When accomplished Broadway actress Ali Stroker, won the Tony Award for Best Actress this year, her acceptance speech brought the topic of disability representation to the main stage. As the first person with a disability to receive a Tony, Stroker took this opportunity to highlight the vital impact of visibility on future generations. Read more about this milestone achievement in this article by the Huffington Post.
Ali Stroker made history at the 73rd annual Tony Awards on Sunday night in a major milestone for representation on stage.
The “Glee Project” alum took home the award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical for her performance as Ado Annie in the critically acclaimed “Oklahoma!” revival.
Stroker is the first wheelchair user to ever win or even be nominated for a Tony Award.
“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,” the actress said on stage to major applause from the audience.
The 31-year-old bested nominees Lilli Cooper of “Tootsie,” Sarah Stiles of “Tootsie,” Amber Gray of “Hadestown,” and her fellow “Oklahoma!” castmember Mary Testa.
Earlier in the telecast, Stroker delighted the audience with a crowd-pleasing performance of the song “I Cain’t Say No” from the production, which is also nominated for Best Revival of a Musical.
Stroker, who was injured in a car accident when she was two years old, made her Broadway debut in Deaf West’s revival of the musical “Spring Awakening” back in 2015, becoming the first wheelchair user to grace the Broadway stage.
On the red carpet before the ceremony, Stroker spoke out about the impact her visibility has on young kids who have disabilities watching at home.
“I know exactly what it’s like to be looking for someone who looks like me,” she told Variety. ”[My career] is for all these young people who deserve a role model.”