Pittsburgh is among first cities to present autism-friendly 'Lion King'

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Pittsburgh is the third American city to present a performance of Disney's "The Lion King" tailored to the needs of adults and children on the autism spectrum. The performance at 2 p.m. on Sept. 21 at the Benedum Center is presented by The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, working with Disney Theatrical Productions, local autism organizations and community liaisons.

Modeled after similar performances presented by the Theater Development Fund on Broadway and The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts in Houston, the musical will make slight adjustments to the production, including the reduction of jarring sounds and the elimination of strobe lights focused into the audience. In addition, the Benedum Center lobby will offer quiet spaces and activity areas for families, with trained staff and volunteers on hand for encouragement and assistance.

The Trust raised the funds to underwrite expenses related to the performance, with support coming from the Autism Connection of PA, Jack Buncher Foundation, The Children's Institute of Pittsburgh, the FISA Foundation, Mary Hillman Jennings Foundation, Massey Charitable Trust, UPMC/UPMC Health Plan and Edith L. Trees Charitable Trust. Tickets are available via www.trustarts.org/autism or 412-456-2670.

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