Video: HOW TO DANCE IN OHIO Gears Up For Its NYC Run At Broadway In Bryant Park

HOW TO DANCE IN OHIO will open on Broadway this fall at the Belasco Theatre.

By: Jul. 22, 2023
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New musical How to Dance in Ohio, inspired by Alexandra Shiva’s Peabody Award-winning documentary of the same name, will open on Broadway this fall at the Belasco Theatre. As they gear up for their Broadway run, some of the show's cast members stopped by Broadway in Bryant Park to give NYC a preview of this heartwarming new musical. See the video!

With book and lyrics by Rebekah Greer Melocik, music by Jacob Yandura, choreography by Mayte Natalio, and direction by Sammi Cannold – all making their Broadway debuts - How to Dance in Ohio will begin previews on November 15, 2023, and open on December 10, 2023.

Reprising their roles from the world premiere engagement at Syracuse Stage, the cast was heralded by The Syracuse Post Standard which said, “both reflecting and respecting neurodivergence, with every single actor onstage delivering a distinguished, joyous, jaw-dropping performance.” In the parts of the real-life autistic young adults featured in the HBO documentary, are a cast of seven autistic actors, all making their Broadway debuts: Desmond Edwards as Remy, Amelia Fei [Yi-Hsuan Fei] as Caroline, Madison Kopec as Marideth, Liam Pearce as Drew, Imani Russell as Mel, Conor Tague as Tommy, and Ashley Wool as Jessica. Also featured in the cast are Broadway veterans Haven Burton (Shrek the Musical, Violet) as Terry, Darlesia Cearcy (Shuffle Along, Once On This Island) as Johanna, Carlos L Encinias (Les Miserables), Nick Gaswirth (…The Great Comet of 1812), Melina Kalomas (Young Frankenstein), and Martín Solá (On Your Feet!) Additional cast will be announced shortly.

Based on the award-winning HBO documentary, How to Dance in Ohio is a heartfelt new musical about the desire to connect and the courage it takes to put yourself out into the world. At a group counseling center in Columbus, Ohio, seven autistic young adults prepare for a spring formal dance—a challenge that breaks open their routines as they experience love, stress, excitement, and independence. How to Dance in Ohio is a story about people on the cusp of the next phase of their lives, facing down hopes and fears, ready to take a momentous first step…and dance.

The full creative team includes Tony Award nominated scenic designer Robert Brill (Ain’t Too Proud, Thoughts of a Colored Man), Tony Award nominated costume designer Sarafina Bush (For Colored Girls…), two–time Tony Award winning lighting designer Bradley King (Hadestown; Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812) and sound designer Connor Wang (The Cher Show – assist). Orchestrations are by Tony Award winner Bruce Coughlin (The Light in the Piazza), music direction is by Lily Ling (Hamilton tours) and Scott Rowen (Hamilton) is the production stage manager. The production is cast by Benton Whitley, CSA & Micah Johnson-Levy of Whitley Theatrical. General management is by ShowTown Theatricals. Production counsel is Doug Nevin/ Klaris Law and the Production Manager is Bethany Stewert (What the Constitution Means to Me).

Through a dedication to authentic autistic representation, the musical’s creators adhere closely to the documentary’s narrative and spirit, offering a visible platform for autistic actors in a way that has never happened before in a new musical, either on or off the stage. Ava Xiao-Lin Rigelhaupt serves as the production’s Autistic Creative Consultant with Becky Leifman as the Director of Community Engagement. The Accessibility Team also includes Jeremy Wein (Associate Producer) and Nicole D'Angelo (Script Consultant).

How to Dance in Ohio played its World Premiere engagement at Syracuse Stage in the fall of 2022 with The Syracuse Post-Standard declaring it “an exhilarating, groundbreaking, celebratory musical. You’ll walk out of the theater wiping your eyes. You’ll pause in the lobby to catch your breath, clear your head, and see if anyone else is as giddy as you are. How to Dance in Ohio is the musical you’ll talk about for the rest of your life.”. The News House calls the show “joyful and uplifting …celebrating the trials and tribulations of human connection,” and The Ithaca Times says, “tender, funny, and charming in the best sense, How To Dance In Ohio offers a fresh and inspiring look at the musical genre.”

The musical was originally developed with the legendary Broadway director Harold Prince and is dedicated to his instrumental work on the project.

Tickets for How to Dance in Ohio will go on sale in August.  Cast members are set to perform at the free, outdoor concert Broadway in Bryant Park today, July 20 at 12:30PM ET and they will perform at BroadwayCon’s First Look event tomorrow, Friday, July 21, followed by a discussion about the show during a BroadwayCon Panel at The Marriott Marquis in New York City.