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Autism- and Sensory-Friendly Shows in NYC to Book Now

Autism- and Sensory-Friendly Shows in NYC to Book Now

More and more venues in NYC are hosting inclusive performances for those with ASD or sensory issues.

For families affected by autism or sensory sensitivities, going to see a show or theater production can seem impossible. The good news is many top venues in NYC are now trying to be more accessible and inclusive. Here we round up the best autism- and sensory-friendly shows for the 2018-2019 season at New York City theaters and venues. The list includes Broadway shows, kids’ theater and music, the circus, and those famous blue men!
     

TDF

TDF is a fantastic nonprofit organization with the aim of bringing the performing arts to everyone, regardless of their special needs. Its pioneering autism-friendly season of Broadway shows is now in its eighth year. Each show is performed in a fully supportive environment, with adaptions to noise and light where possible. Fully staffed quiet and play areas are provided in the lobby for anyone who needs to leave their seats. Tickets sell out quickly and can only be purchased via tdf.org/autism. Sign up early to get alerts when the sensory-friendly show’s tickets go on sale (typically four to six weeks before the show’s date), at a discounted price of $55-$80. These are full-length Broadway shows, so may not be suitable for younger kids.     

The Lion King
When:
Sunday, Sept. 29, 1pm 
Where: The Minskoff Theatre, 200 W. 45th St., Times Square Theater District
Ages: 6 and older
What: The iconic, award-winning musical with music by Elton John and lyrics by Tim Rice.
    

frozen the musical sensory friendly performance

FROZEN: the Musical
When:
Sunday, Nov. 17, 1pm
Where: St. James Theatre, 246 W. 44th St., Times Square Theater District.
Ages: 8 and older
What: The Broadway version of the Disney movie you know and love features new songs as well as your favorites.

Wicked
When:
Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020 1pm
Where: Gershwin Theatre, 222 W. 51st St., Times Square Theater District
Ages: 6 and older
What: The Broadway sensation that looks into what happened in the Land of Oz from a reimagined angle.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
When:
Sunday, March 1, 2020 Part 1 at 1pm and Part 2 at 6:30pm
Where: Lyric Theatre, 213 W 42nd St., Times Square Theater District
Ages: 10 and older
What: The eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. Held in two parts.

Aladdin
When:
Sunday, May 3, 2020 1pm
Where: The New Amsterdam Theatre, 14 W. 42nd St., Times Square Theater District
Ages: 6 and older
What: The award-winning show about a genie and a magical lamp (and other things).
  

 

Autism Speaks

This nonprofit has partnered with two big shows this fall to offer special adapted productions. It also has a national calendar of autism-friendly events on its website, which is a great resource.  

Big Apple Circus
When:
Saturday, Oct. 26, 11am
Where: Damrosch Park, 60 Lincoln Center Plaza, Upper West Side
Ages: All
What: The famous circus will come back to Lincoln Center—and for the first time with a female ringmaster! This show will feature modifications to sound and lighting, a calming/break out area, trained staff, fidgets, signage, and earplugs. Information about the show is available before you go.
Tickets: $45 and up
    

RELATED: Find services and programs for children with autism
   

The New Victory Theater

One of the first venues to offer autism-friendly shows every season, this children’s theater offers lots of support to parents and kids at performances. There are break out zones, trained staff, show information, family bathrooms, help with transitions, and fidget toys. Tickets: $25; visit newvictory.org or call 646-223-3010 for more information. 209 W. 42nd St., Times Square Theater District.

42 FT - a Menagerie of Mechanical Marvels: Sensory-Friendly
When:
Saturday, Dec. 14, 7pm
Ages: 5 and older
What: A breathtaking and jolly circus show with lighting and sound adaptations

The Pout-Pout Fish: Sensory-Friendly 
When:
Sunday, Oct. 13, 3pm
Ages: 4-7
What: A musical adventure based on the book.

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Riddle of Trilobites: Sensory-Friendly
When:
Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, 12pm
Ages: 6 and older
What: A funny prehistoric puppetry show that shows us how to leave our mark on the world

Snow White: Sensory-Friendly
When:
Sunday, April 26, 2020, 5pm
Ages: 7 and older
What: A new take on the classic story with an eclectic indie score
     

Lincoln Center

This coming season there are five shows on the Lincoln Center’s schedule that are relaxed and adapted for neuro-diverse audiences. Adjustments have been made to sensory stimuli, and there are no restrictions to sound, movement, leaving, or re-entering the theater. Tickets: $25; visit lincolncenter.org or call 212-721-6500 for more information; Clark Studio Theater, 165 W. 65th St., 7th Floor, Upper West Side.     

Music from the Sole
When:
Sunday, Dec. 8, 11am
Ages: 5-11
What: Renowned tap and Afro-Cuban artists present holiday performances

OGO
When:
 Sunday, Dec. 15, 11am
Ages: 3-8
What: A funny and charming puppet-theater experience

SUDS
When:
Saturdays and Sundays, Feb 1-Feb 9, 2020, 11am and 2pm
Ages: 5-8
What: An engaging and immersive theatrical experience created for children with autism and other developmental differences

Songs from Open Windows
When:
Saturday and Sunday, Feb 15-16, 2020, 11am and 2pm
Ages: 5-8
What: An upbeat musical journey with Dan Zanes and Claudia Eliaza
     

Mumu Fresh
When: Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, 11am
Ages: 5-11
What: The singer-songwriter empowers the youngest generation with her lyrics, voice, and commitment to social justice

One Morning I Left
When: Sunday, March 22, 2020, 11am
Ages: 5-8
What: This Spanish-English bilingual production invites children to discover, feel, and enjoy colors, sounds, landscapes, and animals

Kish Kush
When: Saturday, May 23, 2020, 2pm
Ages: 5-11
What: A unique, at times humorous, portrayal of diversity

RELATED: Make a night of it and go out to eat with one mom's tips for dining out with a child with autism
     

Symphony Space

Instead of having specific shows that are sensory-friendly, this popular venue has made the decision to make all of its productions inclusive. The house lights are turned up, sound levels are lowered, and the atmosphere is inclusive. There is also a break out space for families to go if it gets too much. Information is available about the shows in advance, and if families need to tour before the show, that’s also possible. Tickets: $17; visit symphonyspace.org or call 212-864-5400 for more information; 2537 Broadway at 95th Street, Upper West Side.
    

Just Kidding: The Okee Dokee Brothers
When:
Sat., Nov 9, 11am
Ages: All
What: A funny bluegrass roadtrip with songs about nature and the great outdoors

Just Kidding: Everybody Loves Pirates
When: 
Sat., March 28, 2020, 11am and 2pm
Ages: All
What: A pirate adventure with puppets and pirates in search for buried treasure

Just Kidding: Alastair Mook
When:
Sat. Nov. 23, 11am
Ages: All
What: A folk sing-along for the whole family

The Jungle Book
When:
Sat., Jan. 11, 2020, 11am and 2pm
Ages: All
What: A re-imagination of the classic story of Mowgli and his childhood in the jungles of India

Just Kidding: Fox Fables
When:
Sat., Nov 16, 11am and 2pm
Ages: All
What: Puppetry tells the story of a fox who loses his tail

Just Kidding: Goldilocks and the Three Bears
When:
Sat., Feb 15, 2020, 11am and 2pm
Ages: All
What: Hand-carved wooden marionettes bring this classic tale to life

RELATED: 5 tips for taking a child with autism to the movies