Syracuse Stage has revealed the full creative team for its upcoming world premiere musical How to Dance in Ohio, which will open the company's season, as previously announced, September 21–October 9. The new musical will be directed by Sammi Cannold and feature choreography by Mayte Natalio.
With music by Jacob Yandura, a book and lyrics by Rebekah Greer Melocik, How to Dance in Ohio is based on the HBO documentary of the same name. The cast will include autistic actors in the seven principal roles. The musical was originally developed with the late Harold Prince and is dedicated to his work on the project.
The production will feature scenic design by Robert Brill, costume design by Sarafina Bush and Michael Ryan Andolsek, lighting design by Bradley King, and sound design by Connor Wang. Lily Ling will music direct, with Matt Gallagher serving as music supervisor. Scott Rowen is production stage manager, and Laura Jane Collins is assistant stage manager. The production is cast by Stewart/Whitley.
New to the cast are Melina Kalomas as Amy, replacing the previously announced Gaelen Gilliland; and understudies Elana Babbitt, Corinne Ferrer, and Zach Simpson and swings Imri Leshed and Nicole Fazia.
They join the previously announced company led by Rent Tony winner Wilson Jermaine Heredia as Dr. Emilio Amigo with Haven Burton (Shrek the Musical) as Teresa, Darlesia Cearcy (Shuffle Along…) as Johanna, Carlos L. Encinias (Les Misérables) as Kurt, Desmond Edwards as Remy, Amelia Fei as Caroline, Nick Gaswirth (Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812) as Michael, Madison Kopec as Marideth, Liam Pearce as Drew, Marina Pires as Ashley Amigo, Imani Russell as Melissa, Conor Tague as Tommy, and Ashley Wool as Jessica.
Based on Shiva’s documentary, produced by HBO in 2015, How to Dance in Ohio 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.
Ava Xiao-Lin Rigelhaupt serves as the production’s ASD (autism spectrum disorder) creative consultant with Becky Leifman as the director of community engagement
Producers are Ben Holtzman, Sammy Lopez, Fiona Howe Rudin, and Syracuse Stage. Jeremy Wein is associate production, and general management is by ShowTown Theatricals. Production counsel is Nevin Law Group.