Blue Man connecting with autism community

This month, the Blue Man Group changes things up a bit. With the help of Autism Speaks, the long-time Chicago party atmosphere at the Briar Street Theatre, 3133 N. Halsted St., gets a sensory makeover for one show. On Sunday, Oct. 26, at 4 p.m., it will be the place to be for families impacted by autism.

Mary Grisolano, resident general manager of Blue Man Group, says the show often hears from moms with children with autism reporting that their children can connect with the non-verbal Blue Man more than any other live general audience show.

So when one of the box office managers shared a story about a Broadway show making slight modifications to accommodate special needs, Grisolano says that’s all it took to prompt them to reach out to Autism Speaks.

Experts from Autism Speaks then assessed the show to make it as sensory friendly as possible, she says.

Among the biggest changes for the Oct. 26 show is creation of a safe zone in the lobby with dimmer lights, bean bags and quiet corners. In addition, sound levels at one point in the show will be lowered and noise-canceling earphones will be available. Staff will be trained by Autism Speaks specifically to help guests with autism

Grisolano says Briar Street is ADA compliant for all special needs.

“One of the many goals that Blue Man has is about connection and celebrating the joy of life and connecting with as many people as we can,” Gisolano says. “Blue Man is such a party and people find such a joy from it. I love that. What I like about it, is any time you make a slight modification that just opens the door for more individuals to come, I’m thrilled.”

All tickets will be sold at $49 with $5 of every ticket purchased donated to Autism Speaks. For more information and tickets, visit

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