Broadway showcase spotlights talents of disabled performers

ByMark Nunez via Localish logo
Friday, July 8, 2022
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A new Broadway showcase, the Disabled Down Center, is giving disabled performers a well-deserved chance to shine in the spotlight.

NEW YORK -- -- A new Broadway showcase is giving disabled performers a well-deserved chance to shine in the spotlight.

Performer Pavar Snipe, who hosted the Disabled Down Center's benefit performance in June, said these are artistic opportunities that are long overdue.

"Everyone has a thing, your thing might be showing, your thing might not be showing, but we are all worthy of the opportunity to perform and to share our gifts with the world," Snipe said.

The idea for the Disabled Down Center came to creator Brennan Srisirikul like "a bolt of lightning" to give disabled performers the perfect roles in musical theater that suit them best.

The center offers performance opportunities as well as training for disabled performers and their allies.

The center "recognizes that inclusion is about everyone learning and growing together - disabled people and allies alike," according to their mission statement.

"Now that I am an empowered adult, I am really interested in seeing how my disability affects all of the characters that I play," Srisirikul said. "Cerebral palsy goes with me everywhere and every character that I play has cerebral palsy."

Another performer, Rachel Handler, heard about the Disabled Down Center from her longtime friend Brennan.

Srisirikul pictured Handler singing songs from the "Music Man," a show for which Handler said she was not able to get an audition.

Handler became an amputee after a car accident in 2012.

The idea for the benefit hit Srisirikul after finding out Handler never got the chance to audition for "The Music Man" because of her disability.

Srisirikul and his team reached out to some managers and agents to assemble a wonderful cast.

Members of the cast have worked on bigger shows such as "13 Reasons Why", "NCIS New Orleans", and the off-Broadway production of "The Lucky Star."

This experience has shown Srisirikul that he has "more to offer this industry than just being an actor."

Performer Jonathan Lengel said we all have more in common than we realize.

"In reality we may have differences, but at the end of the day we are just like everyone else. And just like Walt Disney says if you dream it, you can do it, and I'm living the dream," Lengel said.