In January, Pediatric Alliance sponsored a contest to win tickets to the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s sensory-friendly production of Peter Pan. One lucky winner took his parents for a night out on the town. They all had a very special evening:
We entered the Peter Pan Ballet ticket contest every day. Our family was thrilled when we actually won. It was our first after-dark Pittsburgh activity as a family. We got dressed up and went downtown. The lights of the city were thrilling for our nine-year-old son, John. We found excellent parking in a garage near the Benedum Theater at an outstanding flat-rate price. We walked through the cultural district, and the lights and sounds of the city had John looking everywhere. He was taking it all in.
When we entered the Benedum Theater, we were approached by two very nice ladies who were handing out squishy balls. John didn’t need one. He was being exceptionally brave. I wanted John to visit the restroom before we found our seats. We went to the lower level where the restrooms were located. To our surprise, they had a backdrop set up, and a ballerina dressed like Tinker Bell for photo purposes, on the lower level. Of course we wanted a photo of John with Tinker Bell. Our plan was great: Dad would take the picture and I have would introduce John to Tinker Bell. Tinker Bell was a very, very tiny girl, maybe ninety pounds soaking wet. The thought of standing next to Tinker Bell made John’s anxiety level go through the roof. After several attempts, Mom had to serve as a buffer between John and Tinker Bell. John was afraid of Tinker Bell. (So much for feeling brave.)
We found our seats with the help of a couple of ladies who couldn’t be any nicer to John. They all paid John compliments on his suit. Our seats were wonderful. When the lights lowered slightly and the curtain went up, John settled into his seat and sat quietly, almost spellbound, watching the show. Children around us made noises; the little girl behind John stood and shook John’s seat several times and even squealed a few times. John was so into the show, he didn’t even notice. When Peter Pan and the Darling children flew, John smiled the largest of smiles.
When it was time for intermission, we took photos of each other and the inside of the theater. While sitting in the vestibule on the large leather benches, a little boy walked over to John and asked John his name. John told the boy his name, and the boy showed John his Captain Hook “hand”. The boy told John that the crocodile’s name was “Tic Talk Crocodile”. John said, “Crocodile”. The boy said, “he’s gonna eat Captain Hook”. John smiled at the boy. The boy’s caregiver said it was time to go, and John said, “bye-bye”. It was nice to see John interact with another child his age.
We returned to our seats. Once again, the lights lowered slightly and the curtain went up. John sat silently and took in the show. The background scenery was beautiful and the dance was fabulous. When the show concluded, parents who were sitting around us actually praised John for his good behavior and sharp-looking suit. As his parents, my husband and I couldn’t have been more proud of John.
We walked back to the car and enjoyed the crisp night air and the lights. Once at the car, that well-dressed little man shed his suit jacket and got comfortable. While at an extended red light, we saw Sally Wiggin from the news filming in front of a downtown pharmacy and had to resist the urge to honk the horn. By the time we exited the Fort Pitt Tunnel, John was warm and sleeping in the backseat.
It was a fabulous night out for our family. It was wonderful to be able to share the arts with our child. We enjoyed ourselves immensely and would like to thank Dr. Ketyer and the staff of Pediatric Alliance for this wonderful opportunity.
From all of us at Pediatric Alliance: Thank you for sharing your story and photos with us! We are so thrilled the three of you had such a good time at Peter Pan!
We are also so happy to support Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s sensory-friendly performances of popular children’s stories. We can’t wait to find out which show PBT has in store for next year!