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Autism theater initiative aims for younger kids with Disney show

Autism theater initiative aims for younger kids with Disney show
The cast of "Disney Junior Live On Tour! Pirate and Princess Adventure." (Theatre Development Fund / Associated Press)

A theater initiative aimed at encouraging people with autism to attend live performances is targeting younger children with a new offering involving a Disney Live! show at Madison Square Garden in New York.

The Theatre Development Fund said on Wednesday that the April 19 show of "Disney Junior Live on Tour! Pirate and Princess Adventure" will be a special performance geared toward children who have been diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum.

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The performance at Madison Square Garden is a partnership with TDF, a nonprofit New York group that promotes theater throughout the country, and Feld Entertainment, which manages the Disney Live! shows.

In the past, TDF has sponsored other autism-friendly performances at Broadway shows including "The Lion King" and "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark." The project has inspired a number of regional theaters to offer autism-friendly performances, including San Diego's Old Globe.

The April 19 show at Madison Square Garden will feature a reduction of jarring sounds and strobe lights. In addition, the theater lobby will feature quiet areas staffed with autism specialists.

The performance will coincide with Autism Awareness Month, which is April.

TDF is offering tickets to the April 19 performance at a discount to people with autism. Ticket prices range from $32 to $69.

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