Skip to Full Menu

Providing information, education, and training to build knowledge, develop skills, and change attitudes that will lead to increased independence, productivity, self determination, integration and inclusion (IPSII) for people with developmental disabilities and their families.

Theatre Company Selects Wheelchair User In Wheelchair Role
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
March 3, 2006

PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA--Robert "Ironside" used a wheelchair, but the actor who portrayed him, Raymond Burr, did not.

Ron Kovic uses a wheelchair, but Tom Cruise, who portrayed him in "Born on the Fourth of July", does not.

Raymond Babbit had autism, but Dustin Hoffman, who played the role in "Rain Man", does not.

The list goes on and on.

So often, actors without disabilities are called in to play characters with disabilities.

That has changed, at least for the next month, at a Pittsburgh theater: A stage actor with a disability will be playing the role of a character with a disability, in a play written by an acclaimed playwright with a disability.

From now until April 2, Pittsburgh's City Theatre will be featuring the love story entitled "Pyretown".

The play was written by John Belluso, who used a wheelchair from age 13 until his death on February 10 at age 36.

The theater company had originally planned to cast a local actor without disabilities in the role of Harry, who uses a wheelchair. But a foundation agreed to pay for the cost of an out-of-town talent search for an actor with a disability.

City Theatre finally selected Los Angeles actor Tobias "Toby" Forrest to play the lead character.

Forrest, 30, does not have a long stage acting resume.

"But I have a lot of wheelchair experience," he told the Post-Gazette.

Related:
"City Theatre casts actor who uses wheelchair in role of disabled character" (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06060/662541.stm
"Pyretown" (City Theatre Company)
http://www.citytheatrecompany.org/pyretown.html
FISA Foundation
http://www.fisafoundation.org

---

©2017 The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities
 370 Centennial Office Building  658 Cedar Street   St. Paul, Minnesota 55155 
Phone: 651.296.4018   Toll-free number: 877.348.0505   MN Relay Service: 800.627.3529 OR 711   Fax: 651.297.7200 
Email: admin.dd@state.mn.us   View Privacy Policy   An Equal Opportunity Employer 

The GCDD is funded under the provisions of P.L. 106-402. The federal law also provides funding to the Minnesota Disability Law Center,the state Protection and Advocacy System, and to the Institute on Community Integration, the state University Center for Excellence. The Minnesota network of programs works to increase the IPSII of people with developmental disabilities and families into community life.