The Jewish Community Center of Metro Detroit's Opening the Doors Programs will present the virtual event Changing the Norm - Celebrating the Beauty of Different Abilities February 28 at 7 PM ET. The talk features director-choreographer Marcia Milgrom Dodge and dancer-actor Evan Ruggiero discussing their recent and inclusive production of Disney's Beauty and the Beast at Maryland's Olney Theatre.
Alongside its inclusive casting, which caught the attention of many, the production launched its #IAmBeauty campaign to encourage audiences to celebrate diversity and inclusivity. Jade Jones, a Black woman who identifies as queer and plus-sized, played Belle opposite Evan Ruggiero, a Drama Desk nominee who underwent amputation of his right leg in college, as the Beast.
Dodge directed the production, which began performances November 5, 2021. Though best known for her regional and Off-Broadway work, she directed and choreographed the 2009 Broadway revival of Ragtime, which received seven Tony Award nominations, including Best Director of a Musical.
Moderating the event will be former Detroit WXYZ reporter Cheryl Chodun.
Presented as part of Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance, and Inclusion Month, the talk is supported by The Vera and Joseph Dresner Foundation, Kaufman Children's Center, the Only Theatre, and The Jewish Federation of Metro Detroit.