Tony winning history maker says NO to ableism.
Ali Stroker received the 2019 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her role as ‘Ado Annie’ in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! In doing so, she became the first actor or actress in a wheelchair to win a Tony Award.
Paralyzed from the chest down since age two, Ali has fought through overwhelming adversity. Despite often appearing on stages with limited accessibility, she been a trailblazer in a industry that has been slow to embrace disabled performers.
Ali Stroker made history in 2015 as the first actress in a wheelchair to appear on Broadway when she originated the role of ‘Anna’ in Deaf West’s acclaimed revival of Spring Awakening. She is also the first actress in a wheelchair to graduate from the NYU Tisch drama program.
After graduating from Tisch, Stroker starred on 12 episodes of Oxygen’s The Glee Project. She placed second in the competition and won a guest role on Fox’s Glee. She then recurred in the Kyra Sedgwick ABC series, Ten Days in the Valley. She also guest starred on Fox’s Lethal Weapon, CBS’ Instinct and Comedy Central’s Drunk History. She’s performed her cabaret act at Green Room 42 and solo’ed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, New York’s Town Hall, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and Carnegie Hall.
A humanitarian and advocate, Stroker is a co-chair of Women Who Care, which supports United Cerebral Palsy of New York City. She’s a founding member of Be More Heroic, an anti-bullying campaign that tours the country and connects with thousands of students each year. Her devotion to educating and inspiring others brought Stroker to South Africa with ARTS InsideOut, where she held theater workshops and classes for women and children affected by HIV and AIDS.
Stroker’s remarkable ability to improve the lives of others through the arts, whether disabled or not, is captured in her motto: “Making Your Limitations Your Opportunities.”
Turning Limitations into Opportunities
Broadway and television star Ali Stroker shares her story of overcoming every obstacle and becoming the first actress in a wheelchair to appear on a Broadway stage. Ali tells us about her inspiring life and how every day she lives out her motto: “turning limitations into opportunities.”