The Light in the Piazza Star Aaron Lazar Announces ALS Diagnosis | Playbill

On the Rialto The Light in the Piazza Star Aaron Lazar Announces ALS Diagnosis

A Broadway mainstay for over two decades, Lazar recently discussed his diagnosis on Matthew Teague Miller's Carefully Taught podcast.

Aaron Lazar

Broadway actor Aaron Lazar announced that he has been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, the condition is neurodegenerative, affecting the brain and the spinal cord.

Lazar discussed the diagnosis on Matthew Teague Miller's Carefully Taught podcast, on the heels of the Golden West Chapter of the ALS Association honoring the actor with the Essey Spotlight Award for his commitment to raising ALS awareness around the globe.

Said Lazar, "I was diagnosed almost two years ago with ALS. It's a terminal disease that kills your nerves and takes your freedom before it takes your life. I've been dealing with the symptoms of that for even longer; it took took about eight months of the terror of symptoms, muscle twitches and some muscle weakness and muscle atrophy, to start to understand what the hell was going on."

"I'm now at a place where I see it as a divine opportunity disguised as an impossible situation.
Doctors and medicine don't know what causes non genetic ALS. There's literally no reason for its development, if there's no gene associated with it. So I've just been on a journey to try and understand how I got it, and how I can fix myself... I don't believe it's terminal. I believe I'm going to beat it."

Lazar, who has been a Broadway mainstay for two decades, made his debut as an understudy for the role of Raoul in The Phantom of the Opera, subsequently appearing as Sam Carmichael in Mamma Mia!, both Joe and Curly in the 2002 revival of Oklahoma!, Fabrizio Naccarelli in The Light in the Piazza, Enjolras in the 2006 revival of Les Misérables, Charles Darnay in A Tale of Two Cities, Ben Joplin in Impressionism, Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm in the 2009 revival of A Little Night Music, and Arthur Millburn in The Last Ship.

In recent years, Lazar has also become a respected figure on numerous regional stages, performing in Bridges of Madison Country opposite Kate Baldwin, Fun Home opposite Christiane Noll, and in the starry Los Angeles revival of The Secret Garden, opposite Sierra Boggess.

Lazar has adopted "The Impossible Dream" from Man of La Mancha as his mantra through this diagnosis. He is currently developing a TEDTalk that interweaves the lyrics of the song and the journey of his life, with hopes of inspiring others to push through seemingly impossible odds.

To hear Lazar perform "The Impossible Dream," visit

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