How to Dance in Ohio (closing show)
Posted by: Ncassidine 05:21 pm EST 02/11/24

(disclosure, our family friend is a producer)

Sweet and moving performance. I saw an early preview, a performance just after opening and this one. A lot of work was done to curb the doctor/daughter sub-plot and focus on the 7 young adults with autism at the center of the story.

There were a TON of autistic people in the audience today, and many of their parents as well. The show has done a very good job reaching out to communities being represented on stage here.

Producer Ben Holtzman gave an interesting curtain speech about the history of the show and its connection to its original director, Hal Prince. Cast member Imani Russell gave a very moving speech on behalf of the autistic actors, both in the main cast and swings.

Whatever you think of the show itself (I really like most of it, especially "Unlikely Animals" which I think is a gorgeous theatre song) it has TRULY moved the needle on accessibility on Broadway. Allowing folks space to make noise and/or cool down as necessary when affected by outside stimulus is something that is genuinely not permitted outside of performances targeted at autistic audiences. One family who we talked to had been to see the show several times, specifically AT those sorts of shows, and were now "graduating" to the general audience. That's real progress, and I think something to celebrate.
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