Latest News

Talents Campaign

  1. Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre to present accessible performance of "Godspell"
  2. July 17 performance of "Godspell" at Muhlenberg
  3. will feature Open Captioning and Audio Description
  4. for hearing impaired and visually impaired patrons

Allentown, Pa. (June 13, 2011) – Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre will present a performance of "Godspell" at 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 17 with Open Captioning (OC) for patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing and Audio Description (AD) for patrons who are blind or visually impaired. This performance is sponsored in part by the Tri-County Accessible Arts Coalition.

"The Tri-County Accessible Arts Coalition is working to accomplish several goals," says Jessica Bien, general manager of Muhlenberg's Theatre and Dance Department. "The first is to educate local organizations about the need for accessible performances and events in the region. The second is to educate the communities that the accessible performances will serve. Since many individuals have not ever experienced an open captioned or audio described performance, they need to understand what the performance will be like. Finally the Coalition is hoping to be able to secure the necessary equipment for these services so that any organization in the area may borrow the equipment to offer audio description or open captioning."

Prior to the performance, there will be a tour and reception for audience members utilizing the services. The performance will be held in the Baker Theatre in the Trexler Pavilion for Theatre and Dance on the Muhlenberg College campus in Allentown, Pa.

"We are hoping that this performance provides the chance for other theaters and organizations in the Lehigh Valley to experience audio description and open captioning so that they can begin to offer these types of performances as well," Bien says.

"Godspell," Stephen Schwartz's upbeat retelling of biblical parables, is one of Broadway's biggest successes, featuring a beloved and sparkling score—including the international hit "Day By Day." The show will run July 13-31.

"We are excited to bring the first audio described and open captioned performance to the Lehigh Valley community," says Bien. "By offering these types of performances, we are hoping to provide a whole new audience with the opportunity to experience live theatre and some of America's greatest musicals."

Audio Description is a form of audio-visual translation, using the natural pauses in dialogue or between critical sound elements to insert narrative that translates the visual image into an audible form that is accessible to individuals who otherwise lack full access to live theatre. Using a single earpiece connected to an infrared headset, patrons who are blind or have low vision can listen to trained audio describers give live, verbal descriptions of actions, costumes, scenery, and other visual elements of a performance.

Open captioning provides the audience with an electronic text display to the side of the stage which displays what the actors are saying or singing in real time. The display also describes sound effects on stage.

To purchase tickets for the July 17 performance of "Godspell," call Jess Bien at 484-664-3087 or email boxoffice@muhlenberg.edu. The number of headsets available for Audio Description is limited so it is suggested that reservations be made early. Tickets are only $10 for hearing impaired and visually impaired patrons and one companion can also purchase a ticket for $10.

Each year, Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre mounts major original productions of Broadway musicals featuring the work of accomplished directors, designers, performers and musicians. Tickets are still available for all three Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre shows – "The Music Man," running June 15 – July 3; "Cinderella," our children's theatre show, running June 22 – July 30; and "Godspell."

Tickets for regular performances can be purchased online at muhlenberg.edu/tickets, by calling 484-664-3333, or by visiting the box office located on the lower level of the Trexler Pavilion for Theatre and Dance, Mon.-Sat. from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For more information contact Scott Snyder, at 484-664-3693 or scottsnyder@muhlenberg.edu.