Autistic & Blind Actor Performing in ‘The Cat in the Hat’
Production Runs April 14 through May 22 at Seattle Children’s Theatre
Seattle, WA. (March 15, 2016) — Mickey Rowe, an actor with autism and who is legally blind, living and working in the Seattle area, is preparing to grace the stage next month when Seattle Children’s Theatre (SCT) proudly presents, “Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat.” The 6-actor production is directed by Linda Hartzell and will feature 11 shows per week from April 14 through May 22.
“Each person with autism is unique,” Rowe said. “Many have exceptional visual, musical and academic skills, and about 40 percent have average to above average intellectual abilities. Lots of individuals on the autistic spectrum take pride in our distinctive abilities and extraordinary way we view the world.”
Playing the roles of Thing One and Cat Assistant One, this performance by Rowe is another opportunity for him to raise awareness of the need for greater diversity in the theater industry and celebrate that, despite his disabilities, he has found great success as a professional actor. His message is that having a disability isn’t a hindrance to achieving your dreams and aims to see more people challenging their boundaries and abilities.
“Unfortunately, the theater industry lacks a diversity of actors,” Rowe said. “Too often we learn about autism from those who are not autistic themselves rather than going straight to the source and learning about it from adults who share this experience. This is like reading a book about being a woman that is written by a man, or watching a straight actor portray a gay character. I believe that diversity in the arts matters.”
Recently, the autism community criticized the Broadway play, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” for opting, once again, to cast a non-autistic actor for the lead role of Christopher.
“Considering able-bodied actors consistently play characters who are amputees or wheelchair-bound in television and movies, it is time to begin breaking down the barriers to actors who actually live with these disabilities and start seeing them as professionals with a unique perspective and personal experience the audience will relate to,” Rowe said. “A greater diversity in the arts can only help to broaden the awareness of an audience when they get to see an honest portrayal in front of them.”
That is exactly what Rowe is looking to do with “Cat in the Hat.” In addition to his two seasons with the SCT, Rowe has showcased his talents at the Seattle Shakespeare Company, Seattle Opera, Eugene O’Neill Theater Center and Washington Ensemble Theater multiple times. He also portrayed Romeo in the Arts on the Waterfront production of “Romeo and Juliet.”
Behind the scenes, Rowe has served as the Executive Director for Arts on the Waterfront for two years and was a program management assistant at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland.
For more information on Rowe, visit bit.ly/MickeyRowe. For more information on SCT’s “The Cat in the Hat,” visit www.sct.org/Shows/2015-2016-Season/Dr-Seuss-The-Cat-in-the-Hat.