Actor Gregg Mozgala describes himself as a “Triple Threat: “Actor, Writer, Cripple.” The 42-year-old award-winning actor and theatre professional, who has cerebral palsy, has been challenging the industry to be more inclusive of people living with disabilities.
Gregg Mozgala’s impressive resume features a career in acting spanning over 22 years. He recently wrapped up a national tour of the play “Teenage Dick,” an adaptation of Richard III set in high-school.
This summer, he will take the Delacorte Theatre in “Richard III” as part of Shakespeare In The Park, and in the fall, he will be going to Broadway to star in “Cost of Living,” reprising the role for which he won the Lucille Lortel Award for best Off-Broadway actor in 2018.
Off stage, Gregg is the founder and artistic director of The Apothetae, a theatre company that was started in 2012 with the mission to produce works that explore and illuminate the Disabled Experience. Since then, The Apothetae has commissioned and produced plays, readings and workshops, hosted national convenings, started the first-ever national fellowship for Deaf/Disabled playwrights, and served as a platform to broaden the conversation around Access, Inclusion, Diversity and Equity in the American Theatre. The Apothetae and Lark National Playwriting Fellowship was recently rehomed at Queens Theatre.
Gregg also served as Program Director of Inclusion for Queens Theatre’s Theatre For All (TFA) initiative. TFA provides opportunities for audiences, regardless of background or ability to experience first-class art featuring disabled talent and for disabled theatre professionals to practice their craft, hone their skills, and gather regularly with each other and with the larger Queens Theatre community, to exchange ideas, build connections and celebrate the work we create together.
As an extension of Theatre For All, Gregg helped develop Queens Theatre’s first-ever Forward Festival of the Arts, a national festival showcasing the artistry of Deaf/Disabled performers, which spans two weekends from May 13th – 22nd, 2022.
We checked in with Gregg Mozgala, who helped plan, organize and produce the festival along with the rest of the staff at Queens Theatre.
Why these types of events are important for Deaf/Disabled communities and others.
Gregg Mozgala: An event like the Forward Festival, a national festival highlighting the ARTISTRY of Deaf/Disabled performers is pretty rare. We want to change that. It is important that Deaf/Disabled artists have the space to showcase their work and talents. It is important that general audiences (which includes disabled people) see the rigor, professionalism and dynamism of these communities across multiple disciplines,” says Gregg. “It is also important that other producers and artistic institutions across the cultural sector see that producing the work of these communities is possible and enriching to the overall cultural fabric of New York City and beyond.
What can audiences expect from the Forward Festival of the Arts?
GM: First and foremost, I think audiences can expect to be entertained. We have been very thoughtful in our planning and execution to make a really incredible event that will appeal to as many people as possible. The Forward Festival has a bit of everything, from Circus, Dance, Live Music and New plays that we at Queens Theatre are excited to share with a wider audience.
What do you hope audiences take away from attending the festival?
GM: Queens Theatre’s mission is to provide high quality performances and programs that are accessible – in all respects – to the 2.2 million residents of Queens, the most diverse county in the nation, and the surrounding metropolitan region. To foster greater cultural awareness and appreciation, the Theatre presents and produces programs that reflect this diversity and features international, national and local artists. The Forward Festival is an extension, or rather a manifestation, of that mission. As we at QT have worked to become more inclusive of Deaf/Disabled communities in all aspects of the organization, we are modeling a future where the performing arts are a space for anyone and everyone.
What else can you share with us about the upcoming festival and where can readers get their tickets?
GM: The Forward Festival of the Arts includes multidisciplinary national performances and presentations. Over two weekends from May 13th – 22nd, audiences can see the exciting Omnium Circus, a performance of “Spitfire Grill by “ Phamaly Theatre Company, a wonderful dance show with Full Radius Dance, and listen to the music of composer Molly Joyce. My theatre company The Apothetae and the Lark National Playwriting Fellowship have put together a variety of new works by playwrights from across the country. A digital Storyteller show will premiere online on May 19th. The festival events will include Audio Description, Open Captioning, ASL interpretation, and other accessibility services. Readers can learn more about the Forward Festival of the Arts online at https://queenstheatre.org/forward-festival.
This post was written by the author in their personal capacity.The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of The Theatre Times, their staff or collaborators.
This post was written by The Theatre Times.
The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.