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Phyllis Frelich

Performer, Creative Consultant
( b. Feb 29, 1944 Devil's Lake, North Dakota, USA - d. Apr 10, 2014 Temple City, California, USA ) Female
Relations: Wife of Robert Steinberg
Phyllis Frelich, a deaf actress best known for her performance on Broadway in Children of a Lesser God. Growing up, Frelich was one of nine deaf children. Her parents were deaf as well. Credited with paving the way for other deaf performers, she never dreamed of acting until attending Gallaudet College, a school for the deaf in Washington, D.C.

"The dream was to get out of wherever you were and meet and mingle with the cream of the deaf world, all together in one place," she told The Times in 2001.

One of her starring roles was in Road to a Revolution a play written for her by Mark Medoff and inspired by a 1988 student uprising at Gallaudet. Children of a Lesser God also by Medoff, delved into the relationship between a deaf woman and her speech pathologist at a school for the deaf. Marlee Matlin won a best actress Oscar in the 1986 film version.

Frelich was long frustrated by a scarcity of roles for deaf actresses. When she complained about it to Medoff, he wrote Children of a Lesser God for her.

"The play opened and I really thought, 'I'm working with as good as an actor as I've ever worked with in my life. And I've got to take advantage of it,'" Medoff told the Associated Press on Saturday.

Frelich met her husband, who is not deaf, when both were associated with the National Theatre of the Deaf. Steinberg is a scenic and lighting designer.

Source: The LA Times 

ProductionsDate of Productions
[Play, Drama, Original]
  • Performer: Phyllis Frelich [Esther]
  • ASL Master: Phyllis Frelich
May 05, 2004 - May 08, 2004
Big River
[Musical, Comedy, Sign Language, Revival]
  • Performer: Phyllis Frelich [Sally Phelps, Miss Watson, Ensemble]
Jul 24, 2003 - Sep 21, 2003
Children of a Lesser God
[Play, Drama, Original]
  • Starring: Phyllis Frelich [Sarah Norman]
Mar 30, 1980 - May 16, 1982
The National Theater of the Deaf
[Play, Pantomime, Sign Language, Revival]
  • Performer: Phyllis Frelich [Servant]
Songs From Milk Wood
[Play, Pantomime, Sign Language, Original]
  • Performer: Phyllis Frelich [Polly Garter]
Jan 12, 1970 - Jan 17, 1970
1980 Tony Award® Best Actress in a Play
nomineeChildren of a Lesser God [winner]
Starring: Phyllis Frelich
1980 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actress in a Play
Children of a Lesser God [nominee]
Starring: Phyllis Frelich
Find out where Phyllis Frelich and are credited together