TDF Veterans Theatregoing Project gives back to veterans with free Broadway shows

MIDTOWN, Manhattan (WABC) -- Veterans and their families get to see a Broadway show for free as part of a program run by the non-profit organization, Theater Development Fund, with help from Broadway producers and New York City.

The TDF Fund Veterans Theatregoing Program is best known for running the TKTS discount booths in Times Square.

So far, the veterans have seen a dozen shows for free, and this week I got to tag along for a visit to "Frozen."

The first person I met on the way to the show was 9-year-old Bailey Hoff, who was going to see her first Broadway show with her Dad, and she was pretty excited about it.

"I was like so excited to come," she said.

A night to remember began with free food and fellowship at Dallas BBQ on 42nd street.

Bailey's father, Chris Hoff, served two tours in Afghanistan and a total of a decade of active service in the U.S. Army. This evening acme about through his participation in The Wounded Warriors Project.

"We're around other warriors and other warrior's families," he said.

Chris Hoff said his daughter's night would be unforgettable, in part because she understands that The Wounded Warrior Project is a family. She can be around kids that understand that Daddy has some issues, and The Wounded Warrior Project is there to help them.

A representative of the non-profit group, Sita Kaba, spent 15 months fighting in Iraq.

"All of our warriors, our veterans, they suffer from physical or invisible wounds," Kaba said. "So a night like this, it just cheers them up and gives them hope."

Feeling the love were Makayla Taylor and her father, Michael Taylor, who spent 38 years in the Army.

"A program like this is certainly a way that helps us reconnect," he said. "It's tough sometimes, tough coming back."

Executive Director of TDF Victoria Bailey said this is a way to say thank you from the theater community.

"To be able to say to folks who are veterans and who have served their country, we're really grateful for what you've done," she said.

The TDF Veterans Theatregoing Project is based on a simple principle.

"Going to the theater is healing," Bailey said. "Going to the theater is life affirming, and going to the theater creates joy."

The New York City Council has really gotten behind this effort, donating $50,000 to get it started.

Last year's pilot program was so successful, the council agreed to double its contribution this year to $100,000, and Broadway producers help out by making tickets available at a big discount.

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