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  • Anita Riggio

Help Us Move the Dream to Reality!

Updated: Dec 20, 2022

December 12, 2022

Dear Friends,

I have some good news about the musical I’ve been working on for more than a decade!

What began as BRINDLEBEAST is now HEAR ME, an original musical in voice and American Sign Language (ASL). It’s a story about confronting a personal “beast”--that pesky voice that lives rent free in your head– in order to love fully and live authentically. After 12 years of work, more than a dozen revisions, and too many “we-love-this-buts” to count, my dream of bringing this work of musical theater to the stage is finally happening.

This year, two lauded Deaf creatives have joined our creative team: director, Monique Holt and choreographer, Karen Dearborn. Additionally, we’ve garnered serious interest from a well-known theater in Manhattan. Thanks to the support of a development grant we were awarded by the IRT Theater, we are organizing a two-week-long workshop in New York City in May 2023. Then, actors, musicians, and the creative team will meet to further develop and rehearse the musical.

The IRT Theater grant is worth $4200, but to mount the full workshop we need to raise an additional $50,000 to fund essential line items like orchestrations, projection design, lighting design, compensation for performers, creatives, ASL interpreters, travel and housing costs for our 24-member company.

My production company, Fat Chance Production Group, LLC is partnering with Jo-Ann Dean and her company SIGNmation. We are reaching out to corporate and institutional funders– and to supporters like you. Your tax-deductible donation to will help us put up the workshop and get us that much closer to a full production. See donation opportunities below!

Please check out this message from HEAR ME director Monique Holt:

Hi! My name is Monique Holt, [sign name: “M” taps on chin twice].

I will direct a new musical written by Anita Riggio. She found me. Sent me the script. I read and admired the play. It touched my heart. Why was I touched?

This play - theme touches on existentialism and demons, the inner struggle with self-worth… I think everyone experiences that maybe a little bit, some overwhelming, profound - existence full of doubts.

Again, we do have a choice. The same everyone has a choice. And I had a choice and said yes, I would direct this play.

This play has a mixture of deaf and hearing cast. Musical. And on a human level, I care about giving you some hope. How can love help you find your inner ability to forgive?

That’s why I fell in love with it and want to direct this musical.

Oh! Terribly sorry; the name of this musical is HEAR ME.

[sign title: “3” thumb taps on the cheek, under the eyes twice while index & middle fingers crooked twice]

This sign “Hear Me” why it was signed that way? Good question. Deaf people hear through their eyes.

[moves “3” to forehead, off center] means “Demon.” Wow!

[moves “3” to upper chest off center]

means “listening with the body” emotionally & instinctively.

Now it’s your turn. You have a choice. Watching me sharing this testimony, find it fascinating, then go ahead and join me and support this project, just like me.

[gesture: “Come join me” ended with a wink.]

Bringing HEAR ME to the stage has been my creative passion for a decade. Trust me: I wish it wasn’t taking so long! But I also believe this story of love and redemption, that sits at the intersection of hearing and Deaf worlds, resonates now than ever before.

Thank you for your support. I hope to see you at the theater in New York!

* We’re grateful for your donation in ANY AMOUNT!*

Attend a WORKSHOP PRODUCTION of HEAR ME & TALKBACK with CAST & CREATIVES at IRT’s intimate 33 seat theater.

FRIDAY, MAY 19, 2:00 (25 available)

SATURDAY, MAY 20, 2:00 (25 available)

SATURDAY, MAY 20, 7:30 (25 available)


Be an HONORARY ASSOCIATE PRODUCER of the Workshop. Sit in on the workshop, May 9- May 20, and watch the theatre magic happen—plus, attend the workshop productions. Your name will be included with our thanks in the production program.


Be an HONORARY PRODUCER of the Workshop. Sit in on the entire process, May 9-20, rehearsals, productions, talk-backs and all. PLUS receive a copy of the workshop script, signed by the cast and creatives, and inscribed with our never-ending appreciation! Your name and our thanks will be included in the production program.


On behalf of Jo-Ann Dean, MoMo Holt, and the entire creative team and cast, I wish you a happy and peaceful holiday season!


Anita Riggio

We’d be sorry to see you go, but if you’d prefer not to receive updates on HEAR ME, please reply to this email with STOP in the subject line.

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