It's the very beginning! How To Dance in Ohio, Broadway's new neurodivergent coming-of-age musical, began previews at the Belasco Theatre November 15, and Playbill has the curtain call photos to prove it.
Directed by Sammi Cannold, the production is a verifiable cornucopia of Broadway debuts, with Cannold making her long-awaited Main Stem debut alongside the show's writers, composer Jacob Yandura and book writer and lyricist Rebekah Greer Melocik, and much of the cast. How to Dance in Ohio will open on Broadway December 10.
How to Dance in Ohio previously enjoyed a world premiere at Syracuse Stage in 2022. Much of that production's cast, which includes autistic actors in the seven principal roles, are reprising their performances for the Broadway run, including Desmond Edwards as Remy, Amelia Fei as Caroline, Madison Kopec as Marideth, Liam Pearce as Drew, Imani Russell as Mel, Conor Tague as Tommy, and Ashley Wool as Jessica. All seven make their Broadway debuts with the musical. See them take their first Broadway bows below.
Adapted from Alexandra Shiva's 2015 HBO documentary, the show follows the challenges faced by a group of autistic young adults at a counseling center in Ohio. With the support of clinical psychologist Dr. Emilio Amigo, the center arranges a spring formal dance and encourages them as they encounter love, fear, stress, excitement, and hope, along the path to human connection.
The cast also includes Caesar Samayoa (Come From Away) as Dr. Emilio Amigo, Cristina Sastre as Ashley Amigo, Haven Burton (Shrek) as Terry, Darlesia Cearcy (Shuffle Along...) as Johanna, Carlos L Encinias (Les Misérables), Nick Gaswirth (The Great Comet), Melina Kalomas, Martín Solá, Jean Christian Barry (Stranger Sings), Collin Hancock, Hunter Hollingsworth, Marina Jansen, Ayanna Thomas, and Marina Pires.
The creative team from the world premiere run is continuing with the show to the Main Stem, including choreographer Mayte Natalio, music director Lily Ling, scenic designer Robert Brill, costume designer Sarafina Bush, lighting designer Bradley King, and sound designer Connor Wang. Orchestrations are by Bruce Coughlin, and Scott Rowen serves as production stage manager. Casting is by Benton Whitley and Micah Johnson-Levy of Whitley Theatrical. ShowTown Theatricals serves as general manager, and Mary-Mitchell Campbell is a music consultant.
To ensure authentic autistic representation on stage, the production is also working with an accessibility team, including Autistic Creative Consultant Ava Xiao-Lin Rigelhaupt, Director of Community Engagement Becky Leifman, associate producer Jeremy Wein, and script consultant Nicole D'Angelo.
Producers are P3 Production's Ben Holtzman, Sammy Lopez, and Fiona Howe Rudin; and Level Forward. The musical was originally developed with the late Harold Prince and is dedicated to his work on the project.