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TDF announces its 2019-20 season of autism-friendly performances of Broadway shows for families with children and adults on the autism spectrum:

Date: Jul 29, 2019
Press Release


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TDF, the not-for-profit service organization for the performing arts, today announced its ninth season of autism-friendly performances of Broadway shows for families with children and adults on the autism-spectrum and other developmental disabilities. The five-show season begins on Sunday, September 29 at 1pm with an autism-friendly performance of Disney’s THE LION KING at the Minskoff Theatre and continues with: Disney’s FROZEN (Sunday, November 17 at 1pm at the St. James Theatre), WICKED (Sunday, February 2, 2020 at 1pm at the Gershwin Theatre) and HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD (Sunday, March 1, 2019 at 1pm for Part One and 6:30 for Part Two at the Lyric Theatre), and Disney’s ALADDIN (Sunday, May 3 at 1pm at the New Amsterdam Theatre). This will be the first time HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD will welcome an autism-friendly performance on Broadway.

Tickets to these special performances generally go on sale 6-8 weeks before the performance.  Learn more about TDF’s Autism-Friendly performances and sign up to receive notifications on how and when to purchase tickets at Tickets to these special performances are sold only through TDF’s website.

“We’re grateful to everyone involved in these productions for helping us provide this service to this underserved audience and help us provide an experience for families that is often life-changing,” said Victoria Bailey, TDF’s Executive Director. “A special thanks to our funders, who like us, believe that the arts are for everyone. They make it possible for us to provide several hundred free tickets for each performance to families with children on the spectrum, who could not afford even discounted tickets.”

“The energy in the theatre is electric at the autism-friendly performances,” said Lisa Carling, TDF’s Director of Accessibility Programs.  “You can feel the love.  It comes from an audience knowing they are free to be themselves enjoying the show, and actors who embrace the opportunity to share it with them. We’re excited to have such a fantastic lineup of productions to mark our ninth year!”  

TDF Autism-Friendly Performances Program was founded in 2011 and operates under the umbrella of TDF’s Accessibility Programs. To create an autism-friendly setting, the shows are performed in a friendly, supportive environment for an audience of families and friends with children or adults who are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder or other sensitivity issues. Slight adjustments to the production, where possible, will include reduction of any jarring sounds or strobe lights focused into the audience. In the theatre lobby, there will be staffed break areas, if anyone needs to leave their seats during the performance. For these autism-friendly performances, TDF purchases every seat in the theatre and makes tickets available, at discount prices, exclusively to families, groups, schools, etc. whose members include individuals on the autism. 

In addition to the shows being presented this season, TDF has presented autism-friendly performances of these Broadway productions since 2011:  Cats, Come from Away, Elf: The Musical, Kinky Boots, Mary Poppins, Matilda, My Fair Lady, Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, The King and I, The Phantom of the Opera and Wicked.

TDF’s eight accessibility programs make theatre-going possible for young people and adults with physical disabilities, as well as individuals on the autism spectrum. They provide a full range of services, including autism-friendly performances of theatre productions; accessible seating for those with mobility issues; and open captioned, sign language interpreted and audio described performances of Broadway and Off Broadway shows for theatregoers with hearing and vision loss. TDF also trains theatres in the U.S. and abroad on how to set up open captioning programs and autism-friendly shows, and offers an educational enrichment program for students who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind or with low vision.  TDF partners with the Broadway League on developing and maintaining the website

TDF is a not-for-profit service organization for the performing arts, dedicated to bringing the power of the performing arts to everyone. Founded in 1968, TDF’s mission is to sustain live theatre and dance by engaging and cultivating a broad and diverse audience and eliminating barriers to attendance. TDF fulfills its mission with a variety of programs that expand access, cultivate communities and support the makers of the performing arts. Best known for its theatregoing programs (including the TKTS by TDF Discount Booths and TDF Membership Programs), TDF’s accessibility (including open captioned, audio described and autism-friendly performances), school (serving over 10,000 New York City students annually), community engagement and information programs — as well as the TDF Costume Collection Rental and Research Programs — have introduced millions of people to the theatre and helped make the unique experience of theatre available to everyone. TDF envisions a world where the transformative experience of attending live theatre and dance is essential, relevant, accessible and inspirational. To learn more about TDF, go to:

TDF Autism-Friendly Performances Program receives major support from:
Darlene and Stuart Altschuler, The Theodore H. Barth Foundation, Helene & Ilene Berger, Harry S. Black and Allon Fuller Fund, Liv It Up & The David and Polly D'Addario Family, The FAR Fund, Joseph H. Flom Foundation, The Walter F. and Alice Gorham Foundation, NEXT for AUTISM from the proceeds of Night of Too Many Stars, Stavros Niarchos Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, New York City Council, Speaker Corey Johnson, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York State Council on the Arts, S&P Global, The Morris and Alma Schapiro Fund, The Adolph and Ruth Schnurmacher Foundation, Seventh District Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, Laura Slack, Smart Family Foundation
The Taft Foundation, Eva Wirth

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

This program is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.