The Pasadena Playhouse and Deaf West Theatre are currently presenting a new production of Thornton Wilder’s OUR TOWN, directed by Tony Award-nominated Sheryl Kaller. This groundbreaking co-production is performed in both American Sign Language (ASL) and spoken English. The performances will run through Oct. 22, 2017.
It’s hard to pinpoint the genre that OUR TOWN belongs to. It’s not a comedy (although it has plenty of humorous moments), and it’s not a tragedy or (only) a love story. Rather, OUR TOWN is a description of the cycles of the human experience. It is set in Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire, starting in 1901 and ending in 1913.
The highlight of this production is the smooth fusion of spoken English with ASL. The cast of OUR TOWN is composed by 18 talented actors, both deaf and hearing, including acclaimed actress Jane Kaczmarek, who stars as the Stage Manager. (You may know her for her seven years in the Emmy Award-winning TV series Malcolm in the Middle.)
Fusing spoken English with ASL for an entire play is no easy task and it is only obvious that it requires intense collaboration and concentration. Previous works adapted to ASL by Deaf West Theatre (BIG RIVER: THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN and SPRING AWAKENING) started on the West Coast and then moved to Broadway and to garner various Tony Awards. It will come as no surprise if this new effort ends likewise on tour and on Broadway after this run at the Pasadena Playhouse.
OUR TOWN performs through Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017. The schedule is Tuesday to Friday evenings at 8:00 p.m.; Saturday at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. and Sunday at 2:00. Tickets for OUR TOWN are $25 – $92 and available online at PasadenaPlayhouse.org, by phone at 626-356-7529, or by visiting the theater’s box office located at 39 South El Molino Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101. For more information on all productions at Pasadena Playhouse visit PasadenaPlayhouse.org.
Photo: Deric Augustine and Sandra Mae Frank in OUR TOWN at Pasadena Playhouse / Credit: Jenny Graham/ used with permission
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