Live theater is something many people find enjoyable and stimulating, but for those with sensory defects it can be uncomfortable and even painful.

Now South Bay Musical Theatre is offering an autism-friendly performance during its upcoming run of Guys and Dolls.

The performance takes place on May 31 at 7:30 p.m. and marks the first effort of a Bay Area theater company to offer an autism-friendly show.

In October 2011, Disney Theatrical Productions worked with the nonprofit Theatre Development Fund to stage an autism-friendly performance of The Lion King on Broadway in New York. It was so successful it is doing a second staging of the show in September; at the end of April it did a performance of Mary Poppins.

The SBMT production is at the urging of Anita Hsiung Carey, a vocal director and pianist with the theater company.

Carey's 8-year-old son has severe autism, but enjoys attending rehearsals with his mother.

Knowing how much he enjoys the rehearsals made Carey suggest the company try doing the special performance.

During the May 31 performance, house lights will be brighter, there will be no strobe lights, the sound will be lowered and audience members will be able to walk around the theater and talk during the show. Extra staff will be on hand to help.

Tickets for the special performance are $20 for adults and $10 for children. SBMT is donating proceeds from that show to Wings Learning Center, whichserves children with autism in Redwood City.

Regular performances of Guys and Dolls run May 19 to June 9 at Saratoga Civic Theatre, 13777 Fruitvale Ave., Saratoga. For information and tickets to any of the performances visit or call 408.266.4724.