Bruce Hlibok

Born in Flushing, New York, as one of four children of deaf parents, Bruce Hlibok began early. Directing his first play at the age of 18 in 1978 at the Union League of Deaf, he attended Gallaudet College before transferring to New York University, where he earned degrees in journalism and playwriting. 

As the first deaf actor to play a central role in a Broadway production (Runaways in 1978, which ran for 274 performances and earned five Tony nominations), Hlibok was the first to use sign language set to music onstage. He later founded a theatre company and wrote a children’s book about his sister Nancy, a dancer who attended Juilliard, titled Silent Dancer, published in 1981. He later wrote twelve plays, which were produced off-Broadway in Manhattan as well as in Paris and Amsterdam. His last role was in The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, staged off-Broadway in 1994.

He died in 1995, of pneumonia complicated by AIDS.