Ziegfeld Theater adapts to COVID-19; ASL production streamed online

Local News

OGDEN, Utah (ABC4 News) – Like may other businesses, the Ziegfeld Theater in Ogden is closed due to COVID-19. ABC4.com’s Jordan Verdadeiro shares with us how the cast of Newsies, an American Sign Language production that would be showing in the theater, is adapting to the times.

The Ziegfeld Theater is usually packed right now, but because of the COVID-19 the seats are being filled on a different platform.

It all started with an idea to be more inclusive, that grew into much more.

“The show is in American Sign Language and English, so every script to the word is said and sung, but all the actors also use American Sign Language,” said Executive Director of Ziegfeld Theater and director of Newsies, Caleb Parry.

Parry said the show has three lead actors who are deaf and 90 percent of the cast had to learn ASL for the production.

“Newsies is an entire show, about a people, trying to be heard. Everything that’s happening right now, especially with corona out there and all of that, there’s a lot of change happening right now and originally for us, that meant helping the deaf, or hard of hearing community, get heard more or have more opportunity,” said Parry.

After selling out seats and being forced to close, the organizations who hold the rights to the story reached out and gave permission for them to stream the show.

 “The stream has been amazing it does allow us to reach a broader audience, one of the amazing things is we have had schools writing to us saying, ‘hey we want to see this production,’ and before all of this happened there was no way to actually legally have a way for them to watch,” said Parry.

Parry and his team has given their own definition to inclusivity. He said the theater has grown into a barrier free-zone with no discrimination.

“It’s been amazing to watch those barriers just be completely shattered by this cast just loves everybody,” said Parry.

Parry sa tidhe online streaming opportunity has opened virtual doors for the theater. In the Ziegfeld Theater where only a couple hundred seats could be filled, now hundreds of people can watch, no matter where they are.

The stream’s only going to be available until April 5, so if you want to watch the production go to https://www.zigarts.com/newsies-stream-new.

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