‘Henry and Mudge’ performed at Autism Academy of Learning in Toledo

Photo credit THE BLADE/ANDY MORRISON

Photo credit THE BLADE/ANDY MORRISON

New York, Theatreworks USA – Tommy Stone, 14 from Toledo persuaded the nonprofit organisation, Theatreworks USA to organise a stage production at his school ‘Autism Academy of Learning’.

Tommy, who loves theatre approached Principal Mark Lafferty and said that he wanted to bring a play to the public charter school, there are 52 students aged 5 to 22.

After having this conversation the academy got a phone call from Theatreworks saying that they were contacted to schedule a performance at the school.

The school then explained to the company that a student had contacted them, not the school and that they did not have the budget to bring a play to Toledo.

However the The Blade reports that Theatreworks volunteered to send one of its troupes, consisting of five actors and a stage manager who had been touring around the country since January. This was provided free of charge. They put on the production of ‘Henry and Mudge’.

Ben Simpson, an actor who plays the title role of Henry said:

“I like doing these smaller venues because you get to literally see their facial reactions and you get to hear how they are responding and can look in their eyes,”

The musical is based on children’s books by author Cynthia Rylant.

Stage manager Charlie Moore said:

“The excitement, the intensity that Thomas has for getting this show here, it reminds me of the love I had for theater when I was younger.”

Tommy’s mother, Ginnene Stone, said that her son has put on one-man plays since he was a young boy.

After the Theatreworks show, he posed for a group photograph with the cast and crew on the set, gave a thumbs-up review and said:

“Wow, that was so cool.”

The original article by Vanessa McCray in The Blade can be read here