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Studio, Planning a Power-Packed Year

The signing becomes beautiful and dancelike during the songs. Corrigan says the actors raise the energy of their signing: "Everything's in the body, the eyes, everything to bring that up to a level of poetry."

Corrigan, who is from Frederick, had seen Deaf West's "Big River" on Broadway and jumped at the chance to audition at Ford's.

Tom Story, left, and Ted van Griethuysen, here in Studio's 2001 production of "The Invention of Love," will team up again for "A Number" next season. (Carol Pratt -- Studio Theatre)

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"I just wanted to be involved in the production," he recalls. "I never thought I'd get a big role." When they offered him Huck, he says, "I was like, sure, bring it on."

Now, of course, Corrigan has been bitten by the professional acting bug. He finds the "hardest challenge from making this leap is I want more and more and more."

He plans to finish college (Corrigan started at Gallaudet as a triple major in film, philosophy and business administration) and try to become a professional actor.

Corrigan admits being a deaf actor is going to be difficult. But, he says, "I'm a man who loves challenges. I'm a challenge addict."

Small Stuff From Big Names

In keeping with its tradition of producing the lesser-known works of famous playwrights, Washington Shakespeare Company will open next season with Tom Stoppard's 1988 "Hapgood" (Oct. 27-Nov. 27). Artistic Director Christopher Henley describes it as a tale of "Cold War espionage" and "high-end physics." Kathleen Akerley, a specialist in out-of-the-way Stoppard with her Longacre Lea summer company, will direct.

"Death and the King's Horseman" (Feb. 9-March 12, 2006) was written in 1975 by Nigerian Nobel Prize-winner Wole Soyinka. It examines an incident during colonial rule in the 1940s, when a British official interfered with a funeral rite. John Vreeke will direct.

WSC's lone Shakespeare play will be "Richard II" (April 13-May 14, 2006). Robert McNamara, artistic director of Washington's Eurocentric avant-garde company Scena Theatre, will stage the play. McNamara directs "in capitals all over Europe and sees a lot of European theater," Henley says. "I wanted him to inform the production with that feeling that you get seeing Shakespeare in Berlin, which is chancy and nontraditional."

"A radically reexamined" version of Lillian Hellman's "The Children's Hour" (June 1-July 2, 2006) will be staged by H. Lee Gable, with a gender-bending take on one central character. Henley and Cam Magee will co-star.

Follow Spot

• The annual American College Theater Festival is on at the Kennedy Center through Sunday. Playwriting, acting, directing and design students from across the country will present their work and take master classes. Many productions are open to the public; some are free, others are $5 or $15. Call 202-416-8857.

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