All Abilities SRO PLUS cast photo for their performance of Finding Nemo Jr.

All Abilities Theater Group Flourish’s in Their First Performance

SRO P.L.U.S.’s Finding Nemo Jr. is a Swimming Success!

On May 13th, In Flight and Standing Room Only’s SRO P.L.U.S. (Performing. Learning. United for Success) all abilities theater group performed their first full production. For almost eight months, our dedicated and talented performers practiced at Standing Room Only Theater Company’s location in Lagrangeville, NY to perfect their rendition of Finding Nemo, Jr.

Performing to a crowd of almost 200 members of our community, including their family, friends, and staff, our performers captivated the audience with their musical talents and buddy comedy. The historic Cunneen-Hackett Theater, located in Poughkeepsie, NY, was the perfect location to hold everyone, including those who needed accessibility accommodations to see the show. Throughout, every aspect of this performance encompassed inclusivity for all abilities.

By personally ensuring every performers needs, props and equipment were adjusted to best suit each participant. After noticing difficulties in remembering lines in a group setting, the directors purchased a television to show the script on stage. Alongside their daughter, they were able to manually highlight every line the performer was stuck on at their pace.

Behind the Stage

In Flight and Standing Room Only Theater Company’s SRO P.L.U.S. program targeted to offer theater experiences geared for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) in our local area, but open to all teens and young adults interested. Originally starting in 2022, SRO P.L.U.S. focused on generalized theater classes in order to build in various theater skills such as dancing, singing, stage directions, and using props. At the end of every session, group and solo performances were showcased at Standing Room Only’s location. By the end of 2023, the groups skill levels increased to be ready to take the stage in a full production.

“We are thrilled to be in collaboration with Standing Room Only Theater Company and to have the opportunity to bring theater to people of all abilities,” shared In Flight’s Jennifer Wells, Director of Community Services, and Sarah Green, Community Habilitation Manager. “A full production has been a dream of ours, for years.”

Directors, Dan Sclafani and Eileen Folwer-Sclafani, are incredibly proud of the performers. “They have truly risen to the challenge,” they shared in the playbill. “They learned dialogue, music, harmony, and choreography and were very committed to the process.”

As shared with the crowd by the directors, “We keep reminding them to ‘Just keep swimming’ and know that anything is possible!”

Cast of Finding Nemo, Jr.

The Finding Nemo, Jr. casts starts many of In Flight’s own program participants including:

  • Trevon, as Bruce/Moonfish
  • Tiffany, as Bloat/Pearl’s mom/Turtle/Moonfish
  • Caitlin, as Peaches/Turtle/Jellyfish
  • Jenna, as Bubbles/Sheldon’s mom/Turtle/Jellyfish
  • Carolyn, as Chum/Moonfish
  • Bryan, as Anchor/Moonfish
  • Kaitlyn, as Jacques/Coral/”Friend”/Seagull/Jellyfish
  • Christopher, as Crush/Professor Ray/Shark/Moonfish
  • Pamela, as Breeze/Tad’s mom/Shark/Moonfish

Additionally, our amazing community members who joined the SRO P.L.U.S. program:

  • Hudson, as Marlin
  • Austin, as Nemo
  • Aevary, as Dory
  • Brandon, as Gill/Turtle/Moonfish
  • Jaidan, as Gurgle/Pearl/Turtle/Moonfish
  • Daniel, as Nigel/Sheldon/”Friend”/Seagull/Jellyfish
  • Connor, as Kai/Shark/Seagull/Moonfish
  • Mateo, as Squirt/Tad/Vacationer/”Friend”/Jellyfish

Furthermore, our performers were accompanied by the SRO Teen program as an extra hand. Thank you Hannah, Taylor, and Abbi for your help!

Rave Reviews!

Austin, our Nemo, has always loved singing and theater, says his mother. After performing his heart out, he shared with her, “this is what I want to do.” His Care Manager, also in attendance that night along with his housemates, shared, “He brought tears to my eyes when he sang. This meant the world to him.” Moreover, his housemates also shared that they felt the same way. We are all so proud of how far he has come this past year.

Austin, Nemo, singing solo, “Where’s My Dad?”

Daniel, our Nigel and Sheldon as well as “Friend”, Seagull, and Jellyfish, truly blossomed. “He was always excited to go to practice and expressed his enjoyment of being a part of the cast often,” shared his mother. “My husband and I think it is a really positive thing for him to meet, engage, and work with folks of different ages and experiences to really expand his social growth, comfort, and maturity.”

Mateo, Vacationer, along with Daniel and his fellow Seagulls, making the crowd laugh at their funny antics

Hudson, our Marlon and longtime attendee at Standing Room Only Theater Company, finished the performance with a heartfelt thank you to the shows directors along with a personalized gift. With knowing them both for a long time, his gratitude showed through the room, bring not only the directors but the crowd to tears.

Hudson, Marlon, and Aevary, Dory, along with their fellow cast mates, sing “We Swim Together”

For the Future

Plans are currently in process to have another full theater performance with classes starting in September. If you or a loved one are interested in participating, please contact Jennifer Wells or Sarah Green. Additionally, if you are looking to utilize the Medicaid Wavier to help offset the cost by utilizing Respite services through In Flight, please contact us.