Broadway Showcase Disabled Down Center “sheds light on the talents of artists with disabilities

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

Performer Pavar Snipe, who hosted the Disabled Down Center benefit show in June, said these were long overdue artistic opportunities.

“Everyone has something, your stuff may be shown, your stuff may not be shown, but we all deserve the opportunity to perform and share our gifts with the world,” Snipe said.

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

The center provides performance opportunities as well as training for artists with disabilities and their allies.

The center “recognizes that inclusion is about everyone learning and growing together – people with disabilities and their allies,” according to their mission statement.

“Now that I’m a self-reliant adult, I’m really interested in seeing how my disability affects all the characters I play,” Srisirikul said. “Cerebral palsy is with me everywhere and every character I play has cerebral palsy.”

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

Srisirikul photographed Handler singing songs from “Music Man,” a show that Handler said she couldn’t get an audition for.

Handler became an amputee after a car accident in 2012.

The idea of ​​the benefit hit Srisirikul after finding out that Handler never had the chance to audition for “The Music Man” due to his disability.

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

Cast members have worked on larger shows such as “13 Reasons Why,” “NCIS New Orleans,” and the off-Broadway production of “The Lucky Star.”

This experience showed 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 think.

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

Robert M. Larson