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'The Lion King' on Broadway to host autism-friendly performance

August 17, 2011 | 11:48 am


"The Lion King" on Broadway will be the first major New York show to host a performance geared specifically for individuals with autism.

The performance, scheduled for Oct. 2, is part of a new pilot program from the Theatre Development Fund called the Autism Theatre Initiative, whose goal is to make theater accessible to children and adults on the autism spectrum -- including those with Asperger's syndrome -- and their families.

TDF, a nonprofit group, said it has purchased every seat for the Oct. 2 performance at the Minskoff Theatre for sale to families whose members include individuals with autism.

The special performance will feature a reduction of jarring sounds or strobe lights focused into the audience, according to TDF. In addition, there will be designated quiet areas in the lobby, staffed with autism experts, in case individuals need to leave their seats during the performance.

"The Lion King," based on the popular Disney animated movie, has been running on Broadway since 1997. It won six Tony Awards, including for best musical and director Julie Taymor.


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-- David Ng

Photo: A scene from the Broadway production of "The Lion King." Credit: Joan Marcus