The Broadway production of “Hadestown,” in partnership with TDF, will present an autism-friendly performance on Aug. 20 at 1 p.m. The matinée will cater to “children and adults who are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder or other sensitivity issues and their families and friends,” according to TDF. This marks the first autism-friendly performance since the production opened at the Walter Kerr Theatre on April 17, 2019.
Sponsored by Thomas M. Neff, the performance will host attendees for free. Though some past autism-friendly performances have been subsidized, TDF confirmed to Broadway News that this marks the first time ticket holders will bear no cost thanks to an individual sponsor. Attendees were selected by a lottery.
“Hadestown” will make adjustments to the production and the theater to create a supportive environment for this group of theatergoers. These will include the reduction of lights, sounds and other special effects where possible. The theater will dim the house lights only slightly during the performance. Staffed break areas will be provided in the lobby of the theater for those audience members who may need to step out during the performance.
“When we first encountered ‘Hadestown,’ we had no way of anticipating the myriad ways in which varied audience members each found their own particular resonance in the story, the music, the lyrics and the characters,” said “Hadestown” producer Mara Isaacs in a statement. “We believe that everyone has the potential to see themselves in a story about love, hope, community and redemption. We look forward to discovering, along with our guests at the autism-friendly performance, what will resonate for them.”
Lisa Carling, TDF’s director of accessibility programs, said, “We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to offer an autism-friendly performance of this amazing show to our families with children and adults on the autism spectrum at no cost. Due to the generosity of Mr. Neff, these folks who have attended previous autism-friendly performances on Broadway are getting an experience they won’t soon forget.”
TDF is a nonprofit known for its programs that support the performing arts and make theater more accessible to everyone. Since 2011, the organization has presented more than 18 autism-friendly shows on Broadway.
In addition to “Hadestown,” “The Lion King” will host an autism-friendly performance on Oct. 1 at 1 p.m. Several other Broadway shows are expected to announce similar performances in the coming months for the 2023-2024 season.
“Hadestown” is produced on Broadway by Mara Isaacs, Dale Franzen, Hunter Arnold and Tom Kirdahy. TDF is led by executive director Deeksha Gaur.