Deaf Person of the Month
Bill & Howie Seago
On September 20, 2018, Theatre Puget Sound and the Gregory Awards announced that brothers Howie and Billy Seago would be recognized for their contributions to the Seattle theater community, and to the national arts community as well, and for their good work as educators, mentors, and advocates.
This awards program began as the Gregory A. Fals Sustained Achievement AWard in 1998, and has expanded to encompass 18 categories. The Gregory Awards are considered the most prestigious theater awards in the northwestern region of the U.S.
The 10th Annual Gregory Awards Ceremony was held on October 22 at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall, just norh of Seattle's Memorial Stadium, and the Seago brothers received their Gregory Awards.
Billy Seago has acted in professional productions across the U.S. and Europe, including Speeltheater Holland, Seattle Children's Theatre (SCT), Seattle Repertory Theatre, Stage One (louisville), Fulton Opera House (Lancaster, PA), National Theatre of the Deaf, and Deaf Spotlight (seeattle).
In the TV-movie And Your Name is Jonah (1979), he had a memorable role as Woody, an ebullient Deaf man who befriends Jenny Corelli (Sally Struthers) and mentors her languageless deaf son Jonah (Jeff Bravin). His warm and friendly perseverance finally achieves the breakthrough: Jonah recognizes what language is about, begins to sign, and asks Woody to teach him more signs.
Billy was a co-founder and director of the Deaf Youth Drama Prgram at SCT (DYDP, 1993-2007), was artist-in-residence in dozens of Deaf and hearing classrooms, and directed several SCT productions.
He's the featured artist for Sign-A-Vision Institute's Stories in the Attic series and the featured instructor in Sign Enhancers’; The Bravo Family ASL videocourse. A nationally-renowned master storyteller, he has conducted workshops in dramatics, storytelling, creative use of ASL, and Deaf Culture, and has worked extemsively as an ASL master/sign coach for theatrical interpreters in Seattle and at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
In 2015, he performed in Deaf Spotlight’s production of God of Carnage, about the progrssively irrational get-together of two sets of parents whose children have been involved in a playground scuffle, leaving one injured. The actress who played his wife had been one of his DYDP students.
He teaches ASL at Wilson High School in Tacoma, etakes pride in his two children, and enjoys outdoor activities. Howie Seago's professional credits include acting, producing, directing, and teaching—over 40 years’ worth of accomplishments. He played Martin, father to a musically gifted CODA daughter, in Caroline Link's Jenseits der Stille (Beyond Silence, 1996), which was nominated for an Oscar as Best Foreign Film (Germany). He also appeared in Todd Haynes's Wonderstruck and a new film, Grisha.
His TV credits include Hunter (1988), The Equalizer (1989), and, perhaps his best-known role, Star Trek: The Next Generation (1989), which gained him a new fan following.
He performed leading roles in three of Peter Sellars's productions: the tile role in the controversial Ajax (1986-87), the ghost of King Darius in The Persians (1993), and Biblical Pieces (1999); the first two were staged in Europe and the U.S., the third in Amsterdam).
He performed in several noteworthy productions at La Jolla Playhouse, Intiman Theatre, and LAByrinth Theatre Company, New York. From 2006 to 2016, he played multiple roles in 14 Oregon Shakespeare Festival productions.
After getting the news, Howie posted an appreciate comment on his Facebook page. He noted, “Never did I imagine the kind of mental, spiritial, artistic journeys I have experienced. It is gratifying to witness students who have progresed successfully on various paths in Life, including the performing arts. I would like to think that somehow we also had a positive influence on those who may have fallen through the cracks or have trouble blossoming. That somehow we sowed tiny seeds of Deaf esteem that they still carry inside.” "and" pushed aside.