Autism: The Musical | Chicago Reader

Autism: The Musical

This touching and illuminating video documentary would have been better served by its working title, “The Miracle Project,” which is also the name of its subject, a groundbreaking community theater program for Los Angeles families with autistic children. Founded by Elaine Hall to serve kids like her own son Neal, who rarely spoke for years, the project helps a diverse group of youngsters prove they have more to offer than people might realize. The tiny Adam lives for the cello and the ebullient Lexi has a pleasing soprano range, but through six months of rehearsal and role-playing games, all the kids find ways to reach out of themselves. The movie focuses on five of the higher functioning children and their parents—some of whom provide drama of their own, as one marriage breaks up and another begins. Avoiding sentimentality, director Tricia Regan tells a riveting story. 95 min.

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