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John Tartaglia joins producing team of ‘How to Dance in Ohio’

The Tony Award-nominated actor is helping to shepherd the new musical, which is currently in previews at the Belasco Theatre.

John Tartaglia (Credit: Paul Archuleta/Getty Images)

John Tartaglia, a Tony Award-nominated actor of “Avenue Q,” is now among the producing team of “How to Dance in Ohio.” The new musical began previews on Nov. 15 and will officially open on Dec. 10 at the Belasco Theatre.

“I’m so proud to announce that I’ve joined the producing team of ‘How to Dance in Ohio,’ an INCREDIBLE new show on Broadway. You must must go see it. It’s hilarious, moving, powerful, impactful and lifts your spirit high. And the cast is INCREDIBLE!,” Tartaglia wrote on Instagram. “We need more work like this on Broadway. 20 years ago a bunch of people believed in a little show that could called ‘Avenue Q.’ I believe in this wonderful new piece of American theatre! Go check it out!”

Tartaglia, whose professional career began as a puppeteer on “Sesame Street,” earned a 2004 Tony nomination as well as a Theatre World Award for his Broadway-debut turn as Princeton/Rod in “Avenue Q.” In 2006, Tartaglia took over the role of Lumiere in “Beauty and the Beast” and, in 2008, originated the role of Pinocchio in “Shrek The Musical.” As a producer, Tartaglia received a Drama Desk Award nomination and an Off Broadway Alliance Award for 2010’s “ImaginOcean,” for which he also wrote the musical’s book and voiced several characters. Also as a producer and performer, Tartaglia was honored with 2008 and 2009 Daytime Emmy Award nominations for his children’s television series “Johnny and the Sprites” and a 2018 Daytime Emmy nod for voicing the roles of Splash and Mrs. Tidy on the animated program “Splash and Bubbles.”

“How to Dance in Ohio,” which features a book and lyrics by Rebekah Greer Melocik and music by Jacob Yandura, is set at a group counseling center in Columbus, Ohio, where seven autistic young adults are preparing for a spring formal dance — a challenge that breaks open their routines as they experience love, stress, excitement and independence. The Broadway production is directed by Sammi Cannold.

The musical’s principal cast is led by Haven Burton, Darlesia Cearcy, Desmond Edwards, Carlos L. Encinias, Amelia Fei, Nick Gaswirth, Melina Kalomas, Madison Kopec, Liam Pearce, Imani Russell, Caesar Samayoa, Cristina Sastre, Conor Tague and Ashley Wool.

“How to Dance in Ohio” is produced by P3 Productions (Ben Holtzman, Sammy Lopez and Fiona Howe Rudin) with Level Forward.