Dating disabled head over wheels

I watch Project Runway for that." Lipkin cannot point to one particular incident that inspired her interest in disability issues.

Disabled activists had begun to demand better access to buildings and public transportation so they could work, attend school and live as normal lives as possible. There weren't many disabled characters in traditional theater, though, and most directors were reluctant to cast people in wheelchairs.

Lipkin has already arranged two shows for elementary school students in University City.

All that remains is for the actors to memorize 30 minutes' worth of lines, songs and blocking, and rise to the dramatic challenge of playing characters vastly different from themselves.

Tom, Huck and Becky Thatcher, quickly bored, incite the rest of the cast to beat the narrator into silence with foam pool noodles. Locker reads the verses, and Lipkin sings the chorus: "I won't mope around and curse my luck, on the outside looking in." By the third go-round, all the actors have joined in.

But when Tom and Huck announce they are leaving to go find some excitement, Becky wonders aloud why she and the chorus can't have adventures, too. "That's us," exclaims Ana Jennings, one of the group's long-time members, "on the outside looking in." "Yeah," Stuart Falk agrees, "but now we're staring back." "When I go to certain places," Lipkin likes to say, "I notice who isn't there." Lipkin herself is difficult to ignore.

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