“An exhilarating, groundbreaking, and celebratory musical…
you’ll talk about for the rest of your life.” The Syracuse Post-Standard
THE NEW MUSICAL
HOW TO DANCE IN OHIO
WILL OPEN ON BROADWAY THIS FALL
AT THE BELASCO THEATRE
Inspired by the Peabody Award-Winning HBO Documentary by Alexandra Shiva
Book and Lyrics By Rebekah Greer Melocik
Music By Jacob Yandura
Choreography By Mayte Natalio
Direction By Sammi Cannold
(New York, NY - Thursday, July 20, 2023) Tony Award-winning producing team P3 Productions (Ben Holtzman, Sammy Lopez, Fiona Howe Rudin), with Tony Award-winning entertainment mini-studio Level Forward, announced today that the 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 (111 W. 44th St). With book and lyrics by Rebekah Greer Melocik (she/her), music by Jacob Yandura (he/him), choreography by Mayte Natalio (she/her), and direction by Sammi Cannold (she/her) – 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 (he/they) as Remy, Amelia Fei [Yi-Hsuan Fei] (she/her) as Caroline, Madison Kopec (they/she) as Marideth, Liam Pearce (he/him) as Drew, Imani Russell (they/them) as Mel, Conor Tague (he/him) as Tommy, and Ashley Wool (she/her) as Jessica. Also featured in the cast are Broadway veterans Haven Burton (she/her; Shrek the Musical, Violet) as Terry, Darlesia Cearcy (she/her; Shuffle Along, Once On This Island) as Johanna, Carlos L Encinias (he/him; Les Miserables), Nick Gaswirth (he/him; …The Great Comet of 1812), Melina Kalomas (she/her; Young Frankenstein), and Martín Solá (he/him; 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 (she/her) serves as the production’s Autistic Creative Consultant with Becky Leifman (she/her) 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.