The Miracle Theater
226 S Market St
Inglewood, US 90301
June 24 & 25, 2022 @ 8:00 PM
“The Braille Legacy” is the story of a great mind, Louis Braille, the blind young man who wanted the same chance in life as those who see.
From an original French book with lyrics by Sébastien Lancrenon and music by Jean-Baptiste Saudray, translated by Ranjit Bolt, it is the story of – “the People of the Night”’ – and their fight for independence. Louis’ struggles lead his people to the gates of literacy, and so, of knowledge and culture. It is their journey “into the light”. The show will be directed by Co-founder and Artistic Director, Greg Shane. Musical Direction will be lead by Laurie Grant, Musical Director and Program Manager of Rex & Friends. Martine Melloul will serve as Executive Producer.
To help blind actors traverse the stage and walk through scenes confidently, Shane has devised an ingenious, textured floor system to provide performers the necessary clues about their location. It’s a kind of “floor Braille” created by carefully placing different textured pads on the stage, enabling the actors to feel through their feet and move gracefully on the stage.
Rex & Friends, ArtsUP! LA’s program to support blind and autistic performers with training in music and performance opportunities, will provide all the musical accompaniment. Rex & Friends, who recently appeared in the Media Access Awards, is led by Rex Lewis-Clack, a musical savant who has been profiled on CBS’s 60 minutes and by the Kinetic Light Company.
More about the Show
Two years ago, ArtsUP! LA was given the unique opportunity to launch “The Braille Legacy” here in the United States. The show premiered in London at the Savory and Charing Cross Theatre. In recounting his life and legacy, the story begins during Louis’ education at the Paris Royal Institute for Blind Youth, when we realize that his education is a real challenge, even within the specialized school. It’s a story about a fight for independence, the right to learn, and for the blind to be seen as equals.
After learning about Theatre by the Blind, the nation’s only blind theatre company, the producer of “The Braille Legacy” sought out Shane about the possibility of producing the musical here in America, this time, with all blind actors.
Shane was enthusiastic about the idea, and a week after production began, the COVID pandemic struck the world. As everyone went into quarantine, the future of “The Braille Legacy” went into doubt. The year-long crisis resulted in many fewer public and private grant offerings and limited the organization’s fund-raising opportunities. It had only been able to raise half of the $60,000 required to produce the show. A Kickstarter campaign – “Save The Braille Legacy”- was started this summer and ArtsUP! LA raised the additional $30,000 needed. In October, production commenced, again. Fourteen talented blind actors and ten brilliant musicians with different disabilities began the work to tell Louis Braille’s inspirational story. And, who better to tell the story of Louis Braille than the very people he championed!
“The Braille Legacy will help people understand that being blind is not an impediment to living a full meaningful life. Access to education, training and programs coupled with more advanced social acceptance can do better to shape the experiences of those with impaired vision,” explained ArtsUP! LA co-founder and Executive Director, Bryan Caldwell.
This performance is made possible, in part, by grants from:
City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs
National Endowment for the Arts
National Endowment for the Humanities
California Arts Council
Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture
The Karl Kirchgessner Foundation
The Albert Parvin Foundation
John and Lynn Shane