Art-Reach Presents Philadelphia Premiere of Jazzartsigns on November 19th at 7PM


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Multi-Disciplinary Performance Is Accessible to All Audiences

JazzArtSigns performers include Lisa Thorson, vocals; Cercie Miller, saxophones; Doug Johnson, piano; David Clark, bass; George Schuller, drums; Nancy Ostrovsky, improvisational painter; Jody Steiner, ASL interpreter; Vince Lombardi, audio describer; and Don DePew of The Caption Coalition.

PHILADELPHIA, PA - Art-Reach, the nonprofit organization that provides access to the arts for people with disabilities and economic disadvantages, will present the Philadelphia premiere of JazzArtSigns, a universally accessible live performance that incorporates jazz music and improvisational painting in an interactive, multi-media and multi-sensory cultural experience. The performance will take place on Monday, November 19, 2007, at 7 p.m. at the Philadelphia Theatre Company's soon-to-open 365-seat, state-of-the-art accessible Suzanne Roberts Theater at Broad and Lombard Streets. JazzArtSigns will be one of the flagship events in the Independence Starts Here! Festival, Philadelphia's first city-wide festival showcasing art influenced or inspired by the experience of disability, which takes place October 18 - November 20, 2007.

JazzArtSigns provides a universally accessible, cross-disciplinary concert experience that redefines the way audiences interact with live performances. JazzArtSigns features a group of world-class jazz musicians, an improvisational painter, American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters, live audio description and text captioning, and program information in Braille, large print and on tape. This interactive fusion of improvisation, music, visual art, and language encourages all audiences to participate in the spirit of acceptance, innovation and cooperation.

JazzArtSigns was developed by Lisa Thorson, an esteemed jazz vocalist, composer and Berklee College of Music professor who also uses a wheelchair. A performer for over 30 years, Thorson is well-known as a leading advocate for full access to the arts for people of all abilities. Called “grand, sassy and seductive" by the Boston Globe, Thorson creates works in theatre and music that bring people together to effect social change. She has toured the U.S., Canada and Italy as a concert artist and jazz clinician, and has produced five recordings as a lead musician.

JazzArtSigns will be her first large-scale performance in Philadelphia.

JazzArtSigns is unique in its appeal to people of all ages and abilities, since it combines different visual, musical and communication techniques. Janet Marcous, faculty member at Northeastern University, states, “JazzArtSigns was the most extraordinary experience I've ever had with jazz. It left me feeling incredibly happy and with a sense of freedom that I don't often feel because I am deaf-blindIt captured every aspect of sound, sense, visionary collections, musical lyrics, movement, color, details, and contrast." The performance features American Sign Language interpretation, open captioning and assisted-listening devices for audiences who are deaf or hard-of-hearing and audio description and Braille, large-print and audio programs for audiences who are blind or have low vision.

To ensure that all audiences will have access to the performance, Art-Reach will provide 15 percent of available tickets for free to its member human service agencies, schools, and elderly homes serving individuals with disabilities or economic disadvantages. Art-Reach will also invite participants from these organizations to take part in one of two free educational workshops during the day on Monday, November 19th. Artists from JazzArtSigns will lead both workshops on jazz and painting improvisation. Tickets to JazzArtSigns are $25 in advance and $35 at the door. To purchase tickets or for more information, call Art-Reach at 215-568-2115.

Art-Reach is a Delaware Valley nonprofit cultural service organization that helps underserved audiences to experience arts and cultural programming and that serves as a community resource by increasing accessibility to cultural venues and events. Through our programs, each year over 15,000 people of all ages, economic backgrounds and abilities experience the richness of the arts.

Independence Starts Here: A Festival of Disability Arts and Culture is a Greater Philadelphia festival that includes work by artists with disabilities or work that is inspired by the experience of disability or is accessible to audiences with disabilities. The festival also celebrates and highlights the work of over 40 arts and disability organizations working to increase cultural accessibility in greater Philadelphia.

This story appears courtesy of All About Jazz Publicity.
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