Any hope for a disabled future student?

<p>My daughter is currently a high school junior, and dreams of being a theatre major in college. She would not be applying to the select schools most often mentioned on this forum, rather a couple of auditioned BFA programs in our major metropolitan area (or a BA program with an additional major in creative writing). She had a stroke inutero, and therefore was born with mild left-sided cerebral palsy. Her left arm is the most affected, some types of movements are not possible for her. You would not notice a “problem” with her gait upon a quick look, but if you watched her for a while you could pick up that she has a physical disability. She is not intellectually affected, has a 3.8 GPA, has not taken the ACT yet. </p>

<p>My question is, has anyone ever known of a physically impaired student in a program that they or their children have attended? Is this a totally unrealistic dream for her? She would love a musical theatre program, but dance is an issue for her. She takes voice lessons, is involved in a voice/dance competitive company, has been cast in high school plays/musicals, and a couple community productions. She almost always makes it to the callback list, but has ended up with minor character roles –no “major” characters yet. I will post this on both theatre majors to get as much feedback as possible. Thanks to everyone sharing any experience or advice they may have.</p>

<p>There was a very talented young woman at Tisch who was in a wheelchair. I don't know the exact nature of her disability but she is very talented and seemed to thrive there. I believe that she may have graduated in the same year as Soozievt's daughter so she may have more information that may be of help to you and your daughter.</p>

<p>I can not speak to BFA programs but I can speak to one particular BA program- Muhlenberg. I know of at least two theater majors there who use wheelchairs or scooters and have been cast in productions this fall (including the musical!) I would encourage you to visit Muhlenberg and in particular talk to folks in the theater department so you can get a sense of whether its a good fit for your daughter. My daughter is really enjoying her experience there. Good luck !</p>

<p>AlwaysAMom is correct! In fact, the young woman about whom she speaks is one of my daughter's BEST friends! This young woman has been in a wheelchair since she was a preschooler due to injuries from a car accident. She is paralyzed from the chest down. This is one AMAZING young woman in every respect. For starters, she is SUPER talented in musical theater. Not only is she so talented of an artist, but she is extremely independent and has lived alone many times and gets around NYC (and LA) and throughout her years at NYU/Tisch using a wheelchair that she uses her arms to operate, and not a mechanical one! She is extremely active. She also drives and has driven my D on trips.</p>

<p>I so much admire Tisch for accepting her into the BFA in MT program. She participated in all of the dance classes in her wheelchair (which she moves amazingly well when she performs). She was cast repeatedly, often in lead or significant roles throughout her time at Tisch. She also was in an award winning a capella group. My D was in classes and shows and a capella with her and again, is avery close friend. My daughter has also cast her in her own shows. </p>

<p>In the past year, this young woman had a lead role in a musical in a major regional theater. (by the way, she was nominated for Best Actress in a Musical for a regional theater award for her role) I hope many more theaters will consider casting her. Frankly, on Glee, I wish they had a true disabled student like her in a wheelchair rather than someone acting disabled. This girl would be so perfect. Her talent as a singer/actor and the way she moves on stage with her chair is outstanding. </p>

<p>I can't tell you how all BFA programs would respond in admitting such a student. But kudos to Tisch who did. Others can chime in if they know of other BFA programs that did. I imagine many BA programs have disabled students since there is usually no audition to be admitted and you don't apply directly to a program when applying to most BA programs. Anyone can participate in any major pretty much.</p>

<p>I know that a recent graduate of Adelphi's BFA has only one hand (I don't recall why). He seems to have done excellently there and afterwards. There was an article about him recently, about how he has become a standup comedian (he took standup at Adelphi, which includes performing in comedy clubs as assignments). He says he makes plenty of one-hand jokes, and that his disability probably makes people remember him.</p>

<p>The Boston University School of Theatre had a student with cerebral palsy a few years back. He is currently a working actor of some renown. His name is Gregg Mozgala.</p>

<p>I hope the link to the New York Times article works for you. If not, there is other info about Gregg on the internet, and he has a website. MIstarmama, Gregg sounds like the sort of person who wouldn't mind being contacted personally by you or your daughter. Best of luck to you!</p>

<p>Overcoming</a> Cerebral Palsy, Gregg Mozgala Learns to Dance - NYTimes.com</p>

<p>P.S. Here is a link to a video on a site set up to raise funds for an educational project about Gregg. It is the most wonderful video.</p>

<p>Prognosis</a> of a Faun: A Documentary by Tamar & Daisy — Kickstarter</p>

<p>^ Wow! That story is tremendously inspiring! Thanks for sharing!</p>

<p>I will add that I was recently made aware of a student at Montclair State (in musical theater I believe) who has one leg due to bone cancer / amputation.</p>

<p>This then reminded me of someone who was influential in my daughter's life (in fact, he came up in her college essays). This person is David Connolly. My D had the good fortune of working with him when she was 12 at Stagedoor Manor when he was a guest director/choreographer for a musical revue he wrote called Another Openin' Another Show. He was not only an amazing choreographer (there were 40 production numbers from the openings of 40 musicals), but David has TWO prosthetic legs (double amputee)! He demonstrated every dance fully to the cast, including the opening number to 42nd Street. He danced on Broadway at age 19, went on to win Emmy Awards for choreography (including the MIss America Pageant), has directed/choreographed numerous musicals and taught in various college programs. He is a graduate of Sheridan College in Canada.</p>

<p>I dont think you should worry about the disability part. Just audition! Its a great life experience. I had a few friends who made it in to no schools, and it didnt hinder them at all in finding a college for a different major. The roles you get cast in doesnt matter, they barely look at your resume for college auditions. If she wants it, it would be silly not to go for it! If she gets into a school, they obviously think that she has the potential to succeed. In that way, its really nice to know that its not in your hands. Best of luck!</p>

<p>Your D may want to take a look at Welcome</a> to VSA VSA is an affiliate of the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC and is an organization on the arts and disability. There is an article on two students with disabilities who were apprentices at the Williamstown Theatre Festival this past summer and there also is a registry of artists with disabilities, including those individuals in the performing arts.</p>

<p>Sorry the VSA website did not appear correctly. Here is the link. Welcome</a> to VSA</p>