Ali Stroker

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Ali Stroker
Ali stroker 2021 1.jpg
Stroker at the 74th Tony Awards in 2021
Alyson Mackenzie Stroker

(1987-06-16) June 16, 1987 (age 34)
Alma materNew York University (BFA)
OccupationActress, singer
Years active2011–present

Alyson Mackenzie Stroker[1] (born June 16, 1987) is an American actress and singer.

She is the first actress who uses a wheelchair for mobility to appear on the Broadway stage, and to be nominated for and win a Tony Award. Stroker was a finalist on the second season of The Glee Project and later appeared as a guest star on Glee in 2013. She played Anna in Deaf West Theatre's 2015 revival of Spring Awakening.[2] She won the 2019 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her performance in Oklahoma![3]

Early life[edit]

Ali Stroker grew up in New Jersey with her parents, Jody Schleicher and Jim Stroker, as well as an older brother, Jake, and a younger sister, Tory. At the age of two, Stroker was in a car accident that resulted in a spinal cord injury that left her paralyzed from the waist down. Unable to walk, she uses a wheelchair.[4] She attended Ridgewood High School, where she was senior class president and starred in school musicals.[5]

Stroker trained with the Summer Musical Theater Conservatory program at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey.[4]

In 2009, Stroker became the first actress who uses a wheelchair to earn a degree from the New York University Tisch Drama Department, with a degree in Fine Arts.[6]


Stroker has had solo performances at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and New York's Town Hall in addition to concert performances at Lincoln Center in New York City.[7]

Stroker starred in the Paper Mill Playhouse's production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. She later reprised her role in this show at Philadelphia Theatre Company, and that performance earned her a Barrymore Award nomination.[8]

In 2011 Stroker made an appearance in the short film I Was a Mermaid and Now I'm a Pop Star.[9] In 2012 she auditioned for The Glee Project and was cast for the 12-episode series. She made it to the final episode and placed second, earning a guest role on Glee, playing Betty Pillsbury, Ms. Pillsbury's niece, in Season 4, Episode 14: "I Do".

In 2014 she had a role in the film Cotton, also known as "Everyday Miracles". In 2014 and 2015 Stroker had a three-episode role playing Wendy in the MTV series Faking It.

In 2015 she made history by becoming the first actress who uses a wheelchair to appear on a Broadway stage. She originated the role of Anna in Deaf West Theatre's 2015 revival of Spring Awakening.[10]

In 2017 Stroker was cast as Tamara in the ABC show Ten Days in the Valley.[11]

In 2018 she played Ado Annie in St. Ann's Warehouse's critically acclaimed revival of Oklahoma![3] The production transferred to Broadway's Circle in the Square Theatre in 2019, earning Stroker a Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical, making her the first person with a disability to be nominated for and to receive that award.[12][13]

In 2020 she was in Lifetime's Christmas Ever After, airing on December 6, 2020.

In 2021, she played Detective Allison Mulaney on the police procedural television series Blue Bloods,[14] and played Paulette on the mystery-comedy television series Only Murders in the Building.[15]


Stroker co-chaired an awards luncheon in 2016 for Women Who Care, which supports United Cerebral Palsy of New York City.[16] She is a founding member of Be More Heroic, an anti-bullying campaign which tours the country connecting with thousands of students each year.[17] She has gone to South Africa with ARTS InsideOut where she has held theater classes and workshops for women and children affected by AIDS.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Stroker is bisexual[18] and dated fellow The Glee Project contestant Dani Shay in 2012.[19]

Stroker attended the 2019 Tony Awards with her boyfriend, theater director and actor David Perlow.[20][21] She and Perlow had reconnected in 2015[22] and are founding directors of ATTENTIONTheatre.[23]


Film and television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2011 I Was a Mermaid and Now I'm a Pop Star Party Girl Video short
2012 The Glee Project Herself 12 episodes
2013 Glee Betty Pillsbury Episode: "I Do"
2014 Cotton Jeanie
2014–2015 Faking It Wendy 3 episodes
2017 Ten Days in the Valley Tamara 3 episodes
2018 Lethal Weapon Nina Episode: "Funny Money"
2018 Drunk History Judith Heumann Episode: "Civil Rights"
2018 Instinct Ella Episode: "Secrets and Lies"
2019 Charmed First Auditionee Episode: "Witch Perfect"
2020 BoJack Horseman (voice) Episode: "Angela"
2020 Helpsters Basketball Brianna Episode: "Basketball Brianna/Heart's Fish"
2020 The Bold Type Olivia Episode: "Leveling Up"
2020 Christmas Ever After[24] Izzi Simmons Lifetime Holiday Movie
2021 Blue Bloods Det. Allison Mulaney Episode: "Redemption"
2021 Only Murders in the Building Paulette Episode: "Fan Fiction"


