This is Jenee Petri from Minnesota Cueing the song “Summer Nights” from the timeless movie, “Grease”. A transliterator and interpreter at the University of Minnesota, Jenee has been working tirelessly to provide access to academics for the deaf and hard of hearing. Her experience shines through in this wonderful example of visually conveying information through Cued Speech.
In “Summer Nights”, there are two singers, originally represented by John Travolta playing Danny and Olivia Newton-John playing Sandy. While using Cued Speech, we generally cue with one hand. In this video, Jenee represents two singers in a duet by using both hands, but each represents one individual singer. In this way, Jenee is able to accurately and powerfully convey the back and forth that goes on in a duet. The emotions and tonal qualities that each character goes through over the course of one lovely summer fling come through crystal clear in this rendition.
There is no way you can watch this and not feel moved by the musical and lyrical ride we are taken along for. It was this song and this performance that made me truly expand my imagination about how we can accurately depict music and lyrics in a manner that I, a profoundly deaf individual, can appreciate.
This will be a seriously fun story.