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Town Hall Seattle: Arts & Culture Series

Town Hall’s Arts & Culture series elevates the voices of local artists while bringing world-renowned cultural icons to Seattle audiences. The series celebrates music, photography, sculpture, philosophy, heritage, and traditions around the world that enrich our lives.

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Mar 25, 2022

Growing up as an autistic and legally blind person, actor Mickey Rowe was told that he couldn’t be a part of the mainstream world. As Rowe navigated adulthood, he was ignored and misunderstood by classmates and colleagues, infantilized by theatre directors, and even barred from earning minimum wage, all because he is autistic. But for Rowe, the structure and repetition of theatre productions made sense — after all, he spent his entire life acting to pass as neurotypical.

In 2017, Rowe became the first openly autistic actor ever to play any autistic role in a professional performance setting, taking on the lead role of Christopher Boone in the Tony Award-winning play, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Today, Rowe is a prolific performer and speaker, a husband and father, and the author of Fearlessly Different: An Autistic Actor’s Journey to Broadway’s Biggest Stage.

Together at Town Hall with writer Laurie Frankel, Rowe discussed his new book and how the things that make us different can turn out to be our biggest strengths.

This event provided CART transcription and ASL interpretation.

Mickey Rowe (he/him) has had a prolific and varied career as an actor, director, consultant, and public speaker, and is highly sought-after nationally and internationally. He was the first autistic actor to play Christopher Boone, the lead role in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. This also made him the first openly autistic actor ever to play any autistic role in a professional performance setting. He has also appeared in the title role in Amadeus and more. Rowe has been featured in The New York TimesNew York Times Magazine, PBS, VoguePlaybill, NPR, CNN, The Wall Street JournalHuffPost, and Forbes. He has keynoted at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, The Kennedy Center, Yale University, Columbia University, and others. Mickey was the founding Artistic Director of National Disability Theatre, which works in partnership with Tony Award-winning companies such as La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego and the Goodman Theatre in Chicago.

Laurie Frankel is the New York Times bestselling, award-winning author of four novels, including her most recent One Two Three and This Is How It Always Is. Her writing has also appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, Publisher’s Weekly, People Magazine, Lit Hub, The Sydney Morning Herald, and other publications. She is the recipient of the Washington State Book Award and the Endeavor Award. Her novels have been translated into more than twenty-five languages and have been optioned for film and TV. A former college professor, she now writes full-time in Seattle, Washington where she lives with her family and makes good soup.

Buy the Book: Fearlessly Different: An Autistic Actor's Journey to Broadway's Biggest Stage (Hardcover) from Third Place Books

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