What's up with this? My explanation - it's cheaper to offer OC performances and they appeal to a wider audience (including the deaf and hard of hearing that don't use sign language as their main mode of communication).
My opinion? I still think the best option would be interpreters AND captioning together on the SAME day. Most Disney shows use this system and I find it the easiest to follow. (Can't understand the lyrics? No problem - look at the interpreters. Want to know the exact words in order to sing along after the show? A quick glance on the on-stage text will fix that).
Open captioned performances are great - but they don't give as much information as interpreters do. Captioning gives us the "words" but they don't "show" us the words. Thinking of the old adage learned in grammar school writing workshops - "Show, don't tell!" For me, captioning "tells" what is going on but they are unable to "show" the music. Interpreters can do this through the sign language motions. (Another reason why musicals and interpreters go together hand in hand!).
One question - I've seen many variations for the sign for "Broadway" (to represent the theater district found in New York City). Which variation do you use?
Upcoming accessible performances on Broadway (as quoted by TDF's website)
In the Heights (SLI) 8/27/09 (musical)
In the Heights (OC) 8/20/09 (musical - why can't they do both on the same day?)
Burn the Floor (OC) 9/08/09 (dance)
Mary Poppins (OC) 9/13/09 (musical - interesting - they ususally make Disney shows SLI and OC on the same day. What gives?)
Superior Donuts (OC) 10/03/09 (New show scheduled to open)
The Lion King (OC) 10/31/09 (musical - first time I've seen it offered without SLI)
*key: SLI: sign language interpreted OC: open captioned*
It's nice to see more offerings (it looks like it averages two performances per month... from the 318 shows offered through TDF... ). Disney is a big fan of repeats - they're the only ones that I see listed frequently on the list of accessible shows. Other shows do it once and they're done. Some have not been interpreted for years (Rent in 2001 and Phantom of the Opera in 1999, according to HandsOn's website). What gives? Currently, Wicked and Mamma Mia! offer handheld captioning (but are not listed on TDF as accessible? I did e-mail them to let them know of this loophole).
What shows are you dying to see on Broadway yet they are not interpreted/captioned (or have not been interpreted/captioned)?
If we cannot make the scheduled interpreted/captioned day, what are our options? (thinking that most shows don't offer it again (if at all) for a LONG time afterwards). Getting a copy of the script is ideal - but some shows guard their scripts so closely that it's impossible to get ahold of a copy...)