‘Glee’ Alum Ali Stroker Becomes First Wheelchair User in History to Win a Tony Award

Ali Stroker just made a major stride for inclusivity at the 2019 Tony Awards.

The 31-year-old Oklahoma! star took home the award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical for her performance as Ado Annie Carnes in the Rodgers & Hammerstein Broadway revival.This spring, Stroker became the first actor in a wheelchair to even be nominated for a Tony Award, a major accomplishment in itself.

When Stroker took the stage to accept her award, she radiated with excitement, saying, “This award is for every kid who is watching tonight who has a disability, a limitation, a challenge, who has been waiting to see themselves represented in this arena. You are.”



She went on to thank the cast of the musical, calling them her “home team,” and also expressed her appreciation for her best friends “who have held my hands and pulled me around New York City for years, helping me.” Last but certainly not least, Stroker thanked her parents “for teaching me to use my gifts to help people. I love you. We did it!”

Prior to winning her groundbreaking award, Stroker performed the Oklahoma! song “I Cain’t Say No” alongside gun violence victims and her co-stars.

Later in the night, Oklahoma! won the award for Best Revival of a Musical.

Stroker became a breakout star when she appeared in the competition show The Glee Project in 2012, later appearing in a guest-starring role on Glee season four. And this isn’t Stroker's first time making theater history: In 2015, she became the first wheelchair user to appear in a show on Broadway, playing Anna in the revival of Spring Awakening.

Now, Stroker is advocating for more handicap accessible backstage areas in theaters…and inspiring the heck out of everyone in the process.


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Lex is an LA native who's deeply obsessed with picnics, Slim Aarons, rosé, Hollywood history and Joan Didion. She joined PureWow in early 2017.