Broadway Advocate

Kelvin Moon Loh (Today.com)

Kelvin Moon Loh (Today.com)

When I first came across Broadway actor Kelvin Moon Loh’s recent Facebook post that started off – “I am angry and sad. Just got off stage from today’s matinee and yes, something happened. Someone brought their autistic child to the theater…” I was upset. Reading that first bit of the post, my heart just sank. I thought it was going to be a rant about how that child shouldn’t have been at the theater, likely calling out the family for being inconsiderate or something along those lines. Unfortunately, as we all well know, many of those types of posts exist. However, after reading on, I was pleased to see that the post was quite the opposite.

During a matinee performance of “The King and I” in NYC, Loh says that during an intense scene, a young boy with autism began making some loud noises, which drew some glares and unpleasant comments from other audience members. And, thankfully, Loh wasn’t going to take it. Following the performance, Loh posted a heartfelt request for empathy and understanding for the boy and his mother. In his post he wrote, “When did we as theater people, performers and audience members become so concerned with our own experiences that we lose compassion for others?”

Loh, who was a schoolteacher before Broadway, told TODAY.com that he felt he had to say something and to ask for people to try to understand what it’s like to walk in someone else’s shoes. He said “parents of autistic children sit there with such fear and terror that this episode could occur. I was watching a mother’s nightmare happen, and I just wanted to have her know that what she’s doing is right in trying to expose her child to the theater, and there are advocates supporting her.”

And while Loh may not have heard from that mom in the theater, his message has reached others – whether it gives families touched by autism encouragement to try new experiences, or if it gives people a bit more understanding so that they may think twice the next time before passing harsh judgment.

We are glad there are advocates like Loh out there stepping up because we could all benefit from his message of compassion.

Lynsey, Community Manager 

Coming to Broadway

BroadwayWe’re happy to share that the Theatre Development Fund (TDF) is gearing up for a slate of autism-friendly performances of popular Broadway shows this fall, which will include Disney’s The Lion King, Spider-man Turn Off The Dark and Wicked. This is part of TDF’s Autism Theatre Initiative, a program to make theatre accessible to children and adults with autism as well as their families.

The program launched back in 2011 with a showing of The Lion King, and it was so successful that more shows were added — and it also demonstrated the need for other theatres around the country to develop similar initiatives to offer autism-friendly performances.

To help make it a more comfortable environment for audience members, slight adjustments to the production are made, including the reduction of any jarring sounds or strobe lights. There are also quiet and activity areas in the lobby for those who need to leave their seats during the performances.

It’s a great opportunity to get out and enjoy the magic that these shows have to offer. Check out dates/times below, and for ticket information, click here.

  • Sunday, Sept. 29 (1 p.m.) – Disney’s The Lion KingMinskoff Theatre (**Tickets available now**)
  • Saturday, Nov. 16 (2 p.m.) – Spider-man Turn Off The DarkThe Foxwoods
  • Sunday, March 2, 2014 (1 p.m.) – WickedGershwin Theatre

Lynsey, Community Manager