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News > Press Release

April 4th,2005

Contact: John Carney
JMPR Associates

Washington, DC, April 4, 2005 --- Ford's Theatre patrons attending Deaf West's production of Big River, which features both deaf and hearing actors, can follow the onstage dialogue and lyrics with the latest innovation in assistive technology.

"We developed the I-Caption system so deaf and hard of hearing theater goers would not be limited to attending special signed shows," said T. Richard Fitzgerald, theatrical sound designer and CEO of Sound Associates, Inc. "There is so much happening onstage in this unique, dynamic production that a deaf patron not fluent in American Sign Language could miss a lot."

I-Caption features a handheld wireless unit that displays dialogue and lyrics in text, in real time from any seat in the house. The system made it's debut in Deaf West's production of Big River on Broadway and has been available for all performances of the national touring companies ever since. I-Caption is also available for Broadway's Wicked and will soon be available for Mamma Mia!

The I-Caption system features a proprietary handheld unit that displays the text of the entire show verbatim, including lyrics and dialogue. The text is automated and synchronized with sound and lighting cues to accommodate pacing variations from performance to performance. A polarized screen keeps nearby patrons from being distracted by light or moving text.

"Our goal is to adapt the very latest technology to accommodate special needs audiences so every performance is available to all theater lovers," said Fitzgerald, the designer of the I-Caption system who received a Tony Award in 1980 for introducing the Infrared Listening System to Broadway theatres.

In addition to I-Caption, Sound Associates' has developed D-Scriptive, an audio description service for the blind soon available at Wicked and Mamma Mia!, and ShowTrans the automated multilingual commentary service for non-English speaking audiences.

For over fifty years Sound Associates has been supplying sound equipment to the performance industry, offering the best in assistive listening for professional or personal use and is synonymous with infrared listening.

The I-Caption unit can be obtained at the Infrared Listening System distribution center in the theatre lobby. There is no charge to use I-Caption.

Big River is currently playing at Ford's Theater, 511 10th St. NW, Washington DC. For ticket information visit For upcoming tour dates including Hershey PA, St. Louis, Denver, Portland, Seattle and information about the National Touring company of Big River visit

Wicked is currently playing at the Gershwin Theater Mamma Mia! is currently playing at the Winter Garden Theater

Note to Editors
I-Caption photo, interviews available.
Reporters are invited to a performance of Big River to experience using I-Caption.
Contact John Carney, 212-477-0472