When Ali Stroker was cast in the 2015 revival of Spring Awakening, it was the first time that a performer in a wheelchair ever appeared on a Broadway stage. Last month, Ali returned to Broadway in the reimagined revival of Oklahoma, a production most likely to be recognized when the Tony nominations are announced later this month. But Ali says that the theater community still has a long way to go when it comes to inclusivity and representation on stage. And that’s what we’re talking about on today’s podcast with guests Eric Woodall, the Producing Artistic Director of North Carolina Theatre, Betsy Ludwig, Executive Director of Arts Access, and Doug Kapp, a local actor who also happens to be legally blind. Towards the end of the podcast, I also talk with George Yionoulis (aka DJGeoYio). George is a 10-year-old music maker and filmmaker. In fact, he composed the music heard in this episode. He also made a video about autism that has been viewed over one million times on YouTube. Doug and George will both be featured artists during Arts Access’ upcoming fundraising event A Series of Fortunate Events (SOFE). And Eric is hosting the SOFE Performance Done Our Way artist showcase on April 27th at The Cary Theater. For more information visit fortunateevents.org.
About the Guests
Eric Woodall is the Producing Artistic Director of North Carolina Theatre. In addition to his NC Theatre directorial credits including Gypsy, Mary Poppins, Jesus Christ Superstar, Steel Magnolias, Woodall has worked locally in the Triangle directing for companies like Theatre Raleigh and PlayMakers Repertory, as well as traveled the country putting his spin on shows like West Side Story, Big River, and On Golden Pond at Casa Mañana in Fort Worth, Texas and Amadeus at the Memphis Playhouse on the Square. Prior to joining NC Theatre full time in November as producing artistic director, he spent 16 years in New York City working as one of the top casting directors at Tara Rubin Casting. For more information visit: http://ericwoodall.com/.
Betsy Ludwig has been with Arts Access for eight years, originally hired as Program Director. She has a BA in Social Work from Salem College, an MS in Therapeutic Recreation from UNC-Chapel Hill and Course Work in Arts Administration from NYU. She has worked as a Social Worker, Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, Inclusion Specialist/Trainer, and Program Administrator for Group Homes, Day Programs, Hospitals, Public Schools and Community Non-Profits. For more information visit:
Doug Kapp was already active in Raleigh’s theatre community before he decided to earn a degree in theatre from UNCG in 2010. He has appeared in independent films, UNCSA student films, and in the feature film Patch Adams. He was most recently cast in Pippin at Raleigh Little Theater and will be performing at A Series of Fortunate Events on April 27th. His dream roles include someday playing The Wizard (Wicked/The Wizard of Oz), The Cowardly Lion (The Wizard of Oz), and King George (Hamilton).
George Yionoulis (aka DJGeoYio) is a fifth grader who loves to make music and movies. Encouraged by his fourth-grade teacher, George and his parents (Lisa Jolley and Mike Yionoulis) created a video to explain his autism to his classmates. The video went viral and has been viewed over one million times on YouTube. He just submitted his most recent music composition Reh Vow Loo Shun to the NAFME Electronic Music Composition Competition. For more information visit: DJGeoYio’s Facebook page.
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