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Ali Stroker made history as the first wheelchair-using actor to win a Tony during the 73rd Tony Awards, which took place Sunday night.
The actress currently stars as Ado Annie in the revival of Rodger and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma. She was up against Lili Cooper, Amber Gray, Sarah Stiles and Mary Testa in the best performance by an actress in a featured role in a musical category.
Stroker was welcomed to the stage with a standing ovation from the audience. “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,” she began. “You are.”
After she thanked her representation and the cast of Oklahoma, Stroker gave a special shout-out to her “home team.” She said, “My best friends who have held my hands and pulled me around New York City for years helping me.”
“And finally my family,” the actress said. “Thank you for teaching me to use my gifts to help people. I love you. We did it.”
The award marks Stroker’s first nomination and win at the Tony Awards. She made her Broadway debut in Deaf West’s 2015 revival of Spring Awakening. Prior to her work on Broadway, Stroker competed on The Glee Project and made a guest appearance on the Fox show.
The 2019 Tony Awards were held at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. The ceremony, hosted by James Corden, was broadcast on CBS.
Watch Stroker’s acceptance speech, below.
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