Lion King Sensory Friendly Performance Comes to Fort Worth – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

One of the most popular stage musicals in the world returns to Fort Worth January 18-29. Disney’s The Lion King comes back to Bass Performance Hall for the first time in 20 years.

And this time, it’s bringing something extra.

A sensory friendly performance – the first at Bass Hall – will give even more people the chance to experience the beauty of a show that’s captivated audiences for 25 years.

“The sensory friendly performance allows people with a wide variety of issues to be able to come and experience the show together with their family and their loved ones,” said Dione Kennedy, the president and CEO of Performing Arts Fort Worth at Bass Hall. “It could be someone with autism. It could be PTSD. It could be someone with dementia. It’s all ages of people and it’s the first time we’ve been able to do one that is fully capable of experiencing with this audience. and to do it wiht lion king, how much greater could that be?”

The musical based on the 1994 animated feature film of the same name debuted July 8, 1997, in Minneapolis, Minnesota at the Orpheum Theatre. It was an instant success before premiering on Broadway at the New Amsterdam Theater three months later. The tour launched in April 2022 in Colorado, then came to Fort Worth for its second performance.

More than 100 million people around the world have experienced the visual artistry, the music, and the storytelling of the most breathtaking and beloved productions ever to grace the stage.

Kennedy says in the sensory friendly performance next month, there will be slight adjustments in the production to accommodate the goal of creating a relaxed environment.

“There are no complete blackouts. Normally, when a show starts, house lights go completely down, it goes to black and then the stage comes alive. And in this, it never goes to complete black because there will be people in the audience for whom that could be a trigger,” Kennedy said.

“The biggest change is what you see in the audience in that audience members can get up and leave during the performance, audience members may be able to move beacause they can’t still still for 2 1/2 hours. Somebody may speak out. There may be vocalizations. And the idea is that is a nonjudgemental environment so all of those things are acceptable.”

The news release from Disney Theatrical Productions and Performing Arts Fort Worth goes further saying, “This production is open to the public, but customary theater rules will be relaxed. Audience members can stand, move, talk, and make noise as needed, and the lobby will offer quiet spaces and activity areas for families. Guests are encouraged to bring their own sensory items, seat cushions, comfort objects, and extra support items to the theater to use during the performance.”

Tickets to this Sensory Friendly Performance are available upon request only. However, Bass Hall says due to overwhelming interest, ticket inventory is limited. The Performing Arts Fort Worth Patron Services team is fulfilling requests in the order which they are received. Patrons can sign up for the Sensory Friendly Performance ticket waitlist now by visiting

More information on pricing options will be provided by the Performing Arts Fort Worth Patron Services
team after a request form has been submitted. Performing Arts Fort Worth has priced tickets for the
Sensory Friendly Performance to allow access to the greatest number of patrons, regardless of economic background.

The Performing Arts Fort Worth (PAFW) box office hours are Monday-Friday 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM and Saturday 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM. Ticket buyers are reminded that the Bass Hall Box Office and are the only official retail.

The two-week run of The Lion King will a homecoming of sorts for several performers.

Jordan Nicole Willis (left), Christian Byrdsong (center), and Lyla Brent (right).

Layla Brent (Ensemble)
Layla was born and raised in Dallas and attended Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas.

Christin Byrdsong (Swing)
Christin was raised in Dallas. His father is the Floor Manager for “Good Morning Texas” on WFAA-TV (ABC) and Christin grew up doing segments and commercials with the show. Christin attended Thompson Elementary School, Berry Middle School, and John Horn High School in Mesquite, TX. He was in the Texas All State Men’s Choir. Texas All Region Orchestra. Horn High varsity swimmer, varsity choir and show choir, and varsity orchestra.

Jordan Nicole Willis (Ensemble)
Jordan is a Dallas native and attended Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas.

T. Shyvonne Stewart (Swing)
T. Shyvonne lived in Las Colinas (about 30 miles east of Fort Worth) from the ages of 11 – 18.
She attended Las Colinas Elementary, Vivian Field Junior High and R.L. Turner High School.
Her parents still live in Las Colinas.
The Lion King will mark T. Shyvonne’s first time professionally performing in Fort Worth, but she previously performed with the national tour of The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical at the Winspear Opera House in Dallas.

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