Fearlessly Different: An Autistic Broadway Actor's Transformational Insights
- Disability Awareness
- Motivation & Inspiration
- Professional Development
- College & University
- Educators & Staff
Fee Range: $5K-10KInvite Mickey
• From Special Education To Broadway
• Founding Artistic Director of National Disability Theatre
• Keynote Speaker at the Kennedy Center, Yale University, Columbia University, CUNY, Disability Rights Washington, and Many More
As an autistic and legally blind person, it was always made clear to Mickey the many things he was incapable of doing. But Mickey did them all anyway—and he succeeded because of, not despite, his autism.
He became the first autistic actor to play the lead role in the play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, landed the title role in the play Amadeus, co-created the theatre/philanthropy company Arts on the Waterfront, and founded the National Disability Theatre.
Mickey faced untold obstacles along the way, but his story ends in triumph.
Mickey inspires all people—autistic and non-autistic alike—that the things that make us different are often our biggest strengths.
Mickey has been featured in the New York Times, New York Times Magazine, the TODAY show, PBS, Vogue, Playbill, NPR, CNN, Wall Street Journal, HuffPost, Forbes, on Smarter in Seconds. He has been a keynote speaker at organizations including the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, The Kennedy Center, Yale University, Columbia University, CUNY, Disability Rights Washington, The Gershwin Theatre on Broadway, and the DAC of the South Korean government, and more.
Mickey was the founding Artistic Director of the National Disability Theatre, working in partnership with Tony Award-winning companies such as La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego and the Goodman Theatre in Chicago.
In this engaging keynote, Rowe shares his deeply personal story of growing up autistic and pushing beyond the restrictions of a special education classroom to shine on the Broadway stage. As an autistic and legally blind person, it was always made clear to Mickey the many things he was apparently incapable of doing. But Mickey did them all anyway—and he succeeded because of, not in spite of, his differences.
Rowe shows all of us that whether disabled or not, the things that make you different, or that you might even perceive as your weaknesses, actually make you unique and valuable and might even be your biggest strengths. Ensuring that everyone we come in contact with feels, seen, heard, understood, and valued. And that sometimes just one small action can change a life.
Disabled students are often segregated from non-disabled students–often hidden away from the rest of the school in their own classroom in the back of the school building.
In this keynote, Mickey Rowe, Founding Artistic Director of National Disability Theatre, speaks from his personal experience on how integrated and accessible education helps everyone. When we think with an accessibility mindset, we help all of our students, not just the students who might have disabilities.
Rowe empowers educators with the best practices of Universal Design, making accessibility for all students feel fun and creative rather than intimidating and scary. At the same time, Rowe encourages all students to succeed even when they feel misunderstood or challenged. Rowe reminds students that the things that make you different, or that you might even perceive as your weaknesses, actually make you unique and valuable and might even be your most significant strengths. We all share this in common because, in the end, the story of autism is the story of being human.
As a disabled stage actor, Mickey knows that often people want so badly to fit in that they forget what makes them stand out.
“Mickey’s warmth and grace instantly put our guests at ease. All of the guests I spoke to said that this was the best event we’ve ever had, and last year our speaker was Maya Angelou, so that is saying a lot! He gave our audience the ability to understand their own children and feel hope for the first time.”NC Child Development Center
“Mickey was amazing; I have heard nothing but compliments for his talk and the Q&A session. He was the perfect kickoff to a wonderful day of learning.”City of Rancho Cucamonga
“Mickey’s speech moved one of the attendees so much that he gave us a check for $10,000 on the spot and promised to pay all of the expenses to bring Mickey back next year.”Meristem Fundraiser
“Mickey Rowe was wonderful! What a great presentation. He provided our audience with a great keynote. Had the entire audience loving his presentation. He was authentic. Love to have him come back again!”The Family Cafe