A Deaf Actor Signs Up for Broadway Stardom
updated 08/25/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 08/25/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT
Those memories are with him each night on Broadway, where he stars in the musical Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Originally mounted at Los Angeles' Deaf West Theatre, the production uses both deaf and hearing actors. Giordano performs the role of Huck using American Sign Language, while hearing actor Daniel Jenkins stands nearby, speaking and singing for him. Likewise, other deaf actors are paired with hearing doubles who lend their voices in speech and song. Critics also are speaking up for Giordano: Variety said "his marvelously expressive face, his agile body and deft hands, form their own sort of chamber orchestra."
Born in Tarriffville, Conn., to deaf parents, Giordano battled self-doubt until he attended Gallaudet University—the nation's foremost college for the deaf—in Washington, D.C., where he studied English. But after a friend took him to an acting audition in 1999, he was hooked on theater. And why not? "It doesn't matter what language you use," says Giordano. "A smile is a smile, a frown is a frown."