A Broadway actor is getting praise for something unusual: Coming to the defense of a disruptive audience member.
During a recent performance of "The King And I," a child with autism started yelling during a quiet moment in the show.
Actor Kelvin Moon Loh, who is part of the ensemble, wrote on Facebook that some audience members rallied against the child and his mother. Loh said he heard murmurs along the lines of "why would you bring a child like that to the theater?"
It might seem that Loh would wonder the same thing, especially in light of incidents earlier this summer where performers such as Patti LuPone confiscated the phone of a theatergoer who was texting during her show.
However, in a Facebook post that currently has more than 9,000 shares and 25,000 likes, Loh explains that his concern is for the child and his mother, who was trying to calm her son, not his own performance.
"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."
Loh told Broadway World that he hopes his post "will bring awareness of parents who have children with special needs and the fact that they have the same right to enjoy theater as we get to enjoy it every single day without thought."
Broadway tickets are expensive, but Loh told the website that going to live theater means being aware that life doesn't stop just because you're seeing a play.
"I understand it's expensive but you have to have compassion for this mother who came to the theater and was wanting the exact same experience as you," Loh told Broadway World. "She wanted to have a wonderful, beautiful experience at the theater. This was an occurrence that she could not have anticipated, and because she couldn't anticipate it, how can we as people who love the theater as well, condemn somebody for that? So that's where my heart is at."
Loh's compassion is getting praise from blogger Jennifer Bittner, mother of a child with autism.
"We don’t willingly put our child in a situation that will overwhelm them or cause a disturbance, but sometimes things happen. And when it does what we need most is compassion from strangers, not judgment," she wrote on her blog, SeriouslyNotBoring.com
In recent months, several Broadway plays have started holding special performances for people with autism, according to Playbill.com.