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TDF announces 2018-19 season of autism-friendly performances on Broadway
Season includes: Spongebob Squarepants, The Lion King, Frozen, Aladdin and My Fair Lady
TDF, the not-for-profit service organization for the performing arts which is celebrating its 50th year of service, today announced its eighth 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, July 15 at 1pm with an autism-friendly performance of Nickelodeon’s SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS: The Broadway Musical at the Palace Theatre and continues with Disney Theatrical’s THE LION KING (Sunday, September 30 at 1pm at The Minskoff Theatre), FROZEN (Sunday, November 4 at 1pm at the St. James Theatre) and ALADDIN (Sunday, March 3, 2019 at 1pm at The New Amsterdam Theatre). The season concludes with an autism-friendly performance of The Lincoln Center Theater production of Lerner and Loewe’s MY FAIR LADY (Sunday, May 5, 2019 at 1pm at The Vivian Beaumont Theater).

The July 15th performance of SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS has already sold out. Tickets to the remaining productions 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 www.tdf.org/autism. Tickets to these special performances are sold only through TDF’s website.

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 quiet and play areas, if anyone needs to leave their seats during the performance. For these special performances, TDF purchases every seat in the theatre and makes tickets available exclusively to families, groups, schools, etc. whose members include individuals on the autism spectrum at discount prices. 

“Each season, more and more productions are excited to open their doors to this very special and underserved audience and help us provide experiences that are often life-changing,” said Victoria Bailey, TDF’s Executive Director. “We are grateful to so many of our funders who have made it possible for us to be able to provide several hundred free tickets for each performance to those families who could not afford even discounted tickets, thus helping us bring the power of the performing arts to everyone.”

“We try to present show that families say they really want to see, and this season we have five great productions from the top of the most requested list,” said Lisa Carling, TDF’s Director of Accessibility Programs. “Our wonderful pool of volunteers is expanding to include even more professionals in the autism field.  It’s truly exciting to be heading into this eighth year seeing how much the program has grown in audience numbers and impact!” 

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, 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.

ABOUT TDF ACCESSIBILITY PROGRAMS
TDF has eight accessibility programs which make theatre-going possible for young people and adults with physical disabilities, as well as individuals on the autism spectrum. It provides 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 here 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.  

ABOUT TDF
TDF, currently celebrating its 50th year, 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: www.tdf.org.

TDF Autism-Friendly Performances Program receives major support from:
Darlene and Stuart Altschuler; Anonymous; Helene Berger and Ilene Berger; Clover Bergmann; The Bulova Stetson Fund; Holly Cohen; The FAR Fund; The Joseph H. Flom Foundation; Iona College Players, Speech and Hearing Club and American Sign Language Class; Corey Johnson, Speaker of the New York City Council; National Endowment for the Arts; New York City Council; New York State Council on the Arts;  Stavros Niarchos Foundation; Adolph and Ruth Schnurmacher Foundation; Seventh District Foundation; The Taft Foundation; The Shubert Foundation; The Joseph H. LeRoy and Ann C. Warner Fund, Inc.

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

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