Join us June 19th, 2023 at 7:30pm
Gershwin Theater, NYC
Take a Look!
Introducing the Recipients of the 2022 Arts for Autism Access Grants:
Shining Stars Network | $5,000
Shining Stars Network is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in Cranford, NJ that is dedicated to shining a light on the special needs community through media, events and experiences. Shining Stars Network plans to use this grant towards the cost of renting The Union County Performing Arts Center for a performance in 2023.
ELIJA (Empowering Long Island’s Journey through Autism) Transitional & Programming Services (TPS) provides a multiyear, comprehensive, and scientifically validated curriculum for young adults transitioning into academic and work environments. They will be using this grant to offset the food costs for their Culinary & Baking Arts Program, which is offered to the young adult and adult ASD population.
The Miracle Project | $3,000
The Miracle Project is a fully inclusive theater, film and expressive arts program focused on building communication, self-esteem, job and social skills for neurodiverse and/or disabled individuals. This grant will be put towards Miracle Movement, which is a component of all the classes at The Miracle Project.
Spotlight Theater | $3,500
Located in Castle Rock, Colorado, Spotlight Theater aims to provide broad access to theatre experiences by offering programming that reaches out across diverse backgrounds to engage with youth of all ages. Spotlight Theater will put this grant towards their goal of opening a specific cast for students that are on the autism spectrum and students with other disabilities.
The Grand Rapids Civic Theatre will be using this grant towards their Low Sensory Night (LSN) events, which seek to provide an inclusive night of theatre for individuals and families living with diverse sensory needs.
Nassau/Suffolk Autism Society of America | $3,750 Awarded
The purpose of NSASA is to improve the daily quality of life for individuals with autism within our local communities. We are requesting this grant to help support individuals with autism, regardless of their age.
Actionplay, Inc. | $5,000
Actionplay is a NYC-based theatre organization dedicated to providing autistic, neurodivergent, and disabled teens and young adults with equal access to the theatre making process. This grant will support their Action-Improv-Musical-Series (AIMS), a program where autistic teenagers and young adults team with neurotypical peers to hone improv skills and create and present original works in New York City venues.
Making Light | $3,500
Making Light Productions is a non-profit organization with the mission of providing an inclusive theatre arts education for children, teens, and adults of all abilities, as well as providing job opportunities for adults with disabilities. Making Light Productions will put this grant towards their first live production, A Year with Frog and Toad, based on the classic children’s books by Arnold Lobel.
Arts for Autism is a one night annual Broadway benefit concert where the biggest names on Broadway join performing arts students from around the country onstage at the Gershwin Theater, home to Broadway's production of Wicked. Together we perform, spread acceptance, and inspire compassion, kindness, and understanding for those impacted by autism. We hope you'll join us for this evening celebrating hope and new beginnings as we look forward to a brighter future for all.
Each year funds raised from the Arts For Autism benefit concert will be distributed in the form of grants between $1,000 and $5,000. We are passionate about the arts and how they can positively impact everyone. For this reason we have established the Arts Access Grant to ensure that each year at least one of our grants will be used specifically to expand access to the arts for people impacted by autism. The Community Access Grant can be used more broadly for any project (including arts-related) that improves the lives of people impacted by autism and we will grant as many as possible until funds raised are exhausted. Arts organizations may apply for both grants. Grants are available for any U.S. based organization or individual and people on the autism spectrum are encouraged to apply. Funds granted must be used within twelve months of being awarded.
Our newly established advisory board will oversee the granting of funds raised at the Arts For Autism benefit concert. The board was formed in 2022 in response to community feedback about where money raised is being donated. We are excited to see where they decide to make an impact to support the autism community this year and beyond! Check our site later this summer for updates.
Who Does the Concert Benefit?
