Note: Last year we ran a post about the first showing of The Lion King on Broadway - a special performance to invite people with autism to enjoy the theatre. A second show ran last week - and below is the POV of one of the actors from Broadway World.com . While seeking treatments and answers for autism - we have to live and enjoy life and allow our kids to experience the world around them. After all, it's a hard knock life for us." Oops, wrong show. ;) Thank you to The Lion King production.
Last fall, Theatre Development Fund
(TDF) piloted the new program, Autism Theatre Initiative, as part of
TDF’s Accessibility Programs (TAP), to make theatre accessible to
children and adults on the autism spectrum, and their families. They
presented the first-ever autism-friendly performance of a Broadway show
at Disney’s landmark The Lion King on October 2, 2011 and followed that
up with an autism-friendly performance of Disney and Cameron Mackintosh ’s Mary Poppins on April 29, 2012.
On September 30, the cast of The Lion King took part in another autism-friendly performance, and Rod Thomas , an actor in the show, wrote about the experience from his perspective. The full piece is as follows:
"The Lion King" is a remarkable show for so many different
reasons, but I want to share a small footnote of its history with you.
I remember seeing "The Lion King" for the first time on Broadway
in 1999 in the New Amsterdam Theater and being completely captivated. I
remember seeing it in Des Moines, IA on the day I joined the National
Tour in 2006. I've seen it countless times in cities across the country
and beyond - from Honolulu, Hawaii where it was received with an
incredible amount of love and joy to Mexico City in an arena so large
they simulcast it on two large screens above the stage. It is amazing
how much audiences still go wild for it every night almost 15 years
This past Sunday afternoon was much the same for the Broadway
production. As I walked to the theater to sign-in, I was surrounded by
folks headed to the theater to see the show. Mothers were pointing to
their children as they turned the corner and first caught sight of the
Minskoff Theater marquis with the iconic image of the sunburst mask
greeting them. "There it is!" There was a buzz of excitement as
families drew close to the theater.
There was a slightly different element at work today. There were
volunteers orchestrating today's matinee inside and outside the
theater. They held bags with large, soft squishy balls for some of the
guests as they entered (fidget items). They set up areas on either side
of the lobby - one marked as a "quiet zone" and another marked as an
"activity zone." The volunteers stretched throughout the theater
answering questions and directing families to and from their seats and
assisting with any issues our guest might have had today.
Today was the second Autism Friendly Performance of "The Lion
King." The Theater Development Fund, in association with Disney, bought
out the entire house for this special event and sold those tickets as a
part of a marketed Autism Friendly Performance. This matinee was
reserved especially for them. The show sold out in under 24 hours.
Several changes were made to the show and to the theater to
facilitate this event. There were volunteers at the front of the house
with green glow lights that they would hold up to warn sensitive audience member s
that a loud noise (or perhaps a round of applause) was about to happen
so that they might not be surprised and could cover their ears. No
strobe effects were used in the show. Most of the loudest audio effects
were taken out of the show completely. Read the full story at BroadwayWorld.com