Year Title Role Location Notes
2011 The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee Olive Ostrovsky Paper Mill Playhouse Regional Theatre
2015 Spring Awakening Anna Wallis Annenberg Center Regional Theatre – Deaf West Theatre
2015–2016 Brooks Atkinson Theatre Broadway – Deaf West Theatre Transfer
2018 The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee Olive Ostrovsky Cleveland Play House Regional Theatre
Annie Star-to-Be Hollywood Bowl Regional Theatre
Oklahoma! Ado Annie Carnes St. Ann's Warehouse Off-Broadway
2019 Circle in the Square Theatre Broadway

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result
2016 Astaire Award Outstanding Ensemble in a Broadway Show Spring Awakening Nominated
2019 Tony Award Best Featured Actress in a Musical Oklahoma! Won
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Won
Drama League Award Distinguished Performance Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Nominated
2020 Grammy Award Best Musical Theater Album Nominated


  1. ^ Dzurillay, Julia (June 11, 2019). "Tony Awards: Was Ali Stroker on 'Glee'?". Showbiz CheatSheet.
  2. ^ a b Gambino, Joe (November 22, 2015). "'This is How I Roll… Literally' — Ali Stroker On Auditioning the Same Way She Dates and Making Broadway History". Playbill. Retrieved 2017-08-08.
  3. ^ a b Clement, Olivia (2018-07-25). "Rebecca Naomi Jones and Ali Stroker to Star in Oklahoma! at St. Ann's Off-Broadway". Playbill. Retrieved 2018-12-11.
  4. ^ a b Federico-O'Murchu, Linda (2011-03-27). "The Courage to be Different: Ali Stroker a Burgeoning Star". Ridgewood-Glen Rock, NJ Patch. Retrieved 2017-08-08.
  5. ^ Herzog, Laura (September 11, 2015). "Actress who uses a wheelchair a likely first for Broadway". Stroker, who was president of Ridgewood High School president during her senior year, also starred in several high school productions including as Maria in West Side Story, and Cosette in Les Miz.
  6. ^ Brunner, Jeryl (May 31, 2016). "Ali Stroker Makes History as the First Performer in a Wheelchair in a Broadway Show". Parade. Retrieved 2017-08-08.
  7. ^ "Ali Stroker to 'Burn Old Dresses' in Concert at The Green Room 42". BroadwayWorld. Retrieved 2017-09-01.
  8. ^ Gates, Anita (2011-01-28). "'Putnam County Spelling Bee' at Paper Mill - Review". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-09-01.
  9. ^ "Ali Stroker-American Singer and Actress". Amherst College. 2016-10-17. Retrieved 2017-09-01.[dead link]
  10. ^ Dziemianowicz, Joe (September 15, 2015). "'Spring Awakening' actress Ali Stroker makes history as first actor in a wheelchair on Broadway". New York Daily News. Retrieved December 18, 2015.
  11. ^ Hubbard, Daniel (2017-02-02). "Bergen's Ali Stroker Cast In ABC's 'Ten Days In The Valley'". Wyckoff, NJ Patch. Retrieved 2017-09-01.
  12. ^ Fierberg, Ruthie (2019-05-02). "Ali Stroker Talks Making Broadway History With Her 2019 Tony Nomination". Playbill. Retrieved 2019-05-06.
  13. ^ Darrah, Nicole (June 10, 2019). "Tony Award winner Ali Stroker makes history as first wheelchair user to win trophy". Fox News. Retrieved 2019-06-10.
  14. ^ Hoog, Tyler (January 14, 2021). "Ali Stroker Gives Life to a Nuanced Story of the Disability Experience in CBS' Blue Bloods". RespectAbility. Retrieved October 5, 2021.
  15. ^ "About Ali Stroker". Retrieved October 5, 2021.
  16. ^ Nugent, Paul (January 25, 2016). "15th Annual Women Who Care Awards" (PDF). Retrieved October 5, 2021.
  17. ^ "Our Team - BMH". Retrieved October 5, 2021.
  18. ^ Barksdale, Aaron (2015-10-20). "History-Making Broadway Star Opens Up About Being Bisexual". HuffPost Canada. Retrieved 2017-08-08.
  19. ^ Votta, Rae (December 14, 2012). "Ali Stroker Talks Girlfriend Dani Shay, 'Glee Project': Exclusive Interview". LOGO News. Retrieved 2017-08-08.
  20. ^ Telling, Gillian (2019-07-11). "A Car Accident at Age 2 Left Ali Stroker Paralyzed — Now She's a Tony-Winning Broadway Sensation". Retrieved 2019-08-05.
  21. ^ Vacco-Bolanos, Jessica (2019-06-10). "'Glee' Alum Ali Stroker Makes History at 2019 Tony Awards, 'Oklahoma!' Star Is First Actor in a Wheelchair to Win". Us Weekly. Retrieved 2019-08-05.
  22. ^ Telling, Gillian (June 22, 2019). "An Accident as a Toddler Left Her Paralyzed, but the Broadway Star Didn't Let It Get in the Way of Achieving Her Dreams". People. Archived from the original on August 6, 2019 – via Press Reader.
  23. ^ "Team | New York". attentiontheatre. Archived from the original on 2019-08-05. Retrieved 2019-08-05.
  24. ^ "Christmas Ever After". Lifetime. Retrieved May 13, 2021.

External links[edit]