Dear Evan Hansen
Zachary Noah Piser
13, the Musical
New World Stages
The Sound of Music
Danielle Erin Rhodes
The Buddy Holly Story
Eric Van Tielen
The Lion King
In the Heights
Natalie Charle Ellis
School of Rock
25th Annual...Spelling Bee
Kevin Smtih Kirkwood
Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris
Kelvin Moon Loh
Michael Ray Fisher
School of Rock
Escape to Margaritaville
West Side Story
A Chorus Line
The 2022 Broadway Cast
SPECIAL GUEST: STEPHEN SCHWARTZ
We are thrilled to welcome American musical theatre lyricist and composer Stephen Schwartz as a special guest this year! Stephen has written such hit musicals as Godspell, Pippin, and right at the Gershwin Theater, Wicked. He has contributed lyrics for a number of successful films, including Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Prince of Egypt, and Enchanted. Schwartz has won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Lyrics, four Grammy Awards, three Academy Awards and has been nominated for six Tony Awards. He received the 2015 Isabelle Stevenson Award, a special Tony Award for his commitment to serving artists and fostering new talent.
KEYNOTE SPEAKER: ELAINE HALL
Referenced by the New York Times as the “child whisperer,” Elaine Hall had a successful career in Hollywood as a TV and film acting coach. Her life changed dramatically when her son, adopted from a Russian orphanage, was diagnosed with autism. When traditional therapies did not work for him, she developed an innovative, creative methodology to reach him. These methods (now evidence-based) became the backbone of The Miracle Project®, a fully inclusive, expressive, performing arts and social skills program. The Miracle Project® has been profiled in the HBO two-time Emmy winning film Autism: The Musical and in Autism: The Sequel. Elaine’s work is endorsed by leading autism experts and replicated across the globe.
Considered a pioneer in creating neuro-diverse theater, film and religious education programs, Elaine has been featured in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe, The Jewish Journal, Ha Aretz, The Mighty, and The Huffington Post, and has appeared on CNN, CBS, NPR, HBO, Today.com, and OWN, among others.
Elaine, who identifies as neurodiverse herself for her sensory sensitivities and different way of thinking, lives in Santa Monica, California with her husband Jeff Frymer, a marriage and family therapist. Her son, Neal Katz, uses his iPad as a communication device and has given presentations with her across the country. She has received numerous honors for her work and was named on the Forward 50’s list of Remarkable People doing Remarkable Things in 2020. Elaine is committed to changing the way the world perceives ability.
Founder, The Miracle Project
Juneteenth - Monday, June 20th
In honor of Juneteenth we are pleased to present Gabrielle McClinton and the cast of Paradise Square for a special performance of "Breathe Easy" from the show.
MORE SPECIAL GUESTS
After falling in love with acting in school musicals, Naomi Rubin began her professional acting career in 2018 when she was cast in a recurring role as Noelle on seasons 2, 3, and 4 of the Netflix series Atypical. In addition to the Netflix series, Naomi co-stars as Ellie in Jason Katim’s new 2022 comedy-drama As We See It on Amazon. In 2021 she was thrilled to be cast as a You Will Be Found montage performer in the film adaptation of Dear Evan Hansen.
An LA native and company member of The Miracle Project since 2018, Naomi is on the autism spectrum and credits her neurodiverse thinking for her ability to imagine characters and animate their emotional universe.
When she's not acting or singing, Naomi can be found volunteering with rescue cats at Perry's Place, obsessing over the Marvel Universe and Broadway musicals, and championing social justice.
Actionplay is a NYC-based 501(c)(3) theatre organization dedicated to providing autistic, neurodivergent, and disabled teens and young adults with equal access to the theatre making process. Through our innovative programs, outreach, training, and professional development, Actionplay strives to build a more inclusive world.
Every year dozens of Broadway performers lend their time and talents to our event. Check out our program archives to find all your favorite stars!
"This event to me is special because it shows that there isn't one way to tell a story. The power of song. The power of dance. It has a farther reach than just entertainment. We can do something. We can do something really important."
- Kelvin Moon Loh, The King and I & Spongebob
Here's How We Did In 2022
RAISED TO SUPPORT
THOSE WITH AUTISM
PEOPLE IN ATTENDENCE
"I believe all people need to be respected and accepted for who they are."
- Laura Osnes, Two-Time Tony Award Nominee, Cinderella & Bonnie & Clyde