Acting Antics and SALT Performing Arts present The Lion King KIDS – Director’s Cut
It takes disabled people and turns them
into actors. Why is that so special? Not all theaters do that. A couple of years ago, we had a vision of starting a program at SALT that was specifically
designed for people of all abilities. And, someone from Acting Antics came up to me after one of the shows and said, “Do you know that this program actually already exists? But they need a home.” I literally see lives changing right in front of me on a weekly basis. Not just for the kids, but for their parents. Sometimes the
problem is eye contact. Sometimes the problem is their voice. They don’t speak
up. Sometimes they don’t have a voice. So, it’s finding how they can shine without
that. My name is Lillyan Grace Ryan. I love to act and I love to be on stage. These are kids who are often not as successful in school because they have
so much energy, but they’re able to channel that energy in a positive way at
Acting Antics. I’ve been doing Acting Antics since I was nine years old. Everyone is so kind to me, no one says a negative thing, and it’s just my place
where I need to be. She’s definitely more outgoing, she’s more social, she is not intimidated to participate in activities at school. There’s no distinction of, “Oh, you have a disability, or you don’t.” It’s one team. We need more of that. It really gives them chances to think on their feet, which doesn’t
just help them when they’re on stage and when they’re in the theater world, it
helps them when they go to school every day. It helps them on the playground.
It helps them at lunch. It makes me feel better when I’m in front of people. When I’m in character, and smiling, looking at everybody, and I just want to perform and
be myself. There’s nothing to be nervous about, it’s a safe place. And everybody’s automatically a friend. There’s no pressure to make a friend, it’s just, “Hi what’s your name? Great, we’re friends now.” My name is Teddy Diskin, and I am 21 years old. I like Acting Antics because I made new friends. I think the most special thing Sophia got from Acting Antics was her best friend, Megan. These people that I met – I met Cynthia, I met Megan, I met Lillyan, I met Nate, all these people, they’re just so polite to me. They like me as a best friend forever. And I always agree with them. Because I’ve known some of these friends since I’ve been doing it, since I was young. Parents see their children find
community with others. And when I see a kid in the beginning who can’t sit still, can’t make eye contact, and doesn’t have any friends
perform a show in front of their parents with their new friends,
you need tissues. The partnership with SALT, I have to say, is definitely the most special thing that’s happened in the lifetime of Acting Antics. This year
we’re producing The Lion King KIDS with them, and it’s such a wonderful show, with such a meaningful message. I think The Lion King might be the most
special show that we’ve ever done. [singing] Why, when he was a young warthog… …When I was a young warthog! Very nice!
Thanks! Okay, I’ll do one part.
Thank you! Hakuna! Matata!
Hakuna! That’s when we get to do our
shake, shake, shake. Amazing costumes, and
there’s tough choreography, and really tough lyrics that these kids had to
learn. A little cub who comes into his own
and realizes who he is, and realizes who he was made to be,
and he embraces that. Spot-on apropos for Acting Antics to do. Most of the people are volunteering their time, they’re pouring their hearts into this. People that can’t afford to come, you know, we never turn them away. And we need help. When Acting Antics first
partnered with SALT, we talked about their big dreams for our fundraising
weekend, and they said, $5,000. $5,000 was their big dream! That’s 50 people going out to dinner one night as a couple, or as a family. Come to our Gala
where you’ll get to watch the magic of The Lion King be performed by these
incredible human beings, where you get to see their faces light up, and you get to
hear them express themselves in such an amazing way in front of a huge crowd.
Give to this worthy organization for what they’re doing. It’s inspiring to see
people that might struggle in other social situations and shine on stage. This, right here, is what SALT was made to do. Thank you for getting me where I am today! I am proud of myself,
and feel more confident. What do you think people are gonna think
when they see the show? What are they gonna think? I don’t know! Let’s find out and see!