‘Shrek’ Musical Includes Sensory-Friendly Performance

Joe Rusiewicz of the Foundation for Pottstown Education, Casey Fenoglio of Pottstown Hospital, and musical producer Bob Decker

'Shrek' Musical Includes Sensory-Friendly Performance

POTTSTOWN PA – Students with special needs and their families are being treated to a free, sensory-friendly presentation of this year’s Pottstown School District stage production, “Shrek the Musical,” thanks to a community wellness grant provided by Pottstown Hospital to the Foundation for Pottstown Education.

The sensory-friendly performance is designed for individuals with autism spectrum disorders, sensory sensitivities, or other disabilities. Guests can enjoy the show, scheduled for March 5 (2022; Saturday) at 1 p.m in Pottstown High School, 750 N. Washington St., in a welcoming, inclusive, and relaxed space. An interpreter for individuals with hearing impairments also will be on hand.

Tickets are being distributed by the foundation on a first-come, first-served basis. To inquire about availability, call the district’s Special Education Department at 610-970-6625 or send an e-mail to foundation Executive Director Joe Rusiewicz at jrusiewicz@pottstownk12.org.

“Funding this event aligns with the community’s need to improve the health of all” its members, according to Casey Fenoglio, community wellness program manager for Pottstown Hospital. “Partnering with the foundation and the school district in making this musical accessible to students can help with social inclusion,” reduce stress, and “create a positive emotional experience,” she added.

Environmental conditions will be modified by maintaining low-level house lighting in case guests must get up and move around. Harsh changes in theatrical lighting will be eliminated, and large sound and visual effects will be avoided. House rules will be relaxed so audience members can freely respond to shows in their own way and without judgment. They’ll be allowed welcome to move around, get up, sing, or dance.

The foundation also is providing bubble sensory fidget toys to students who attend.

Additionally, 20 sets of noise-canceling headphones are being made available for the comfort of students who may need them. They are being offered through a donation from the Sarah Davidheiser family.

Mrs. Davidheiser was a Pottstown alumni and local store owner who died last December. Daniel Price, one of her grandsons, said his family wanted to honor her in a way that she would be proud. Offering funding for the headphones enabled “all students to enjoy this year’s musical” and also honor her love of music, he said.

For the general public, the district musical is being performed weekends from Feb. 25 through March 6 with Friday and Saturday evening openings at 7 p.m. and Sunday matinee performances starting at 2 p.m. Tickets for these performances can be purchased on the district website.

Photo provided by the Foundation for Pottstown Education