Actress Ali Stroker’s History-Making Tony Awards Win Inspiring Young Performers With Differing Abilities

shared courtesy of CBSNewYork

OLD BETHPAGE, New York — Actress Ali Stroker made history Sunday when she won a Tony Award for her role in “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!,” and now she’s serving as a voice for hope for other performers with differing abilities dreaming of making it on the Great White Way.

“This award is for every kid who is watching tonight who has a disability, who has a limitation or a challenge, who has been waiting to see themselves represented in this arena,” Stroker said while accepting her award.

It’s an acceptance speech that still has one crowd’s eyes glued to the TV and is motivating them to one day be in the same spot.

“I thought it was inspirational,” Brendan Higgins, of Huntington, New York, said.

“Anything is possible in the world,” Katie McGuire, of Massapequa Park, said.

Every last participant at Family Residences and Essential Enterprises on Long Island has a differing ability, but that doesn’t stop them from shooting high, especially in their theater program.

“They really have the goal to be performers. I think that they’ve had these interests since they were younger,” Veronica Garcia, director of day services, said.

So when Stroker became the first actor in a wheelchair to win a Tony Award over the weekend, it sparked something inside these actors.

“Everybody, no matter who they are, really wants to look at a TV screen one day and see somebody who looks like them, and I think that she represents that for a lot of people who are differently abled,” Garcia said.

“The world should see what they can do, as opposed to just talk about what they can’t do,” Steven Jackson, theater program coordinator, said.

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