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TDF announces the return of in-person Autism Friendly Performances on Broadway

Date: Dec 08, 2021
Press Release


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TDF, the not-for-profit service organization for the performing arts, today announced the return of its in-person Autism Friendly Performances of Broadway shows for families with children and adults on the autism spectrum and other developmental disabilities. The three-show season begins on Sunday, January 30, 2022 at 1pm with an Autism Friendly Performance of COME FROM AWAY at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre and continues with Disney’s THE LION KING on Sunday, March 6, 2022 at 1pm at the Minskoff Theatre, and Disney’s ALADDIN on Sunday, May 1, 2022 at 1pm at the New Amsterdam Theatre. 

Tickets to these special performances generally go on sale 6-8 weeks before the performance.  Tickets to COME FROM AWAY went on sale today. Click here.

Learn more about TDF’s Autism Friendly Performances and sign up. to receive notifications on how and when to purchase tickets to future performances at Tickets to these special performances are sold only through TDF’s website.

“It is so exciting to be able to invite our audience back into the theatre,” said Lisa Carling, TDF’s Director of Accessibility Programs.  “We polled our audience members to see how they felt about returning to live theatre, and this response, which reflected the feelings of so many, says it all: ‘We missed Broadway so much. The magic. The fun. It’s an outing which we don’t get many of. We can’t wait!’”  

TDF AUTISM FRIENDLY PROGRAMS was founded in 2011 with the first Autism Friendly Broadway Performance of The Lion King. Since then, there have been Autism Friendly Performances of these Broadway productions:  Aladdin, Cats, Come From Away, Elf: The Musical, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, 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.  

The program 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 diagnosed with autism or other sensory sensitivities. 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 spectrum. 

During the pandemic, TDF kept its audiences for Autism Friendly Performances engaged with special virtual experiences. These included The Magic of Kevin Spencer, the original musicals starring the neurodiverse character Little B. and watch parties with discussions for shows such as Newsies.

For more information go to:

TDF ACCESSIBILITY PROGRAMS consists of eight programs which 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 collaborates with the Broadway League on developing and maintaining the website  

Founded in 1968, TDF is a not-for-profit service organization dedicated to bringing the power of the performing arts to everyone. TDF’s mission is to sustain live theatre and dance by engaging 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. TDF is known for its theatregoing programs, including the TKTS Discount Ticket Booths and TDF Membership program; Accessibility programs (including open captioned, sign language interpreted, audio described and Autism Friendly Performances); Education & Engagement programs (serving more than 12,000 New York City students annually and thousands of underserved individuals and veterans); as well as the TDF Costume Collection Rental and Research programs. During the COVID-19 pandemic, TDF continued to serve its constituents by crafting inventive virtual adaptations of its programs via Zoom and other streaming platforms. For more information go to:

TDF wishes to acknowledge the following donors for their generous support of the TDF Autism Friendly Performances program:

Darlene & Stuart Altschuler; The Theodore H. Barth Foundation; The FAR Fund; The Joseph H. Flom Foundation; Harry S. Black and Allon Fuller Fund; Seventh District Foundation; and The Taft Foundation; The Shubert Foundation, The Howard Gilman Foundation.

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council - The Committee on Mental Health, Disability and Addictions. This program is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.