Playwrights Horizons Installs GalaPro To Increase Accessibility For Deaf And Hard-of-Hearing Patrons

As Playwrights Horizons (Artistic Director Tim Sanford, Managing Director Leslie Marcus) begins their 2018-2019 season with the New York Premiere of Craig Lucas's I Was Most Alive with You-a play featuring both Deaf and hearing casts-the company continues to emphasize a commitment to accessibility with the launch of an expanded captioning program, powered by GalaPro. GalaPro, which lets Deaf and hard-of-hearing patrons view captions on their smartphones/devices, allows captions to be available at every post-opening performance on both Playwrights stages. GalaPro closed-captioning will be available for all I Was Most Alive with You performances after September 24.

In its young existence, GalaPro has already made a major impression on the New York Theater world. In July, New York City's Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities presented GalaPro with a 2018 Sapolin Accessibility Award for Communication and Technology. The app-developed by tech startup GalaPrompter-has been made available in a number of Broadway houses. Playwrights Horizons is proud to become the first not-for-profit Off Broadway company to adopt this service, showing how not-for-profit theaters can also harness technology-even with the help of devices typically shunned in performance-to meet crucial aims of inclusion and accessibility. GalaPro is free, and can be downloaded for use on any smart device; with reduced screen glare and an airplane mode wi-fi setting, the app was developed to be as inconspicuous as possible. At Playwrights Horizons, the app will utilize voice-recognition capabilities to power its closed-captioning and run in conjunction with each live performance after every production's opening night. For patrons who do not have smartphones, a limited number of free tablets can be borrowed at each performance so users can access GalaPro.

Yonat Burlin, GalaPro CEO, says, "GalaPro is proud to partner with Playwrights Horizons for our first Off-Broadway production. Playwrights Horizons is dedicated to providing access to everyone, and we are thrilled to share this mission and provide services to their patrons. We hope to see the rest of the Off-Broadway community join Playwrights Horizons to assure that every performance is accessible to everyone."

The first GalaPro-captioned Playwrights Horizons season begins with the New York Premiere production of three-time Tony Award nominee Craig Lucas's I Was Most Alive with You, which runs now-October 14in the Mainstage Theater at Playwrights Horizons (416 West 42nd Street). Inspired by the Book of Job,Lucas's play begins at an often-humorously fraught Thanksgiving dinner and explodes onto emotionally and philosophically expansive terrain, as one character attempts to grasp the narratives of his and his loved ones' lives while they slip far beyond anyone's control. Director Tyne Rafaeli (The Rape of the Sabine Women by Grace B. Matthias, Actually) and Director of Artistic Sign Language Sabrina Dennison (Santa Sangre, the world premiere of I Was Most Alive with You) stage this production.

Playwrights Horizons' 2018-2019 season of "topicality and risk" (The New York Times) continues with The Thanksgiving Play, the world premiere of a new play by Larissa Fasthorse, directed by Tony Award nominee Moritz von Stuelpnagel (October 12-November 25, 2018; opening November 5); Noura, the New York premiere of a new play written by and featuring Lucille Lortel Award winner Heather Raffo, directed by Joanna Settle, produced in association with Shakespeare Theatre Company (November 27-December 30, 2018; opening December 10); If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a Muhfucka, the world premiere of a new play by Tori Sampson, directed by Obie Award winner Leah C. Gardiner, and choreographed by Raja Feather Kelly (February 15-March 31, 2019; opening March 11); The Pain of My Belligerence, the world premiere of a Playwrights Horizons commissioned new play written by and featuring Halley Feiffer, directed by Obie Award winner Trip Cullman (March 29, 2019-May 12, 2019; opening April 22); and A Strange Loop, the world premiere of a new musical with book, music, and lyrics by Michael R. Jackson, directed by Stephen Brackett, and choreographed by Raja Feather Kelly, produced in association with Page 73 (May 24-July 27, 2019; opening June 17).

GalaPro at Playwrights Horizons is made possible by the Ford Foundation, the CreateNYC Disability Forward Fund, the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment, the Theodore H. Barth Foundation, and the Theatre Development Fund.

The GalaPro App provides accessibility and translation services for live shows, on demand, directly to the user's own mobile device. The system is automated by speech recognition technology to ensure that all content is delivered real-time and is designed to support theater environment with no disturbance to the show. The company's mission for inclusion started on Broadway and is now available Off-Broadway, in multiple cities across the USA and Canada, and in some of the leading Broadway tours.

Playwrights Horizons is dedicated to cultivating the most important American Playwrights, composers, and lyricists, as well as developing and producing their bold new plays and musicals. Tim Sanford became Artistic Director in 1996 and Leslie Marcus has been Managing Director since 1993. Under their decades of leadership, Playwrights builds upon its diverse and renowned body of work, counting 400 writers among its artistic roster. In addition to its onstage work each season, Playwrights' singular commitment to nurturing American theater artists guides all of the institution's multifaceted initiatives: our acclaimed New Works Lab, a robust commissioning program, an innovative curriculum at its Theater School, and more. Robert Moss founded Playwrights in 1971 and cemented the mission that continues to guide the institution today. André Bishop served as Artistic Director from 1981-1992. Don Scardino succeeded him and served until 1996. Over its 47-year history, Playwrights has been recognized with numerous awards and honors, including six Pulitzer Prizes, 13 Tony Awards, and 39 Obie Awards.

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