|Big River Rides High At Taper|
LOS ANGELES -- The
production of BIG RIVER marks the first time in its 35-year history that
the Mark Taper Forum has mounted a show that was first done at an Equity-waiver
theatre. Even more remarkable is the fact that BIG RIVER is the work of
Deaf West, the first permanent professional resident theatre for the deaf,
hard of hearing and hearing in the Western United States.
Within a decade, Deaf West became one of the best little theatre companies in L.A., as evidenced by the many awards it has won and by the loyal audience it has built among both the hearing and non-hearing. In 2002 Deaf West's Big River was named Outstanding Production by the L.A. Drama Critics Circle and it is this production that has been remounted by the Taper, beefed up by the Taper's financial resources, resulting in much more elaborate sets, costumes and lighting, plus some helpful cast changes.
Big River is not
an original work by Deaf West. With music & lyrics by Roger Miller,
book by William Hauptman, Big River, an adaptation of "The Adventures
of Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain, won a Tony Award in the mid-80s
and has been widely produced around the USA. Miller's music is superb
and Hauptman's book doesn't shy away from Huck's painful confrontation
with slavery, though of course the show is mostly an upbeat entertainment
(Mark Taper Forum, 135 N. Grand Ave., call (213) 628-2772. Deaf community, TDD (213) 680-4017, NOTE: there is a strong possibility that BIG RIVER transfer to Broadway in early 2003).