During Waterstreet's two-decade tenure, Deaf West gained acclaim for its commitment to expanding opportunities for deaf artists and for developing a new kind of theater in which non-hearing and hearing performers express themselves through a combination of American Sign Language, spoken language and movement.
Since its founding in 1991, the company has gone from a borrowed space at the Fountain Theatre in Hollywood to its own home in North Hollywood. It has staged 40 plays and four musicals, including a revival of the '80s Broadway show "Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" that went from North Hollywood to the Mark Taper Forum in 2002 and to New York in 2003, earning two Tony nominations and a Tony honor for excellence in theater.
Waterstreet, 68, tells Culture Monster that his experiences at Deaf West represent "a wild and crazy dream that came true. To be honest, I never expected the success that came out of 'Big River.' I still can't believe it today."