Ali Stroker broke ground as the first person in a wheelchair to act on Broadway and win a Tony Award. Join Ali and author Stacy Davidowitz as they discuss and take questions about disability representation in the arts, their childhood theater experiences, and why their middle-grade novel The Chance to Fly is so important for readers now.
ABOUT THE CHANCE TO FLY
Thirteen-year-old Nat Beacon loves a lot of things: her dog Warbucks, her best friend Chloe, and competing on her wheelchair racing team, the Zoomers, to name a few. But there’s one thing she’s absolutely OBSESSED with: MUSICALS! From Hamilton to Les Mis, there’s not a cast album she hasn’t memorized and belted along to. She’s never actually been in a musical though, or even seen an actor who uses a wheelchair for mobility on stage. Would someone like Nat ever get cast?
But when Nat’s family moves from California to New Jersey, Nat stumbles upon auditions for a kids’ production of Wicked, one of her favorite musicals ever! And she gets into the ensemble! The other cast members are super cool and inclusive (well, most of them)— especially Malik, the male lead and cutest boy Nat’s ever seen. But when things go awry a week before opening night, will Nat be able to cast her fears and insecurities aside and “Defy Gravity” in every sense of the song title?
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Ali Stroker made history as the first person in a wheelchair to appear on Broadway and win a Tony Award. She made her Broadway debut in the revival of Spring Awakening and then played Ado Annie in the revival of Oklahoma! Ali graduated from NYU Tisch School of the Arts and has starred and recurred in numerous television shows including “Glee.” Her work as a humanitarian includes speaking and performing around the world helping people with and without disabilities through her message of “Making your Limitations into Opportunities.” This is her debut novel.
Stacy Davidowitz is the author of the Camp Rolling Hills series and coauthor of Camp Rolling Hills the Musical, which continues to have productions across the country. She is also the author of the Hanazuki chapter-book series based on Hasbro’s YouTube series. Stacy has written award-winning plays that have been produced regionally and internationally. When she is not writing, she teaches creative writing and musical theater in schools, foster care facilities, and juvenile detention centers. She is a graduate of Tufts University and Columbia University, where she earned degrees in drama and acting. Stacy lives in Manhattan with her husband and twin boys.