PRESS RELEASE: “TAP (TDF’s ACCESSIBILITY PROGRAMS) ANNOUNCES UPCOMING OPEN CAPTIONED PERFORMANCES FOR THEATREGOERS WITH HEARING LOSS FOR FALL ’09” New York, NY (Theatre Development...

PRESS RELEASE: “TAP (TDF’s ACCESSIBILITY PROGRAMS) ANNOUNCES UPCOMING OPEN CAPTIONED PERFORMANCES FOR THEATREGOERS WITH HEARING LOSS FOR FALL ’09”

New York, NY (Theatre Development Fund) September 15, 2009 – TAP (TDF’s Accessibility Programs), which has been instrumental in expanding open captioning on and Off Broadway, and regionally across the United States, announces the schedule of performances which will feature the service on Broadway this fall. Open captioning, which Theatre Development Fund (TDF) introduced on Broadway in 1997, is more inclusive of all hard-of-hearing audiences than traditional sign language interpretation. Through open captioning, an electronic text display, placed on the side of the stage, shows what the actors are saying or singing and describes sound effects on stage, simultaneously with the performance. To date, TAP has organized nearly 400 open-captioned performances of more than 275 different Broadway, Off Broadway and regional productions.

In the coming months, theatregoers with mild to severe hearing loss will be able to enjoy the following Broadway productions: Neil Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs and Broadway Bound, Hamlet starring Jude Law, Disney’s The Lion King, Rock of Ages, Manhattan Theatre Club’s production of The Royal Family, Tracy Letts’ Superior Donuts as well as Radio City’s Christmas Spectacular. Additionally, through TAP’s arts-in-education program, students with mild to severe hearing loss, and those who are blind or have low vision, will have the opportunity to enjoy Wicked through specially scheduled open captioned, sign language interpreted and audio described performances of the musical.

“We’re thrilled to be able to provide our TAP members with access through open captioning to some of the great new shows opening this fall, as well as several terrific, long running hits,” said Lisa Carling, TDF’s Director of Accessibility Programs. “Our TAP members are hungry for great theatre, and we thank the producers and managements of these shows for collaborating with us to provide this invaluable service.”

The following is the list of performances dates for the upcoming TAP open captioned performances:

SUPERIOR DONUTS
Saturday, October 3 at 2pm
Music Box Theatre, 239 West 45th Street, NYC

WICKED (for students through TAP’s arts-in-education program)
Wednesdays, October 7, 14, 21, 28 at 2pm (simultaneously open captioned and sign language interpreted)
Wednesday, November 4 and 11 at 2pm (audio described)
Gershwin Theatre, 222 West 51st Street, NYC

HAMLET
Thursday, October 8 at 2pm
Broadhurst Theatre, 235 West 44th Street, NYC

ROCK OF AGES
Monday, October 19 at 8pm
Brooks Atkinson Theatre, 256 West 47th Street, NYC

THE LION KING
Saturday, October 31 at 2pm
Minskoff Theatre, 200 West 45th Street, NYC

THE ROYAL FAMILY
Saturday, November 14 at 2pm
Samuel J. Friedman Theatre
261 West 47th, Street, NYC

RADIO CITY CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR
Wednesday, December 9 at 5pm and
Thursday, December 10 at 8pm
Radio City Music Hall, 1260 Avenue of the Americas, NYC

BRIGHTON BEACH MEMOIRS
Saturday, December 19 at 2pm
Nederlander Theatre, 208 West 41st Street, NYC

BROADWAY BOUND
Saturday, December 19 at 8pm
Nederlander Theatre, 208 West 41st Street, NYC

About TAP

Theatre Development Fund’s Accessibility Programs (TAP) was established in 1979 to provide access to the performing arts for people with physical disabilities. TAP serves theatergoers with mild to profound hearing loss with regularly scheduled open captioned and American Sign Language interpreted performances of Broadway and Off Broadway shows; serves theatregoers who are partially sighted or blind with special Audio Described performances; people who for medical reasons cannot climb stairs; and people who require aisle seating or use wheelchairs.

Through TAP, TDF offers discount orchestra tickets that are chosen with the customer’s specific seating needs in mind. TAP presented the first sign interpreted performance of a Broadway show with The Elephant Man in 1980, again made Broadway history in 1997 with the first open captioned performance of a Broadway show, Barrymore, thus opening up theatre to an entire population of deaf and hard of hearing individuals who are unable to utilize American Sign Language or receive only partial help from assistive listening devices. This is the third season that TAP has added audio described performances to its services for theatergoers who are blind or have low vision.

TAP’s arts-in-education programs make theatre accessible to students with mild to severe hearing loss with simultaneously open captioned and sign language interpreted performances, as well as audio described performances for students who are blind or have low vision.

Theatregoers with physical disabilities may join TAP to receive ticket offers to open captioned performances, where the seat locations are in view of either the open caption box. There is no fee to join. For more information, and to join TAP: email: tap@tdf.org; call 212.912.9770, ext. 381, TTY 212.719-4537; or download an application at TDF’s Web site: www.tdf.org/tap.