Titanium Awards

Titanium Awards showcase performers with disabilities

The NoHo Arts District is home to thousands of actors who have come from every part of the world to make their dream come true. These actors come in all shapes and sizes with their own stories to tell. Now it is time to tell the story of the Titanium Awards which last week held its inaugural event at Secret Rose Theatre. The Titanium Awards’ mission is to promote and showcase performers living with disabilities. Fortunately, I was able to interview Lisa Jai, creator and producer of Titanium Awards.

What made you create Titanium Awards?

Lisa: The Titanium Awards started out as a platform for performers living with disabilities to showcase their talent. The idea literally struck me one morning. I bounced the idea off an ‘able-bodied’ colleague, not ever expecting to hear the excitement in his voice about something I assumed would be so far from his interest. I was continuously surprised by the enthusiasm to participate from industry professionals when I approached them. Sometimes, I feel the hindrance is more in my head than in my body. You see, I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and have carved out somewhat of a professional career in the performing arts. I have been asked in interviews how I see myself as different or if I have any complaints about the “lack of roles.” I’ve honestly never felt this way because I’ve been so blessed to have had a fruitful career until now. However it struck me that morning, this could be the case for others like myself who’ve in the past been labeled: handicapped, crippled, disabled, Dis-Abled as the precursor to their title – actor. Perhaps then, I’d like to shift the focus to actor as the precursor to labels…of all diversity, not just physical.

Tell us about your acting background.

Lisa: My most recent theatre credit is Birdie in “What of the Night” at the Vagrancy Theater directed by Caitlin Hart. Also, I just did a short film, “Runaway Dream” now in post production where I played the leading role. Some of my past credits include lead voice animation in “The Magic School Bus” (Wanda), “Pillars of Freedom” (Spirit) and Capcom’s “Resident Evil 2” ( Sherry Birkin). And even though my scene ended on the editors floor: Nora Ephron’s directorial debut “This is My Life,” I played Shawn.

Photo credit  Joshua Cobos

Tell us about the show.

Lisa: Adrian Jam was our host. He began his career as a dancer in the United Kingdom. He was in 2 musical productions on London’s WestEnd. He’s been involved in many L.A. theater and tour productions such as Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons” and Jennifer Lopez’s Dance Again World Tour. Our judges included Victoria Cardozo, casting director, Kevin Green, filmmaker, Lola Pindter, counselor and myself.

Who won?

Lisa: First place went to Paul B. Stevens. At 13, Paul was involved in a serious automobile accident which left him with many brain aneurisms and other long-term complications but he didn’t let that stop him from pursuing his passion of acting and music. He was one of Lee Strasberg’s last students. Through college Paul became a regular in the drama department, in which he gave performances in plays ranging from Musical’s to Drama’s. Paul, over the years has done what many actors do, Theater, T.V. and Film. He just completed his original Rock Opera “The Road Not Yet Crossed.” But he still remembers one of his favorite credits- “Mork and Mindy” with Robin Williams.

Runner up was Joan Marlowe. All of her life she has been seriously hearing impaired. Waiting until after her children were grown, she attended the American Academy of Dramatic Art and studied with William Esper and Betty Buckley. She worked on soap operas, commercials and films. She has been a judge on “The Practice,” and has appeared on “Saved By The Bell,” “Mad Men,” “Unusual Suspects,” “America’s Most Wanted,” “Days of our Lives” and “Hollywood Safari.”

Titanium Awards

Anything else you would like to mention?

Lisa: I hope to grow the Titanium Awards into a yearly event in NoHo bringing together Angelenos from all walks of life to break new ground, proving together we are ‘…..stronger than steel.’

Email Titanium Awards with how you’d like to be involved!

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