Giving ‘voice’ to those living with chronic illness and disability.
Based on the storytelling and wit of Daniel Malito, the award-winning columnist, blogger, and podcast host who has battled rheumatoid arthritis (RA) since he was a boy, The Disabled List is an episodic web series, a half-hour dramedy about a small media institute and arts center run by and dedicated to giving ‘voice’ to those living with chronic illness and disability.
Leading the creative effort is Gary Brown, an Emmy-award-winning director and writer (Benson, Mommies), and the Emmy-winning writing and production team of Terry Grossman and Kathy Speer (Golden Girls and more recently the Broadway- bound musical Roman Holiday). In addition to Daniel Malito, who will also appear in the show, the collaboration includes D.Z. Stone, a journalist (New York Times, Newsday) and editor who has worked extensively with writers living with chronic illness. The Disabled List is Executive Produced by NewYorkRep.
With help from the Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts, an organization that advocates for inclusion of artists and performers with disabilities in all levels of production in theatre, film, television and related media, and KMR Talent, a leading talent agency with an entire division devoted to actors with diverse disabilities, The Disabled List features an ensemble cast of actors living with chronic illness and disability.
Laurie Ferguson, Ph.D., a psychologist and writer whose practice includes those living with chronic illness and disability, will serve as a consultant to help ensure that storylines are authentic in terms of emotional challenges and messages of positivity.
The Disabled List will to look to partner with advocates for the disabled as well as nonprofits working with the physically, emotionally and mentally disabled. For example, Camphill Village Copake, a real-life community for people with developmental disabilities will be featured in some episodes. The Disabled List is proud to also have the support of advocates such as Christine Schwab, the author, television personality, blogger, RA patient and Arthritis Foundation ambassador.
Gary Brown (Co-Creator, Director, Writer) Gary Brown brings a long and distinguished career in television production to The Disabled List. He has extensive experience in producing, post production, writing, and of course directing.
After winning an Emmy for producing the acclaimed sports anthology series, The Way It Was, Gary took a position at the TV giant Witt Thomas Harris where he worked for many years directing and producing the Emmy award classic Benson. While at WTH he also helmed series such as Its a Living and One Big Family. Throughout his career he has directed shows such as Who’s the Boss, 227, Brothers, What’s Happening Now!, Mommies, Platypus Man, Charles in Charge, The Fanelli Boys, Pacific Station, Mommies and Lost on Earth.
Approached by The Disabled List’s fledgling team about the possibility of a dark comedy that could give voice to those living with disabilities, Gary agreed to lead the creative effort. It has been inspiring for him to meet a whole new community of gifted artists and he looks forward to sharing their talents in making a truly unique production.
Dan Malito (Co-Creator, Producer, Writer) Ever since the age of nine, when Daniel Malito was ripped from the happy childhood life he knew by a then little-known illness called Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, he has been fighting, learning, laughing, and growing. The disease happened to coincide with a move by Daniel’s parents, and as you can imagine, it made life difficult for a boy who was growing up in a brand new town – especially when missing school was a common occurrence. Inevitably, this led to a social life that was, let’s say, less than desirable, and Daniel had to learn how to defend himself without the use of his physically infirmed body. So, he nurtured his brain and his wit, and developed ways to use words as powerfully as some use fists.
Daniel Malito has been writing about his life with rheumatoid arthritis for ten years now, with a successful blog, a noted autobiography, and a plethora of accolades and awards. He even found a woman willing to help him carry his life’s burden, and starting a family is now another accomplishment he can add to the list – and maybe the most daunting one yet! With a skewed but poignant take on the world, the future will certainly hold something great, and if it doesn’t, he’ll do what he always does – make sure everyone is laughing along with him!
D.Z. Stone (Co-Creator, Producer, Writer) D.Z. Stone is a seasoned writer, editor and journalist (The New York Times and Newsday). In 2012 she first encountered Daniel Malito when serving as managing editor for a group of bloggers writing about living with chronic illness and disability. It was the beginning of a beautiful collaboration; Malito’s wit and words would inspire The Disabled List.
Stone’s writing projects include a comprehensive biography of Holocaust survivors Katarina and William Salcer. She also co-wrote 21 Sugar Street, a screenplay adaption of Lynn Lauber’s novels that was a finalist for the Sundance Screenwriting Lab. She is currently completing a screenplay based on her own novel for Burgeon & Flourish, LLC.
Her career began in Ithaca, NY, where she worked as a newscaster and talk show host at WVBR-FM, wrote documentaries for Cornell Media and cover stories for the Grapevine Weekly Magazine. She was an interactive writer for Citibank’s first personal computer banking service, and after 15+ years in corporate and financial writing, returned to journalism in 2005 writing and reporting for The New York Times and Newsday.
A graduate of the College of William and Mary, D.Z. Stone also holds an M.A. in Anthropology from Columbia University.