Broadway Star Defends Mom Who Brought Autistic Child To Show

by Maria Guido

Broadway actor Kelvin Moon Loh posted a very passionate message to his Facebook page last week, right after he walked off the stage from a matinee performance of The King And I. An autistic child had disrupted the performance and Loh was angry and sad… because of the reaction of the audience.

Loh explained the setting in the theatre that day: a young boy yelping in what Loh perceived as “terror.” He could hear from the stage the audience murmuring about the removal of the mother and child. He recalled hearing people say, “Why would you bring a child like that to the theater,” to which his reaction was, “This is wrong. Plainly wrong.”

In that moment, Loh was able to do something that would serve us all well in times when we are “inconvenienced” in some way: give someone the benefit of the doubt and have some compassion. He says of the mother:

“What they didn’t see was a mother desperately pleading with her child as he gripped the railing refusing- yelping more out of defiance. I could not look away. I wanted to scream and stop the show and say- “EVERYONE RELAX. SHE IS TRYING. CAN YOU NOT SEE THAT SHE IS TRYING???!!!!” I will gladly do the entire performance over again. Refund any ticket because-
For her to bring her child to the theater is brave. You don’t know what her life is like. Perhaps, they have great days where he can sit still and not make much noise because this is a rare occurrence. Perhaps she chooses to no longer live in fear, and refuses to compromise the experience of her child. Maybe she scouted the aisle seat for a very popular show in case such an episode would occur. She paid the same price to see the show as you did for her family. Her plan, as was yours, was to have an enjoyable afternoon at the theater and slowly her worst fears came true.”

Loh told Today, “Parents of autistic children sit there with such fear and terror that this episode could occur. I was watching a mother’s nightmare happen, and I just wanted to have her know that what she’s doing is right in trying to expose her child to the theater, and there are advocates supporting her.”

Loh is right: art is for all of us. There are certain shows that have performances specifically for autistic children, but not many. Loh says in his post, “I am in a show that is completely FAMILY FRIENDLY. The King and I on Broadway is just that- FAMILY FRIENDLY- and that means entire families- with disabilities or not.”

Thank you Kelvin Moon Loh, for being an advocate for families who are always expected to endure more, try harder, and suck it up. No. Everyone deserves compassion. Everyone deserves a break. And if you’re wondering how Loh feels about those who would show no compassion and still complain, he ends his post with this:

“And no, I don’t care how much you spent on the tickets.”