Disney Music Teams up with Deaf West Theatre

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Disney Music Group has teamed up with Tony Award®-winning Deaf West Theatre to release an American Sign Language (ASL) version of the Billboard chart-topping song “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” from Walt Disney Animation Studio’s Encanto, in celebration of International Day of Sign Languages, which was on September 23rd.

“The impact this film has on children cannot be dismissed. The majority of Deaf children are born to hearing families and sometimes the only exposure to the community and sign language is through videos like this. By working with Disney Music Group on expanding the access to one of their songs to the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing communities brings us immense pride. We’ve previously collaborated with Disney Music Group on ASL videos for World Princess Week and Encanto’s ‘Surface Pressure,’ and are excited by our continued collaborative relationship advancing inclusion,” said DJ Kurs, Deaf West’s Artistic Director.

Featuring an all-Deaf Colombian and Latinx cast, this signed video adaptation of the song “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” utilizes both American Sign Language (ASL) and Colombian Sign Language (LSC, Lengua de Señas Colombiana) to add additional layers of authenticity and poetry to the song.

The sung English lyrics were translated into ASL and CSL by a team of Sign Language Choreographers who worked through the text to find the best and most accurate translation into sign and once complete it comes together into a seamless ballet of sign and music.

The video features Nataly Barahona (Pepa), Andres Otalora (Felix), Donna Valverde (Mirabel and Abuela), Jasmine Garcia (Isabela), Joseph Rocha (Camilo) and Andrea Rodriguez (Dolores). The principle creatives include Donna Valverde and Nataly Barahona (ASL Choreographers), Andres Otalora (Director of Photography), and Austin Balaich (Editor).

The Encanto Original Motion Picture Soundtrack features eight original songs by Academy Award-nominated, Tony® and Grammy®-winning songwriter/composer Lin-Manuel Miranda (“Hamilton,” “Moana”) with an original score by Academy Award-nominated composer Germaine Franco.

The R.I.A.A. Platinum-certified soundtrack held the No. 1 position on the Billboard 200 album chart for 9 non-consecutive weeks and the R.I.A.A. 3x Platinum-certified song “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” topped the Hot 100 chart for 5 weeks. The soundtrack and song held the No. 1 position on the Billboard 200 and Hot 100 simultaneously for five consecutive weeks.

Founded in Los Angeles in 1991, Tony Award®-winning Deaf West Theatre (Artistic Director, DJ Kurs), engages artists and audiences in unparalleled theater experiences inspired by Deaf culture and the expressive power of sign language, weaving American Sign Language (ASL) with spoken English to create a seamless ballet of movement and voice. Committed to innovation, collaboration, and training, Deaf West Theatre is the artistic bridge between the Deaf and hearing worlds and a trusted resource for authentic storytelling and casting in film, television, and video projects.

Projects include: A fresh and thrilling new adaptation of Oedipus at The Getty Villa, the groundbreaking production of Fidelio with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel; The Solid of Life of Sugar Water by Jack Thorne; Our Town, in a co-production with the Pasadena Playhouse; Edward Albee’s At Home at the Zoo, in a co-production with the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts; Spring Awakening the Musical, which transferred from Inner-City Arts to the Wallis and then to Broadway (three Tony Award® nominations including Best Revival of a Musical).

American Buffalo (Los Angeles Times “Critic’s Choice”); Cyrano, a co-production with the Fountain Theatre (Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Production); Big River the Musical (Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle and Backstage Garland awards for Best Musical in its L.A. premiere, a Tony Award® nomination, and four Drama Desk Awards on Broadway); Pippin, produced at the Mark Taper Forum in a co-production with Center Theatre Group; Sleeping Beauty Wakes, also a co-production with Center Theatre Group, presented at the Kirk Douglas Theatre; Oliver! (Ovation Award for Best Musical) and A Streetcar Named Desire (Ovation Award for Best Play).

In 2005, Deaf West Theatre was selected to receive the Highest Recognition Award by the Secretary of Health and Human Services for its “distinguished contributions to improve and enrich the culture lives of Deaf and hard of hearing actors and theater patrons.