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Gershwin Theatre Offers Services for Special Needs Audiences

The Gershwin Theatre (222 West 51st Street), home of Wicked, will soon become the first venue in the world to offer captioning for the deaf, audio description for the blind, and a translation system at every performance. These three communications tools, developed by Richard Fitzgerald of Sound Associates, Inc., have been funded in part by the National Institute For Special Need Audiences (NISNA). All three services are timed to the show's cueing system and therefore can adjust to any fluctuations in performance.

I-Caption is a hand-held captioning system for deaf and hearing-impaired theatergoers; the device receives a signal from the master system and displays verbatim the entire text of a show, including lyrics, plus announcements and other information. ShowTrans provides automated, multilingual descriptive commentary for non-English speaking audience members, with continual plot and dialogue information; at the Gershwin, the languages offered are Japanese, Portuguese, French, and Spanish. Audio Description for the Blind offers blind or sight-impaired audience members detailed descriptions of the visual aspects of a production, including choreography, lighting, sets and costumes.

ShowTrans and I-Caption are currently available at the Gershwin, Audio Description for the Blind will be available in approximately one month. Phone 212-582-7678 to reserve any of the NISNA services or for more information.

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