Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Deaf High School Musical

I saw this on the news tonight, and I thought it was so neat. A school in Florida put on a production of "West Side Story". The school is the county's main school for deaf and hard of hearing students, so quite a few deaf students tried out for the musical. Then the drama teacher decided to take a different approach to the story:
"What's inherent in the script is that we have a clash of two cultures," Zembuch said. "The original production is a clash between the Puerto Ricans and the Americans. In this production, we have a clash of not only the Puerto Ricans and the Americans but also the deaf and the hearing."
He adapted the story so that the Jets are hearing and most of the Sharks are deaf, including Maria. Two girls actually played Maria, one girl as the deaf Maria, and the other girl as her voice. Sign language was woven into the choreography, and a hearing boy learned sign language so he could play a deaf boy. The production cost $43,000 and the students had to raise it all with candy sales, car washes, program sponsors, ticket sales, auto parts franchises, whatever it took.

I probably haven't explained it very well, but it was really amazing. Watch the video and read the whole story here, and you'll see what I mean.


  1. That is really neat! It must be amazing to watch.

  2. I totally agree! This is amazing! It must have taken so much effort and taught so many lessons in the process! I live in Washington so going to see the show is not realistic but I would love to see it! I hope that this is a sign of what is to come in the deaf community and the hearing community.... possibly understanding of eachother???

  3. It's neat to see a play adapted in a unique way. How ironic though, that the video isn't captioned!

  4. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.




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