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The Companion to THE CHANCE TO FLY:


Stacy Davidowitz + Ali Stroker
Cut Loose Final Cover.jpg

The showstopping sequel to The Chance to Fly, which New York Times bestselling author Chris Colfer called "unique, inspirational, and full of heart."


It’s the beginning of eighth grade, and Nat Beacon is nervous. Not only will she be the New Kid, but the New Kid in a Wheelchair. And the school year starts off rocky: No one seems friendly, and she can’t get to the cafeteria without help. But there are a few bright spots. Namely, her best friend, Hudson, her boyfriend (swoon!), Malik, and her very favorite thing: theater. This year, there’s a middle-school theater competition, and any production that wins their regional competition will get the chance to perform—on a real Broadway stage!

Nat couldn’t be more excited. This is her chance to make it big and prove she belongs at her new school! Nat wows the director and gets cast in the school production: Footloose! But rehearsals are super stressful. Dance diva, Skye, wants more complex choreography, Malik keeps flaking for band practice, and Hudson gives Nat the cold shoulder, leaving Nat confused and alone. Nat starts to wonder whether she can really carry the show to Broadway and whether, without her friends, it’s worth doing theater at all.

Full of heart, friendship, and so much song, Cut Loose! by Tony Award winner Ali Stroker and Stacy Davidowitz is an uplifting story about embracing your strengths, standing out, and standing up for what you believe in.

*The Week Junior Book Club Pick of the Month, and featured on

The Today Show, PIX 11, New York Live, The Stacks Podcast, in The New York Times, US Weekly, Scholastic Kids Press, and at The Museum of Broadway.*


"A story both fine and also uplifting—in both senses of the word, moral and physical!"

GREGORY MAGUIRE, New York Times bestselling author of Wicked

“Every theater kid in the world will instantly fall in love with Nat Beacon and relate to her story of perseverance. The Chance To Fly is as unique, inspirational, and full of heart as Ali Stroker is herself. She and Stacy Davidowitz will make readers laugh, cry, and teach them the true meaning of defying gravity.”

CHRIS COLFER, New York Times bestselling author and Golden Globe winning actor


“The perfect read for any dream chaser . . . You’ll realize how unlimited your possibilities are.”

KRISTIN CHENOWETH, Tony and Emmy Award winning actress and singer

“I only wish that The Chance to Fly was written when I was a teenager. Ali Stroker is a powerful role model for all youth and adults alike . . . We are living in changing times where audiences are clamoring for greater diversity. A Tony Award winner whose voice soars, whose energy brings us all to cheer is an example of what is possible.”

JUDITH HEUMANN, International Disability Rights Activist, author of Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Me

“Anyone who loves to dream and has a love for theater will greatly appreciate The Chance to Fly. This book reminds everyone that it is a beautiful thing to be different and to be passionate about doing what you love.”

SOPHIA GENNUSA, Tony Honored actress for her title role in Matilda

"Bolstered by realistic dialogue and Nat’s engaging internal narrative, this endearing novel will entrance a new generation of theater lovers and charm older ones with its allusions to beloved shows.”


"The authors know their stuff—Tony Award–winner Stroker was the first wheelchair user to be cast in a Broadway play, and Davidowitz is a playwright—and it shows. Fun, honest, and uplifting: applause!"

KIRKUS REVIEWS, The Chance to Fly 

"Stroker and Davidowitz poignantly and perceptively explore external and internalized ableism; in particular, Nat’s initially awkward reaction to a nonspeaking student is uncomfortably realistic. But the infectious enthusiasm for theater never wanes, and a stirring conclusion leaves readers on a high note. A rousing celebration of friendship, self-expression, and self-advocacy."


"Seeing the obstacles Nat faces daily and watching her learn to advocate for herself may inspire readers to do the same. Serious scenes, like Nat's crush Malik discussing his experience as the only Black student in school, and learning why Nat uses a wheelchair are poignant, as is Nat's evolving relationship with her parents... Young disabled performers will be excited to see representation, and all readers will be rooting for Nat."


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The Chance to Fly
Uptown Kid Lit 2023: Sisterhoods, Elders, & Friends Forever in Middle-Grade Novels

Uptown Kid Lit 2023: Sisterhoods, Elders, & Friends Forever in Middle-Grade Novels

