Ali Stroker Became The First Actor In A Wheelchair To Be Nominated And Win A Tony (Although, They Didn’t Have A Ramp For Her….) 

June 10, 2019 / Posted by:

You know how when someone gets kicked off of a competition reality show, they sometimes say, “Bitch, you haven’t seen the last of me!” I usually roll my eyes at them like, “Well, you’re probably right since I’ll see you working next to me at the dish washing station at Golden Corral after this blog goes bust and I have to get a job there too.” But some who don’t win actually go on to have full-on careers, like Jennifer Hudson, of course, Carla Hall from Top Chef, Katharine McPhee, Clay Aiken, Yaya from Top Model, and Ali Stroker from The Glee Project.

Ali Stroker (“Stroke her? I hardly know her!” – Ali, who definitely hasn’t heard that oh-so-fresh joke before) was runner-up on the second season of The Glee Project, and although she didn’t win, she did guest star on an episode of Glee, and later became the first actor in a wheelchair to perform in a wheelchair on Broadway when she was in the revival of Spring Awakening in 2015. Ali currently plays poly icon and wholesome ho Ado Annie in the reimagining of Oklahoma! on Broadway, and she already made history by getting a Tony nomination, and she made history again last night by winning. And while that was a big win for actors with disabilities, the Tony people won an award in the category of Are You Fucking Serious? by not having a ramp for her to get from the audience to the stage.

Ali was backstage when the category of Best Featured Actress in a Musical was announced, and I figured it was because she had just performed with the cast of Oklahoma! not that long beforehand.

But Ali was backstage, because if she won and was in the audience, they’d have to lift her onto the stage, or make her wheel herself outside of the theater and go around to the back to get on stage, and the show was already long enough thanks to host James Corden terrorizing my ears with his singing in the never-ending opening number.

When Ali accepted her Tony, she didn’t start her speech with, “Fuck all of you for not having a ramp.” She instead held up her award and said it was for every kid watching who has a disability and has been waiting to see someone like them become a Tony-winning Broadway actor.

Ali did tell reporters backstage that although the theater where she does Oklahoma! put up ramps for her, most theaters aren’t accessible for actors with disabilities.

“The theaters, the house where all the audience comes in, that is all made accessible to the patrons, but the backstage isn’t at all. I would ask theater owners and producers to really look into how they can begin to make the backstage accessible, so that performers with disabilities can get around.”

Tony ramp foolery aside, another reason I’m glad Ali won is because Betty Pilsbury (the character she played on Glee) got a Tony before Rachel Berry!!!!

And below are all of the winners from last night, and as I mentioned in my HSOTD post today, Billy Porter once again won at an award show without even being nominated. Fresh off from winning the Met Gala, certified glamour icon Billy Porter showed up at the Tonys last night wearing another suit gown, made from a curtain from Kinky Boots (the show he won a Tony for), and said his look was his way of showing support for pro-choice rights.

Yes, it’s a whole mess, and looks like Dr. Frankenstein sloppily stitched it together using the uniform of a maitre’d at the Valentine’s Day Cafe and an ugly quinceanera gown from the 80s, but I am all for it since he looks like a uterus as seen through the eyes of Liberace.

Best Musical
Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations
Beetlejuice
Hadestown 
The Prom
Tootsie

Best Play
Choir Boy
The Ferryman 
Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
Ink
What the Constitution Means to Me

Best Revival of a Play
Arthur Miller’s All My Sons
The Boys in the Band 
Burn This
Torch Song
The Waverly Gallery

Best Revival of a Musical
Kiss Me, Kate
Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! 

