Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Beyond FORTITUDE: Teri Westerman of the Physically Handicapped Amateur Musical Actors League (PHAMALy)

Denver’s own PHAMALy summer productions are renowned not only for their incredible entertainment value, but for their inspirational impact. The only theatre group in the country that uses solely disabled actors and welcomes actors with any disabilities, PHAMALy has presented unique and powerful productions of classic musicals for the past 17 years. This month, PHAMALy presents The Wiz, in which Dorothy is played by blind actress Juliet Villa. Villa’s seeing eye dog, Deidra, plays Toto.

Teri Westerman, one of the founders of PHAMALy, plays several roles in The Wiz. A wheelchair dancer since age 11, Westerman has exhibited many, many times her ability not only to step up to a challenge but to succeed beyond anyone’s expectations. A 2006 Volvo for Life award-winner, Westerman has performed and competed in a wheelchair for years and also teaches the intricacies of wheelchair dance. Square dancing, ballet, and ballroom are only a few of the styles she’s mastered; she competes internationally in ballroom.

But it’s through annual PHAMALy productions that Westerman’s continued impact on the lives of local actors with disabilities is most obvious. As the Volvo for Life award site states, “By her actions, her achievements, and her enthusiasm, she inspires people everywhere to go beyond their limitations.” I’d add that Teri Westerman inspires us all to look beyond perceived limitations of others to appreciate all they have to offer, on and off the public stage.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for this! I will link to it on PHAMALy's Wiz page if that's alright with you!

Ali Zimmerman
PHAMALy Webmaster & Vice Chairperson

9:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing examples of what the human spirit can accomplish regardless of the limitation of the vessel. Inspiring.

10:48 AM  
Blogger Sustenance Scout said...

Terrific, Ali! Thanks so much.

Susie, once again you're right on target. Teri and everyone at PHAMALy truly are inspiring. K.

10:55 AM  
Blogger Patry Francis said...

We need more good news like this--especially now!

8:50 PM  
Blogger Sustenance Scout said...

So true, Patry....

7:26 AM  

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