by Ben Togut
A colorful cast of characters celebrates the struggles and triumphs of young adults on the autism spectrum in How to Dance in Ohio, which opened at the Belasco Theatre on December 10th. Based on the HBO documentary of the same name, the musical follows seven young people as they get ready for their spring formal, highlighting how living with autism complicates their yearning for community and human connection.
One of the musical’s great joys is its ensemble cast. Through their heartfelt performances and onstage chemistry, the cast of How to Dance in Ohio acts as a tight-knit family with a genuine commitment to the musical’s emotional heft. Standout performances include Liam Pearce, who conveys Drew’s adolescent angst through his commanding stage presence and soaring vocals, and Amelia Fei, who comes alive onstage as Caroline, navigating the challenges of finding oneself and seeking connection with both exuberance and anxiety.
A musical guaranteed to pull on your heartstrings, How to Dance in Ohio illustrates the power of community to help us overcome the challenges in our way, and to not only succeed but thrive.