Ali Stroker made history at the 73rd Annual Tony Awards this weekend, becoming the first actor in a wheelchair to win a Tony Award for her role as Ado Annie in Oklahoma!.
“I love you. We did it!”
During her acceptance speech, Ali dedicated her award to anyone out there, especially kids, with a disability or limitation that has been looking for representation in art like Broadway performances.
When she was only two years old, Ali lost the use of her legs in a car accident, but clearly, she has not let that stop her from achieving her dreams. In her acceptance speech, she thanked her parents “for teaching me to use my gifts to help people” and her best friends for always being there with a helping hand as she worked her way to Broadway stardom.
But, that’s not all that’s exciting about Ali. She’s a Broadway singer and actress, but it doesn’t stop there. Ali is nothing short of a triple thread. She dances too.
Recently, she shared with The New York Times her experience dancing in a wheelchair. She said she finds it “fascinating” that people expect her wheelchair to prevent her from dancing. “Who says that dance isn’t turning on wheels?” she said. “Who says dancing isn’t throwing your arms up in the air and grabbing someone else’s arms to be propelled across the stage?”
In fact, she considers dance a gift that allows her to move in ways that are unlike anything else. Working with wheels instead of feet, she has learned how to adapt the more fluid motion of rolling to sync up with other actors on stage. She told the Times, “it’s a little like being on ice”.
The main thing Ali wanted people to take away from her win? Well, it seems like she’s happy to be able to be the role model and representation she never had as a little girl. Anything is possible, and dance and musical theater are achievable goals for any performer. It’s all about passion.