Assistant Technical Director | Nate Eubanks

Avant Bard Producer | Tom Prewitt

Gallaudet Producer | Ethan Sinnott

Gallaudet Theatre Department Coordinator | Juanita Cebe

Tom Prewitt | Artistic Director

Visible Language is a joint production of the WSC Avant Bard theatre company and the Gallaudet University Theatre and Dance Program, commemorating the 150th anniversary of Gallaudet University and the 25th anniversary of Avant Bard.

Livestreamed as performed 16 November 2014, in the Eastman Studio Theatre, Elstad Annex, Gallaudet University, 800 Florida Avenue NE, Washington, DC 20002.

About HowlRound TV
HowlRound TV is a global, commons-based peer produced, open access livestreaming and video archive project stewarded by HowlRound, a knowledge commons by and for the theatre, arts, and cultural community. The channel is at howlround.tv and is a free and shared resource for live events and performances relevant to the world's live arts fields. Its mission is to break geographic isolation, promote resource sharing, and to develop our knowledge commons collectively. Follow and use hashtag #howlround in Twitter to participate in a community of peers revolutionizing the flow of information, knowledge, and access in our field. Our community uses the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0). You can become a producer and co-produce with us. Learn more by going to our participate page. For any other queries, contact @HowlRound on Twitter, email tv@howlround.com, or call Vijay Mathew at +1 917.686.3185 Signal/WhatsApp. View the video archive of past events.

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