Tony Award-Winning Actor Ali Stoker has been disabled due to a car accident since she was two. Yet within seconds of interviewing her you feel a bolt of lightning of pure positive energy and enthusiasm. Her resume of work has been both ground-breaking and award-winning. She is an author, a singer, and the first wheelchair using actor to appear on a Broadway stage. Therefore, attending her one person show August 15, at Bay Street Theater where she will sing, and talk, and basically inspire is a must. In an interview and informal talk with hamptons.com Ali Stroker is forthcoming.
Ali Stroker started off by saying she loved doing a solo, “one woman show,” at Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor on August 15th. She added, “I get excited because doing my solo show is such a fun and exciting project. Every time I do it, it changes a little bit because I am always changing. I love Bay Street it is such a fun summer venue.”
Stroker was a second season finalist of the Glee Project. She attended N.Y.U. and received her Tony Award for “Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical.” She has also starred in a Hallmark Christmas Movie among other films and TV roles.
When did she started doing solo shows? “…about ten years ago, after I graduated from college. I have been slowly changing as I have been given a lot of opportunities to do it. I also do parts of it when I travel around the country doing speaking gigs as well.” Ms. Stroker considers her performances as, “… a piece of theater that is always changing and is very special to me because I get to share my stories and my favorite songs.”
When asked what were some her favorite songs she said, “I love to sing Natural Woman like Aretha Franklin, Somewhere That’s Green, and Suddenly Seymour, from the Little Shop of Horrors, along with songs from Hamilton. I sings songs from Oklahoma which is the show I did on Broadway and won a Tony Award for.”
It all began for Ms. Stroker at seven years old when she played the lead role in the musical “Annie,” She says, “That was probably one of the most important moments of my life. Being on stage for me is my most favorite thing in the world. It is where I feel most alive. After Annie, I started to take voice lessons because I just loved to sing. It was where I found the most freedom. I had certain limitations; I use a wheelchair. Singing was something that I felt I did not have limitations. I felt capable and good at it and I loved being in front of people. I was used to being looked at so it sort of became a place I felt most powerful version of myself. It wasn’t just a hobby it was something that I needed for my sense of identity and confidence.”
Without doubt Ms. Stroker had to pave many roads. She had to “figure out how to find opportunities and create opportunities.” She confessed she “obviously have a drive to do it but I also understand the impact of doing it and being a first many times…I hope I have helped make more opportunities for other actors and artist with disabilities.”
Although she admitted to having a lot of mentors, she gives credit to her voice teacher while growing up, my parent were very impactful and helped me find my way. In high school it was her theater director who really “believed in me and wanted to collaborate with me. She really invested me as an artist and as a performer.”
As for special “pinch me moments,” or special folks she has worked with Ali Stroker said, “Kristin Chenoweth had always been an idle of mine. When I first met her in L.A. in 2009, with our paths passing many times since then, that was very exciting. She was always someone who I sort of saw myself in. She was such a positive force as performer and as a person.”
So, at this point of her career what has brings Ali Stroker the most joy in her life? She paused, thought and said, “Performing brings great joy, my relationships, my family, my husband, and the opportunities I have been given to share my skills and my talent to impact other people and the world.”
For more information visit www.baystreet.org