New musical How to Dance in Ohio has set a Broadway bow at the Belasco Theatre, with performances staring November 15 ahead of a December 10 opening night. Sammi Cannold will make her Broadway directorial debut helming the production.
Also making their Broadway debuts will be the show's writers, composer Jacob Yandura and book writer and lyricist Rebekah Greer Melocik. They've adapted the work from Alexandra Shiva's 2015 HBO documentary, which 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 work played a world premiere run at Syracuse Stage in 2022. Much of that production's cast, which includes autistic actors in the seven principal roles, will reprise their performances for the upcoming 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.
The cast will also include Haven Burton (Shrek) as Terry, Darlesia Cearcy (Shuffle Along...) as Johanna, Carlos L Encinias (Les Misérables), Nick Gaswirth (The Great Comet), Melina Kalomas, and Martín Solá. Additional casting is to be announced.
The cast will perform at Broadway in Bryant Park July 20 at 12:30 PM and at a BroadwayCon First Look event July 21. The latter will be followed by a panel discussion of the show.
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 will be by Bruce Coughlin, and Scott Rowen will serve as production stage manager. Casting is by Benton Whitley and Micah Johnson-Levy of Whitley Theatrical.
To ensure authentic autistic representation on stage, the production will also be 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.