Uptown Lit Lit 2023: Sisterhoods, Elders, & Friends Forever in Middle-Grade Novels with Stacy Davidowitz, Alexandra V. Méndez, & Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich, moderated by Veronica Santiago Liu Like it or not, families and friends shape us: who we are, who we want to be, and who we don't want to be. From blended families and elder magic to raucous cabin mates, hear from three middle-grade authors - Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich, Alexandra V. Méndez, and Stacy Davidowitz - navigating these relationships through fiction. Stacy Davidowitz is an acclaimed author and playwright. Her novel The Chance to Fly, coauthored by Ali Stroker, was named a best children's book of the year by Amazon, Chicago Public Library, Parents, and Bank Street College of Education. Its sequel, Cut Loose!, releases October 24, 2023. Stacy is also the author of the Camp Rolling Hills series, the Hanazuki chapter-book series, and award-winning plays that have been produced regionally and internationally. Stacy lives in Washington Heights with her husband and twin boys, and is a proud Uptown Stories teacher. Follow her on Instagram at @stacydavidowitzbooks and learn more at Alexandra V. Méndez is a writer, teacher, and scholar who grew up bilingual in Decatur, Georgia, with family roots in Mexico and Mississippi. Her debut novel "What the Jaguar Told Her" was included in Kirkus’s list of the “Best Middle-Grade Fiction of 2022,” and the Southern Review of Books named it among “The Best Southern Books of October 2022.” She graduated from Harvard University in History and Literature and has a Ph.D. in Latin American and Iberian Cultures from Columbia University. She teaches at Barnard College and is a writing mentor with the nonprofit Girls Write Now. The Spanish edition of What the Jaguar Told Her is forthcoming in November 2023. Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich is the award-winning author of several children’s books, including Makeda Makes a Birthday Treat; Operation Sisterhood; It Doesn’t Take A Genius, a Kirkus Best Book of the Year; 8th Grade Superzero; Two Naomis, co-authored with Audrey Vernick, which was nominated for an NAACP Image Award; Saving Earth: Climate Change and the Fight For Our Future, a Junior Library Guild Selection; Someday Is Now: Clara Luper and the 1958 Oklahoma City Sit-Ins; Mae Makes A Way: The True Story of Mae Reeves, Hat and History Maker; and, with Anthony Ray Hinton and Lara Love Hardin, The Sun Does Shine: An Innocent Man, A Wrongful Conviction, and the Long Path to Justice (Young Readers Edition), which was a School Library Journal and Chicago Public Library Best Book of the Year. Word Up first launched Uptown Kid Lit in 2019 as a one-day festival for the Uptown community. After two years of virtual/hybrid programming in 2020 and 2021, UKL returned in person in 2022—with a focus on comics. Each year has gathered a unique and vibrant group of authors, illustrators, educators, publishers, editors, craftspeople, artists, and community organizations—all to support and celebrate our neighborhood’s youngest readers and families. In 2023, Uptown Kid Lit returned for its third year. Due to rain, the event was held inside Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Inwood, NYC. Uptown Kid Lit is organized by Word Up Community Bookshop and is made possible, in part, with funds from UMEZ Arts Engagement, a regrant program supported by the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone (UMEZ), and administered by LMCC. Uptown Kid Lit is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. Word Up Community Bookshop’s programs are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.
Ali Stroker & Stacy Davidowitz's "The Chance To Fly" | Word Up

Ali Stroker & Stacy Davidowitz's "The Chance To Fly" | Word Up

Purchase book here Ali Stroker broke ground as the first person in a wheelchair to act on Broadway and win a Tony Award. Join Ali and author Stacy Davidowitz as they discuss and take questions about disability representation in the arts, their childhood theater experiences, and why their middle-grade novel The Chance to Fly is so important for readers now. ABOUT THE CHANCE TO FLY Thirteen-year-old Nat Beacon loves a lot of things: her dog Warbucks, her best friend Chloe, and competing on her wheelchair racing team, the Zoomers, to name a few. But there’s one thing she’s absolutely OBSESSED with: MUSICALS! From Hamilton to Les Mis, there’s not a cast album she hasn’t memorized and belted along to. She’s never actually been in a musical though, or even seen an actor who uses a wheelchair for mobility on stage. Would someone like Nat ever get cast? But when Nat’s family moves from California to New Jersey, Nat stumbles upon auditions for a kids’ production of Wicked, one of her favorite musicals ever! And she gets into the ensemble! The other cast members are super cool and inclusive (well, most of them)— especially Malik, the male lead and cutest boy Nat’s ever seen. But when things go awry a week before opening night, will Nat be able to cast her fears and insecurities aside and “Defy Gravity” in every sense of the song title? ABOUT THE AUTHORS Ali Stroker made history as the first person in a wheelchair to appear on Broadway and win a Tony Award. She made her Broadway debut in the revival of Spring Awakening and then played Ado Annie in the revival of Oklahoma! Ali graduated from NYU Tisch School of the Arts and has starred and recurred in numerous television shows including “Glee.” Her work as a humanitarian includes speaking and performing around the world helping people with and without disabilities through her message of “Making your Limitations into Opportunities.” This is her debut novel. Stacy Davidowitz is the author of the Camp Rolling Hills series and coauthor of Camp Rolling Hills the Musical, which continues to have productions across the country. She is also the author of the Hanazuki chapter-book series based on Hasbro’s YouTube series. Stacy has written award-winning plays that have been produced regionally and internationally. When she is not writing, she teaches creative writing and musical theater in schools, foster care facilities, and juvenile detention centers. She is a graduate of Tufts University and Columbia University, where she earned degrees in drama and acting. Stacy lives in Manhattan with her husband and twin boys.
Ali Stroker Is Changing the Narrative About Living with Disabilities One Role At a Time
A Spotify playlist with EVERY song referenced in the book:
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