Ali Stroker made history April 30 as she was announced as a Tony Award nominee for her performance in Broadway’s Oklahoma!, currently running at the Circle in the Square Theatre. She is the first performer in a wheelchair to be nominated for the theatre honor.
She appeared on CBS This Morning May 2 to share her story and discuss the milestone moment.
“Tuesday was just one of these moments when I found out that I was nominated, and I felt like I arrived at the dream,” Stroker said, beaming.
Stroker was injured in a car accident when she was two years old and has been in a wheelchair since. She began performing at age seven.
“Performing for me has been a moment where I felt like I was my most powerful self. I became hooked,” she said. “Growing up in a chair, I was used to people staring and looking at me, and that was difficult. And then when I got onstage people were staring and looking at me for the reason that I wanted. And I felt powerful.”
Famous for the song “I Cain’t Say No,” Ado Annie earns a sex-positive spin with Stroker's portrayal. (Watch her sing the song here.) “Ado Annie is just a woman who wants to explore, and she does that through relationships,” she said. “One of my other favorite parts of doing this show is all of a sudden we are dealing with disability and sexuality—at the same time.”
Of Oklahoma!'s myriad Broadway incarnations, Stroker is the first performer to be Tony-nominated for the role.