ALDA Chicago

Deaf and Hearing Actors Team Up to Present Pinocchio

22 Feb 2017 8:10 PM | Sarah Wegley (Administrator)

Young hearing and Deaf actors will perform on stage together in a signed and voice presentation of Pinocchio, only the second production in the new Chicago Children's Theatre, The Station.

Presented in association with Chicago's Neverbird Project, this all-new production of Pinocchio promises to spring to life as an inclusive and inventive take on the classic fairy tale.

"This production is an example of ground floor inclusion and accessibility," said Levi Holloway, co-founder of Neverbird Project, which first presented Pinocchio in 2016 at Bell Elementary School, a CPS school with a focus on integrating Deaf and hearing students.

"We are teaching all of our hearing actors ASL to tell the story, to enrich relationships between our Deaf and hearing artists onstage and off. We at Neverbird believe that total accessibility and inclusion is a necessity in American theater."

To that end, ASL is a native part of the world of the play, and every actor will sign. Through light, sound, spectacle and ASL, this Pinocchio will speak to every age and ability for an unforgettable family theater experience about love, loss, family and hard choices that aren't so hard in the moment.

Neverbird Project's adaptation of Pinocchio is co-written and co-directed by Levi Holloway and Katy Boza. The principal cast features Julissa Contreras, who is Deaf, as Pinocchio, with Haley Bolithon as Blu, Sarah Cartwright as Cricket, Chris Chmelik as Geppetto, Skyler Schremp as Cypress/Hannah and Mary Williamson as Redd the Puppet Master.

Claudia Tani plays Corktopp, Steven Huetteman is Blowpopp and Elijah Jackson plays Lampwick. The Afters/Redd's Troupe of Vaudevillian Puppets are played by Makeda Duncan, Leah Healy, Paige Healy, Delilah Lane, Sofia Richter Nia Sarfo, Isabelle Teruel and Tali Vittum.

The Pinocchio production team includes Matt Anderson (ASL director), Frank Maugeri (scenic design), Nicole Lambert (music director/choreographer), Jeffrey Levin (sound design/composer), Claire Chrzan (light design), Charlotte Mae Ellison (costume design), Yvette Alvardo (costume production), Larry Heutteman (prop design), Cole Von Glahn (production manager), Corinne Bass (production assistant) and JC Widman (stage manager.)

Performances are April 20-May 7, 2017 in Chicago Children's Theatre's new 149-seat Pritzker Family Studio Theatre at The Station, 100 S. Racine Avenue, in Chicago's West Loop community. 

Performance times are Thursday at 10 a.m., Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. 

Single tickets are $25. Save money with a Family 4-Pack, only $80. Run time is 60 minutes. Pinocchio is intended for ages 7 and up. For tickets and information, visit or call (872) 222-9555. Email or call (773) 227-0180 x 321 for discounted group rates for schools, playgroups and scouting groups.

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