Exclusive interviews with contemporary newsmakers                  

Troy Kotsur
Actor

A native of Phoenix, Arizona, Troy Kotsur told us that he was the only deaf person in his family. He attended Phoenix Day School for the Deaf, but then transferred to Westwood High School in his sophomore year, as PDSD had no theater program. He studied theater at Westwood and played basketball; all of his teammates were hearing. "It was an interesting experience," he says, moving between Deaf and Hearing communities and cultures.

He attended Gallaudet University from 1987 to 1989, studying Theater and TV/film. His first play was Susan Zeder's In a Room Somewhere, directed by Victor Brown, in 1989. He also played varsity basketball. In March 1988, he witnessed the Deaf President Now! movement—a high point of his experience at Gallaudet.

He left Gallaudet when he got his first professional offer—NTID's touring company, Sunshine Too, 1990-91. From there, he joined National Theatre of the Deaf for two years, performing in Treasure Island (1991-92 tour) and, as Hamlet, in Ophelia (1992-93).

Since 1994, he's worked with Deaf West Theatre in Los Angeles, participating in numerous productions, acting and directing. "I've learned so much from the people I've worked with—directors, actors, veteran actors, workshops, etc."

These theatrical workshops have a way of bringing people together. He met fellow Deaf performer Deanne Bray, who's probably still best known for her title role in PAX TV's Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye 2002-2005). "We became best friends. That's how we ended up together—and we've been together for almost 14 years." Their daughter, Kyra, is 7. She's hearing, but knows ASL.

Kotsur has a growing list of TV credits. His most recent appearance was on CBS's Criminal Minds (September 26), playing a bad guy.

As for his most recent theatrical appearance, he played the lead role in Stephen Sachs's Cyrano, a co-production of the Fountain Theatre and Deaf West. (Sachs wrote Sweet Nothing in My Ear, which premiered at the Fountain in 1997, and was adapted for Hallmark Hall of Fame in 2008; the original ending is more tragic and ambiguous than the happy ending of the TV version.) Cyrano is Sachs's multimodal (ASL and spoken English), modern-dress adaptation of Edmond Rostand's classic heroic-tragicomedy, Cyrano de Bergerac, minus the fake nose, Cavalier costumes, and swordplay, with a Deaf twist: Kotsur's Cyrano is a brilliant ASL poet who loves the alluring hearing woman, Roxie—but she has a yen for Cyrano's loutish rock-musician brother Chris, and doesn't understand ASL. The cast of 13 included six Deaf performers. Kotsur was onstage throughout the play. Cyrano premiered in late April 2012, got rave reviews, sold out, and was such a hit that its original run was extended twice, closing in late July. Sachs calls it "a huge success."

Kotsur was nominated for an Ovation Award (Los Angeles's counterpart of Broadway's Tony Award) as Best Lead Actor in a Play; Sachs was likewise nominated for Best Original Play. The awards are slated for November 12.

Deaf Person of the Year
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
Robert Davila
John Yeh
Luke Adams
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
Robert Davila
John Yeh
Luke Adams
Deaf Person of the Month: archives 2017
January 2017
February 2017
March 2017
April 2017
May 2017
June 2017
July 2017
August 2017
September 2017
October 2017
November 2017
December 2017
Deaf Person of the Month: archives 2016
January 2016
February 2016
March 2016
April 2016
May 2016
June 2016
July 2016
August 2016
September 2016
October 2016
November 2016
December 2016
Deaf Person of the Month: archives 2015
January 2015
February 2015
March 2015
April 2015
May 2015
June 2015
July 2015
August 2015
September 2015
October 2015
November 2015
December 2015
Deaf Person of the Month: archives 2014
January 2014
February 2014
March 2014
April 2014
May 2014
June 2014
Kurt
July 2014
August 2014
September 2014
October 2014
November 2014
December 2014
Deaf Person of the Month: archives 2013
January 2013
February 2013
March 2013
April 2013
May 2013
June 2013
John Yeh
July 2013
August 2013
September 2013
October 2013
November 2013
December 2013
Deaf Person of the Month: archives 2012
January 2012
February 2012
March 2012
April 2012
May 2012
June 2012
John Yeh
July 2012
August 2012
September 2012
October 2012
November 2012
December 2012
Deaf Person of the Month: archives 2011
January 2011
February 2011
March 2011
April 2011
May 2011
June 2011
John Yeh
July 2011
August 2011
September 2011
October 2011
November 2011
December 2011
Deaf Person of the Month: archives 2010
January 2010
February 2010
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010
June 2010
John Yeh
July 2010
August 2010
September 2010
October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
Deaf Person of the Month: archives 2009
January 2009
February 2009
March 2009
April 2009
May 2009
June 2009
John Yeh
July 2009
August 2009
September 2009
October 2009
November 2009
December 2009
Deaf Person of the Month: archives 2008
January 2008
February 2008
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
June 2008
Robert Davila
Kevin Frost
Ed Bosson
Leon Lim
John Yeh
Marlee Matin
July 2008
August 2008
September 2008
October 2008
November 2008
December 2008
Deaf Person of the Month: archives 2007
January 2007
February 2007
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
Robert R. Davila
Lizzie Sorkin
E. Lynn Jacobowitz
Joey Baer
Donald Tinsley, Sr.
Howie Seago
July 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
November 2007
December 2007
Bernard Bragg
Alice Hagemeyer
Carole Lazorisak
Ben Soukup
Tony Saccente
Fred Beam

Any questions, comments, ideas, or concerns you’d like to share?  Contact us at editor@deafpeople.com.
Copyright © 2007 - 2016 MSM Productions Ltd. All Rights Reserved.