On May 31, I saw Ali Stroker play Ado Annie in Daniel Fish’s dark reimagining of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic “Oklahoma” at the Circle in the Square Theatre on Broadway. Just over a week later on June 9, she became the first performer who uses a wheelchair to win a Tony Award, for Best Featured Actress in a Musical.
In her acceptance speech, Stroker said, “This award is for every kid who is watching tonight who has a disability, who has a limitation, who has a challenge, who has been waiting to see themselves represented in this arena. You are.” As someone who was once one of those kids, I want the world to understand the impact of a person with a visible disability winning the most prestigious award in the theatre world, and succeeding when so many of us have been told there was no place for us there because of our differences. . .