Broadway star Kelvin Moon Loh walked off stage part-way through a matinee performance of The King and I after an autistic child caused a small disturbance. The incident happened near the end of September at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre in New York during a scene where one of the actors is whipped. Shortly after walking off stage, Loh took to his Facebook page to explain what happened, and to demand more respect from theatregoers, but not in the way most people expected.
Instead of admonishing the child's mother, or demanding that parents keep their children away from the theatre, Loh asked "when did we as theatre people, performers and audience members become so concerned with our own experience that we lose compassion for others?" Later, he compared the reaction of the young boy to that of a little girl who a few weeks earlier had a loud and sorrowful reaction to the same scene, and wondered "how is this any different?"
The incident moved Loh, who wrote that he "could not look away" and that he "wanted to scream and stop the show" in order to point out how hard the woman was trying. The post commended the bravery of the mother, reminding us all that "you don't know what her life is like". He pointed out that life with an autistic child can be unpredictable, that the theatre is a special place, and that shows like his are supposed to be family friendly shows:
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. Not only for special performances but for all performances. A night at the theatre is special on any night you get to go.
He closed his post with a wonderful brush-off to those who still may be critical of the mother's decision to bring her young child to the theatre.
And no, I don't care how much you spent on the tickets.
Read Loh's entire post below, and join us in giving him a round of applause for taking an incredible stance.