Broadway display of "Princess and Pirate" for autistic children Saturday

Sandy Kenyon with the story.
April 18, 2014 2:41:06 PM PDT
Thousands of children like young fans Greta and her brother Benji will get to see Disney characters such as "Sofia the First" come to life this weekend.

"She was really nice and it was really fun meeting her," said Greta.

But in addition to the usual crowd, another group will also have the opportunity to experience the Disney magic.

The "Princess and Pirate" adventure plays through Monday, but on Saturday morning at 11 a.m. there will be a special performance for children with autism.

Disney and Broadway's Theater Development Fund partnered with FELD Entertainment to put the performance on display.

"It's going to be a welcoming and supportive environment for families where they know the show is going to be something their children can handle," said Alana Feld, the Executive Vice President and Producer of FELD Entertainment.

Just last month the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a new study showing a big increase in the number of children diagnosed with autism, making such a performance all the more timely.

"We worked very closely with the experts on this so we have some lighting changes to make sure the light doesn't go into the audience at all, also to make sure we don't have any strobe effects or anything that might be jarring," said Feld.

Additionally, sound levels will be lower than normal and fewer tickets will be sold in the theater at Madison Square Garden.

"The idea is to create a more intimate experience for these families so they have room to spread out throughout the show and they can really take in the show without it being overly crowded," added Feld.

As they were when "Mary Poppins" and "The Lion King" were staged on Broadway for autistic children, specially trained volunteers will be on hand for assistance.

For more about future autism-friendly performances, sign up at

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