Stage plays have been my passion ever since I was little. I joined Muse Machine in middle school. Muse Machine offers creative experiences and programs for young people and it exposed me to many great productions. My first play was the musical Guys & Dolls; I absolutely fell in love.
I’m happy to say, since I’ve grown older, my love of plays has matured into a full-fledged passion. Some of my favorites thus far have been; The Lion King, Motown, Peter Pan, The Heights and Get On Your Feet! Just to sit in midst of other play enthusiast, take in the plot, and enjoy the acting of some of the most amazing actors and actresses in the business, is an amazing opportunity.
I’ve never seen the play Oklahoma but after catching Ali Stroker’s television interview, I just might have to add it to my list.
Ali Strocker, who’s a Broadway actress that’s paralyzed from the chest down, is a ground breaking star. She’s the first person in a wheelchair to win a Tony Award for her portrayal of Ado Annie; this is a character in the play, Oklahoma. Stroker, who has been in a wheelchair since age two, dreamed of being an actress/performer since age seven. As I always express, having a disability does not diminish a person’s dreams.
Before becoming a performer, Ali often thought people were staring at her because of the disability. I know all too well how she feels. I’ve found there are six kinds of stares, the creepy, what the heck, admiring, the hook up, confused and the just down-right rude. I can quickly tell which one I’m getting. If I’m ok with the stare, I’ll usually smile and keep it moving. If I feel it’s a disrespectful stare, I’ll address it. One has to learn to choose their battles. I’m happy to see Ali chose to hang in there or she wouldn’t be as successful as she is today.
Ali expresses in her new role how people are forced to deal with topics that could be considered uncomfortable. Some people can’t fathom subjects like sexuality and disability. People with disabilities are human beings too and this subject matter shouldn’t be made to feel awkward. Hopefully because of Ali, this matter will come to light and bring positive awareness.
Ali’s success will open communication on many topics concerning disabilities. Hopefully because of Ali, there will be more Broadway Producers who will be open to offering parts of diversity in their plays. Ali, may your career continue to soar!