How to Dance in Ohio finishes its run on Broadway February 11. The new neurodivergent coming-of-age musical opened at the Belasco Theatre December 10 after beginning previews November 15. At closing, the musical will have played 27 previews and 72 regular performances.
The production was a major milestone for neurodivergent representation on Broadway, with seven openly autistic actors playing the show's seven autistic characters, as echoed in the show's mantra: "nothing about us without us."
The show released its cast album January 19.
"Developing new work is always a risk, but producing this show was an endeavor we eagerly accepted,” said the show’s producers in a previous statement. “We're incredibly proud that this original, joyful, and life-affirming musical has deeply moved countless audience members at the Belasco Theatre and beyond. Broadway has been changed forever because of How to Dance in Ohio and all the artists involved. We look forward to seeing its legacy continue in new and exciting ways."
Directed by Sammi Cannold, the production was 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.
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.
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, reprised 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 made their Broadway debuts with the musical.
The Broadway cast also included 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 continued 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 also worked with an accessibility team, including Autistic Creative Consultant Ava Xiao-Lin Rigelhaupt, Director of Community Engagement Becky Leifman, associate producer Jeremy Wein, production assistant Liz Weber, and script consultant Nicole D'Angelo.
Producers were 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.