I kept all the Playbills of the shows I had seen over the years because they represented a triumph - to be able to attend a Broadway show, without missing a word - a mission that I had spearheaded back in the 1990's. Although I hadn't looked at these Playbills in years - they were stashed away in a box - I knew what was in that stack - the Playbill from the very first Open Captioned Broadway performance - Barrymore, a one-man show starring Christopher Plummer - on Wednesday, September 24, 1997. And it turned out that I had saved two copies of this Playbill! Here's what it looked like:
Program Notes about TDF and the people who helped make this captioned performance happen. Note my name mentioned, recognizing my "advocacy and perseverence"!
This is such a significant find - as it documents a milestone in captioning advocacy and accommodations for people with hearing loss. And it also represents a dream of my own - to be able to walk through Times Square late at night, carrying a Playbill - a souvenir of a wonderful theater experience - just like everyone else.
The New York Times ran an article about this event, entitled "Device Opens the Theatre to the Deaf" , published on September 16, 1997.
My second book, Listening Closely: A Journey to Bilateral Hearing (Charlesbridge/Imagine 2011), contains a brief history of captioned live theatre advocacy, on pages 24-25. Click here to access the Amazon website for the book, and click on the "Look Inside" feature to find the excerpt.