MasterClass Monday: Tony Award Winner And Role Model Ali Stroker

MasterClass Monday: Tony Award Winner And Role Model Ali Stroker

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would have tears in my eyes while watching a singer perform “I Cain’t Say Know” from the musical Oklahoma by Rodgers and Hammerstein.

But also, I never could envision this exceptional performance by singer/actress Ali Stroker in a wheelchair on the Tony Awards last evening.

First of all, let’s get one thing out of the way right now: wheelchair or no wheelchair, Ms. Ali is a vocal phenomenon. She is real, gutsy and visually compelling and her voice is resplendent with nuance.

Her vocal tone is blessed with a bell- like clarity which has been honed by impeccable vocal skill, artistry and tenacity.

Here is a very brief synopsis of her backstory via Wikipedia:

At the age of two Stroker was in a car accident that resulted in a spinal cord injury that left her paralyzed from the chest down. Because she is unable to walk, she uses a wheelchair. At the age of seven Stroker saw her first Broadway show and decided to become an actress

This synopsis makes it sound as easy as turning lemons into lemonade but everyone knows that this must have been a monumental climb to stardom, shrouded in tears and heartache along the way. One can only imagine…

With her outstanding performance in Oklahoma, Ali Stroker is the first person using a wheelchair to be nominated for and to receive a Tony Award for acting.

Here is part of her inspiring acceptance speech:

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 — you are,”

Below, I added her Oklahoma performance on the Jimmy Fallon Show and a brief video of her road to Tony Awards greatness. Be prepared to be blown away folks. It will make your day.

About Masterclass Lady

Rosanne (Giallonardo) Simunovic began her musical career in Timmins, Ontario. She studied piano with Anne Pizzale and later, at an advanced level, with Soeur Anita Vaugeois (Sister Cecile of Les Soeurs De L’Assomption in Timmins). Her vocal and accompaniment skills were nurtured by her aunt, the late Dorothea Mascioli. When Rosanne graduated from O’Gorman High School, she moved on to the University of Toronto where she continued her piano and vocal studies while attaining a Bachelor of Arts Degree. She was hired as a piano accompanist for several musical companies, most notably, the National Ballet Of Canada. She presently holds an A.R.C.T. Teacher’s Diploma in Voice from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Rosanne has studied choral conducting with numerous well known Canadian Conductors, including Wayne Riddell of Montreal, Quebec and the internationally renowned Dr. Elmer Iseler. She has been a founding member of numerous community-based arts organizations: the Timmins Arts Council, later known as Arts & Culture Timmins, the Timmins Symphony Orchestra, and, the Timmins Youth Singers…as well as the TYS Alumnus choir, the Timmins Concert Singers. In 1987, she was also selected to be the conductor of the Timmins Board Of Education Choir, comprised of talented students from Grades 5 to 8. In 1988, she was elected to the Board Of Directors of the Ontario Choral Federation (now known as Choirs Ontario), where she served as Chair of the Festivals Committee for six consecutive seasons. In 1996, in honour of the Ontario Choral Federation’s 25th Anniversary, Rosanne was selected as one of 25 recipients of the OCF’s Distinguished Service Award for outstanding contribution to the choral art. The ceremony was presided by Lieutenant Governor, Hal Jackman. In November 1997, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Rotary Club Of Timmins to receive the prestigious Paul Harris Award for her years of dedication to the artistic development of young musical talent in Timmins. In August of 2002, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Board Of Directors of Choirs Ontario to serve as Conductor of both the Provincial Junior and Teen Choir Camps, now renamed in honour of the Camp Benefactors, Don and Lillian Wright. In November 2002, Rosanne was the one of the recipients of the Commemorative Medal for the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, honouring her work in the development of the arts in Timmins. Under Rosanne Simunovic’s direction, the Timmins Youth Singers and the Timmins Concert Singers have been featured in numerous choral festivals and performing opportunities outside of Timmins. In 1985, they were selected to partici

2 Responses to “MasterClass Monday: Tony Award Winner And Role Model Ali Stroker”

  1. I really enjoyed your article on the Tony Awards..😍

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you so much. It was a great show but she was truly the highlight. 😍


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