Best Book of a Musical
Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations
Beetlejuice
Hadestown
The Prom
Tootsie 

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
Be More Chill
Music & Lyrics: Joe Iconis
Beetlejuice
Music & Lyrics: Eddie Perfect
Hadestown
Music & Lyrics: Anaïs Mitchell 
The Prom
Music: Matthew Sklar
Lyrics: Chad Beguelin
To Kill a Mockingbird
Music: Adam Guettel
Tootsie
Music & Lyrics: David Yazbek

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
Paddy Considine, The Ferryman
Bryan Cranston, Network 
Jeff Daniels, To Kill a Mockingbird
Adam Driver, Burn This
Jeremy Pope, Choir Boy

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
Annette Bening, Arthur Miller’s All My Sons
Laura Donnelly, The Ferryman
Elaine May, The Waverly Gallery 
Janet McTeer, Bernhardt/Hamlet
Laurie Metcalf, Hillary and Clinton
Heidi Schreck, What the Constitution Means to Me

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Brooks Ashmanskas, The Prom
Derrick Baskin, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations
Alex Brightman, Beetlejuice
Damon Daunno, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
Santino Fontana, Tootsie 

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Stephanie J. Block, The Cher Show 
Caitlin Kinnunen, The Prom
Beth Leavel, The Prom
Eva Noblezada, Hadestown
Kelli O’Hara, Kiss Me, Kate

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
Bertie Carvel, Ink 
Robin De Jesús, The Boys in the Band
Gideon Glick, To Kill a Mockingbird
Brandon Uranowitz, Burn This
Benjamin Walker, Arthur Miller’s All My Sons

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
Fionnula Flanagan, The Ferryman
Celia Keenan-Bolger, To Kill a Mockingbird 
Kristine Nielsen, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
Julie White, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
Ruth Wilson, King Lear

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
André De Shields, Hadestown 
Andy Grotelueschen, Tootsie
Patrick Page, Hadestown
Jeremy Pope, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations
Ephraim Sykes, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Lilli Cooper, Tootsie
Amber Gray, Hadestown
Sarah Stiles, Tootsie
Ali Stroker, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! 
Mary Testa, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!

Best Scenic Design of a Play
Miriam Buether, To Kill a Mockingbird
Bunny Christie, Ink
Rob Howell, The Ferryman 
Santo Loquasto, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
Jan Versweyveld, Network

Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Robert Brill and Peter Nigrini, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations
Peter England, King Kong
Rachel Hauck, Hadestown 
Laura Jellinek, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
David Korins, Beetlejuice

Best Costume Design of a Play
Rob Howell, The Ferryman 
Toni-Leslie James, Bernhardt/Hamlet
Clint Ramos, Torch Song
Ann Roth, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
Ann Roth, To Kill a Mockingbird

Best Costume Design of a Musical
Michael Krass, Hadestown
William Ivey Long, Beetlejuice
William Ivey Long, Tootsie
Bob Mackie, The Cher Show 
Paul Tazewell, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations

Best Lighting Design of a Play
Neil Austin, Ink 
Jules Fisher + Peggy Eisenhauer, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
Peter Mumford, The Ferryman
Jennifer Tipton, To Kill a Mockingbird
Jan Versweyveld and Tal Yarden, Network

Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Kevin Adams, The Cher Show
Howell Binkley, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations
Bradley King, Hadestown 
Peter Mumford, King Kong
Kenneth Posner and Peter Nigrini, Beetlejuice

Best Sound Design of a Play
Adam Cork, Ink
Scott Lehrer, To Kill a Mockingbird
Fitz Patton, Choir Boy 
Nick Powell, The Ferryman
Eric Sleichim, Network

Best Sound Design of a Musical
Peter Hylenski, Beetlejuice
Peter Hylenski, King Kong
Steve Canyon Kennedy, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations
Drew Levy, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
Nevin Steinberg and Jessica Paz, Hadestown 

Best Direction of a Play
Rupert Goold, Ink
Sam Mendes, The Ferryman 
Bartlett Sher, To Kill a Mockingbird
Ivo van Hove, Network
George C. Wolfe, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus

Best Direction of a Musical
Rachel Chavkin, Hadestown 
Scott Ellis, Tootsie
Daniel Fish, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
Des McAnuff, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations
Casey Nicholaw, The Prom

Best Choreography
Camille A. Brown, Choir Boy
Warren Carlyle, Kiss Me, Kate
Denis Jones, Tootsie
David Neumann, Hadestown
Sergio Trujillo, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations 

Best Orchestrations
Michael Chorney and Todd Sickafoose, Hadestown 
Simon Hale, Tootsie
Larry Hochman, Kiss Me, Kate
Daniel Kluger, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
Harold Wheeler, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations

Pic: Wenn.com

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