A magical and creative show — Pinocchio at Deaf West Theatre

A magical and creative show — Pinocchio at Deaf West Theatre

Pinocchio with Geppetto


Written between 1881″”1883, Italian author Carlo Collodi”™s cautionary fable Pinocchio is about a mischievous wooden toy who dreams about becoming a real boy. The tale has been adapted for the stage by Tony Award winner Lee Hall and directed by Stephen Rothman. This delightful, if slightly dark, play is perfectly suited for the Deaf West Theatre”™s signature, award-winning combination of signed and voiced theater. The familiar story is colorfully presented using the Italian tradition of commedia dell”™arte, which is a form of physical comedy that uses masks, archetypal characters, slapstick, pratfalls and sight gags.

Review by Pauline Adamek

When a woodcutter named Geppetto (performed by Matt Henerson and signed by Colin O”™Brien-Lux) carves a wooden puppet shaped like a boy, he calls his pseudo-son Pinocchio (performed by Amber Zion and signed by Darrin Revitz) and sends him off with some money to buys some schoolbooks and enroll in classes. But our pink-cheeked Pinocchio is a naughty fellow and easily tricked by con artists that lurk in the woods rather than listen to the sage advice of a life-sized cricket (brilliantly performed and signed by Vae and voiced by Lindsey W. Evans). Following some misadventures, Pinocchio returns home when hungry but finds Geppetto has gone searching for him. That spurs further adventures for Pinocchio as he tries to track down the only father he knows.

With this lovely play, you really couldn”™t ask for a more enchanting night of theatre. The tandem team of Amber Zion and Darrin Revitz performing Pinocchio is completely adorable, decked out in their quaint costumes of sweet hats, boyish shorts and red pom-pom shoes designed by Ann Closs-Farley. Other characters are draped in furs, hats, lavish coats, boots and stripey stockings and furry masks.

The stage is rendered magical with extra-cute, rustic-looking sets of dappled painted fabric and wood, suggesting a hut in the woods, all designed by Evan Bartoletti.

Best of all is the score and the handful of simple songs composed by Joe Cerqua that are sung by the cast. The music is charming, with its plaintive clarinet themes and piano accordion accompaniment. My only misgiving was that the song that concludes the show could have had more impact.

Pinocchio duo

Brimming with clever political subtext and sly social commentary, this comic production will appeal to young and old. The Adventures of Pinocchio is presented in both American Sign Language and spoken English.

Parental Warning: The Adventures of Pinocchio may not be appropriate for children under the age of 10. There are dark themes and some mild language.



ASL Nights – February 24, March 3 & March 4 (arrive @ 7:30pm)
Arrive 30 minutes early to get a short lesson in ASL (American Sign Language) and signs in the production

$15 Student Nights – March 3, 10 & 17
$15 Rush (aka “˜day of”™) tickets are available for students on Thursdays March 1, 10 and 17. Arrive 30 minutes prior to performance. Must show valid student ID. These tickets are not available for pre-purchase.

Got a question for an actor?
Join them post performance for a TALKBACK with the artists on Saturday, March 5 at 2pm or and Sunday, March 13 at 2pm


The Adventures of Pinocchio

Deaf West Theater

5112 Lankershim Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91601
2 blocks south of Magnolia
Easy Metro access: Red Line North Hollywood stop
Convenient parking available across the street at Citibank


Runs until March 27, 2011

Thurs, Fri & Sats at 8.00pm; Sats & Suns at 2.00pm

*** after hours @ dwt – more info here

Friday, March 11 @ 11pm

Saturday, March 12 @ 11pm

Friday, March 18 @ 11pm

Saturday, March 19 @ 11pm

Running time:

Approx 2 hours, including a 10 minute intermission


$25.00 adults; $15.00 children

Box Office:

Purchase tickets here

Group sales and other production information:

Call the Deaf West Theatre offices –

(818) 762-2773 Voice;

(866) 954-2986 video phone;

or email:

Deaf West Theater celebrates 20 years with this, its 44th stage production.


Deaf West Theatre Company, Inc., (DWT) was founded in 1991 to improve and enrich the cultural lives of the 1.2 million deaf and hard of hearing individuals who live in the Los Angeles area. DWT is recognized as the premiere sign language theatre in the United States and has consistently set the standard for innovation in deaf theatre and innovative educational approaches that can profoundly affect the lives of deaf and hard of hearing youth.  It is the only resident deaf theatre in the western United States and only one of few successful sign language production companies in the country.

DWT holds the most theatre production awards of any deaf theatre in the nation. Through our award winning shows (over 60 industry awards), national and international tours, and our Broadway debut (2004 Tony® Honor for Excellence for the cast of Big River), Deaf West productions have become a site where deaf and hearing audiences and artists come together to share in top flight cultural experiences. Attendance by deaf and hard of hearing audience members has grown to 30% in recent years, reflecting a new and refreshing attitude of ownership and participation among deaf audiences about theatre as an art form for them. In addition, DWT’s educational efforts have garnered national and international recognition with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services presenting the Secretary’s Highest Recognition Award for “bridging the gap between the deaf and hearing through theatre” in October 2005, and the International Fete d’Excellence Gold Medal for Cultural Education in Theatre presented to Artistic Director Ed Waterstreet in Geneva, Switzerland in 2002. Such awards and accolades stand as testament to the passions and talents of the company as well as our capacity to sustain a high level of performance and service to our constituents over the last 18 years.

Pauline Adamek

Pauline Adamek is a Los Angeles-based arts enthusiast with twenty-five years' experience covering International Film Festivals and reviewing new Theatre, Film and Restaurants.



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