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We Have Your Backstage Pass To The Making Of A Musical For The Deaf

Deaf West Theatre's production of Spring Awakening is headed to Broadway this fall.

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We got an exclusive behind-the-scenes look into Deaf West Theatre's incredibly complex and innovative production of Spring Awakening, which is headed to Broadway in the Fall of 2015.

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Deaf West Theatre is a premiere deaf theater company based in Los Angeles.

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Their recent production of the Tony Award-winning Best Musical, Spring Awakening, performed simultaneously in American Sign Language and spoken English, is headed to Broadway this fall.

Choreographer Spencer Liff seamlessly incorporated actor-driven cues that are derived from basic, everyday movements.

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"It's the most complicated piece and the part that the audience doesn't notice at all."

Daniel Durant, a deaf actor who plays Moritz Stiefel depends on these visual cues.

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"...because I cannot hear a single thing. Not the tiniest little sound - no beats, no music, nothing."

Alex Boniello, is a hearing actor and the singing voice of Daniel's character, Moritz Stiefel.

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"There is kinda this one-second delay - so, i'll lift my head, they know one second after that to start their sign.

DJ Kurs is the Artistic Director for Deaf West Theatre.

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"Music is not an art form that's typically available to the Deaf community, so in this production, we're not just bringing sign language to hearing people, we are bringing musicals into the Deaf community as well." He continues, "One thing that we work really hard to do is bring the emotion that's in the fabric of the musical and the story into the language that we use to perform the music."

Linda Bove, the Sign Language Supervisor works with hearing members of the production team to match the translation to the music.

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"In the translation process, you've got to match the rhythm. The composer wrote a certain rhythm into these lines, say, four beats to a line - how are we gonna find a sign language translation that matches that rhythm smoothly? As a deaf person, I've never heard music before, so I depend on the hearing members of our team. Once we understand from them how the music goes, we try to find an equivalent."

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