Branson Theatre helps man with autism chase his dreams

Published: Aug. 14, 2021 at 10:15 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 14, 2021 at 10:37 PM CDT
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BRANSON, Mo. (KY3) - A Branson theatre is helping one young man’s dreams come true while influencing others.

Dylan Pratt has autism, but he says that does not limit him. He was born to perform.

Pratt started acting when he was five years old and had the dream of having his own show in Branson.

”They’re going to see everything in my show. Singing, dancing, ventriloquism, comedy, magic, keyboard playing, and drumming. Those are all the things I can do, and that’s why I call my autism a special ability, not a special need,” said Pratt.

Pratt approached Branson performer Jody Madaras with the idea of creating his own show. The two met while working on a production with the Branson Regional Arts Council.

When the pandemic hit, they began putting the pieces together to help Dylan’s lifelong dream come true.

“We’ve created a unique show and it’s all based on the creative abilities of Dylan Pratt,” said Theatre for America Producer Jody Madaras. “Everything that the audience will see is based on and comes out of Dylan’s creative abilities.”

The wonderful world of Dylan Pratt is part of the Theatre for America’s efforts to create more inclusion in the industry.

”After a career of almost 29 years in American musical theater, this is a unique moment for me too. And exploring autism and how autism and the arts can function together, I think including autism in the arts is very important,” said Madaras.

Putting on a major production comes with its challenges.

”It’s been very tiring, let me tell you, but it’s been a good experience for me because it’s always been my dream to have my own show in Branson,” said Pratt. “Now, I’m finally able to live it and see how hard it is and how much work goes into it.”

All that hard work paid off. With more than 120 seats sold, Dylan and his cast not only received a standing ovation, but raised money for two local nonprofits.

One is Coffee Creations with Elevate Branson, which employees several people with special needs, and the other is Theatre for America.

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