World Premiere of Musical How to Dance in Ohio Begins Performance on Syracuse Stage September 21

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world premiere musical How to Dance in Ohio Starts racing at the Syracuse Stage on September 21

The neurodiverse play is directed by Sammi Cannold and stars Rent Tony Wilson winner Jermaine Heredia.

Company of How to Dance in Ohio
brenna merritt

The world premiere of How to Dance in Ohio opens the season on the Syracuse Stage starting September 21, with Sammi Cannold in the lead. Opening night is September 23.

With music by Jacob Yandura, libretto and lyrics by Rebekah Greer Melocik, How to Dance in Ohio is based on the 2015 documentary by Alexandra Shiva, produced by HBO, 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 hosts a spring formal dance and encourages them to find love, fear, stress, excitement, and hope on the path to human connection.

Get a first listen to a song from Neurodiverse’s new musical How to Dance in Ohio

The cast, which includes autistic actors in all seven lead roles, includes Desmond Edwards, Amelia Fei, Madison Kopec, Liam Pearce, Imani Russell, Conor Tague and Ashley Wool, along with Rent Tony Wilson winner Jermaine Heredia, Haven Burton (Shrek the Musical), Darlesia Cearcy (Shuffle Along…), Carlos L. Encinias (The Miserables), Nick Gaswirth (Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812), Melina Kalomas and Marina Pires. Rounding out the company as alternates are Elana Babbitt, Corinne Ferrer and Zach Simpson; and Imri Leshed and Nicole Fazia swings.

The musical was originally developed with the late Harold Prince and is dedicated to his work on the project.

The production features choreography by Matye Natalio, scenic design by Robert Brill, costume design by Sarafina Bush, lighting design by Bradley King, and sound design by Connor Wang. Music is directed by Lily Ling, with music supervisor by Matt Gallagher. Scott Rowen is the production stage manager and Laura Jane Collins is the assistant stage manager. Production is handled by Stewart/Whitley. Ava Xiao-Lin Rigelhaupt serves as the production’s ASD creative consultant with Becky Leifman serving as director of community engagement.

Producers are Ben Holtzman, Sammy Lopez, Fiona Howe Rudin and Syracuse Stage. Jeremy Wein is Associate Producer and General Management is handled by ShowTown Theatricals. The producing attorney is Nevin Law Group.


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