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Mayte Natalio

How to Dance in Ohio

December 12, 2023

Based on an identically titled 2015 HBO documentary by Alexandra Shiva, "How to Dance in Ohio," in its musical form, works best whenever that magnificent seven is completely together onstage and falters mightily if none of them are present. Their characters' bond comes courtesy of Dr. Emilio Amigo (Caesar Samayoa), a psychologist--in both real and theatrical life--who specializes in social therapy for autistic people. To assist them in the closing stage of their adolescent development, Dr. Amigo's creative approach is to hold a spring formal, a traditional rite of passage that, of course, generally produces a lot of anxiety even if you're not neurodivergent. Through the voice of Marideth (Madison Kopec), the newest and most studious member of the group, Rebekah Greer Melocik's high-minded book makes sure to point out this hoary event's gendered baggage, though simply as an annotation rather than as the basis for any intriguing character conflict. [more]