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UCLA Hosts "Big River And Beyond"
Posted by Irena Taylor on Feb 5, 2014 - 4:40:10 PM

Big River was first performed in ASL by Deaf West in 2003.
LOS ANGELES—On February 8, UCLA’s Schoenberg Hall will be hosting Deaf West Theatre's “ Big River and Beyond.” The musical is based on Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” The play first premiered on Broadway on April 25, 1985, according to The Broadway Musical Home. The play details Huckleberry Finn’s run from home along a river. On his journey, Finn is accompanied by a runaway slave, Jim, who longs for his freedom.  


The performance will include Deaf West’s own Michael Arden, Linda Bove, Jeff Calhoun, Tyrone Giordano, Steven Landau, Michael McElroy, Bill O’Brien, Gwen Stewart, and Ed Waterstreet; who performed in the original Tony Award winning performance of " Big River" in 2004.


Canyon News spoke with Barbara Van Nostrand, a Student Affairs Officer of the UCLA Musicology and Humanities Department and Raymond Knapp, a professor of Musicology at UCLA for more information about the event.


Knapp told Canyon News  the Beyond aspect of the “Big River and Beyond” was not only introducing the Tony Award winning performance of “Big River,” but taking a look at the “future directions for deaf musical theater, including a musical currently under development.” The ASL adaption of “ Big River” has been performed since 2003, “First by Deaf West, which went to Broadway and then to a national tour. That version has also been done in repertory.”


Knapp told Canyon News that “ Big River” was an ideal play to perform by Deaf West “because of its themes [”“ being based on Huckleberry Finn ”“ it] provides a thematic parallel, and because it includes 2 references to deafness.”


Van Nostrand noted that, “There will be a panel with a few of the actors, Director, and Musical Director from the Broadway production of “ Big River,” as well as the Current and Past Director of the Deaf West Theatre. There will be three musical performances and also a Q and A at the end of the event.”


She confirmed the performance would be for both deaf/Hard of Hearing and their hearing counterparts. The performance will start at 9:30 a.m. and end at 11:30 a.m. Saturday morning at 1100 Schoenberg Music Building at the UCLA Campus.


The event is free to attend. Those with questions or comments about the performance are encouraged to the contact the Department of Musicology at (310) 206-5187 or to email Barbara Van Nostrand at 


Cliffside Malibu




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