Ex-Atlantan talks Broadway as ‘How to Dance in Ohio’ prepares to open

Greg Kamp, who was once part of the Atlanta theater scene, is working as a co-producer for a new Broadway musical.
Greg Kamp (center) starred in “Newsies" when it ran in 2018 first at Atlanta's Aurora Theatre and then at the Atlanta Lyric Theatre. Photo: Chris Bartelski

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Greg Kamp (center) starred in “Newsies" when it ran in 2018 first at Atlanta's Aurora Theatre and then at the Atlanta Lyric Theatre. Photo: Chris Bartelski

Avid theater fans may remember actor Greg Kamp, who, among other things, starred as Jack Kelly in Aurora Theatre and Atlanta Lyric Theatre’s “Newsies” in 2018 to glowing reviews, including one from ArtsATL editor-at-large Jim Farmer.

Though his career has taken him away from the South, Kamp’s Atlanta roots were planted years ago, training in places like Atlanta Workshop Players and North Springs High School.

The multi-talented artist’s newest endeavor will bring his expertise to Broadway, as he co-produces the new musical “How to Dance in Ohio.” Based on an award-winning HBO documentary of the same name, it depicts a group counseling center in which seven autistic young adults face fear and excitement as they prepare for their first spring formal.

The musical, with previews starting Nov. 15 and then officially opening Dec. 10 in New York, marks the Broadway debuts for much of its creative and producing team besides Kamp. Alongside these newcomers, Broadway’s most awarded director-producer Harold “Hal” Prince was on board to direct the show prior to his death in 2019.

Credit: Courtesy of Greg Kamp

Credit: Courtesy of Greg Kamp

So what is it like seeing this new musical take shape? Kamp sat down with ArtsATL to share more about the emotion behind the process.

Q: How did you become involved with “How to Dance in Ohio”?

A: I actually first started hearing about “How to Dance in Ohio” back in its inception, maybe seven or eight years ago. One of my dear, dear friends, Jacob Yandura, is the composer of the musical. It was his idea, along with his writing partner, Rebekah Greer Melocik, to turn this HBO documentary into a musical.

I remember hearing early versions of the outline and demo recordings, and I remember being at Jacob’s apartment when he got the news that he was actually going to be having a meeting with the legendary Hal Prince. I vividly remember how thrilling that was, as a friend, that he was getting the opportunity to meet and then eventually work with Hal.

I knew “How to Dance in Ohio” was special from the get-go and throughout the years have continued to cheerlead for it. When the opportunity came to join the team as a co-producer, it was an absolute no-brainer.

Q: What has been your favorite part of the experience so far?

A: Before (the pre-Broadway run in) Syracuse, they did what’s called a “workshop” of the show in New York, in a rehearsal room. They invited a small group of people to come in and see a presentation of the show staged without scenery or costumes or anything like that.

It was the first time in the process that I had seen the show on its feet, and I just remember thinking that this must have been what it was like to have experienced something like “Rent” for the first time. It was just so moving and so honest and so necessary. It was this magical thing that nobody else knew about except the people who were in this room. (I thought) how privileged we were to see the birth of this new show. That was a really thrilling moment.

Credit: Courtesy of Greg Kamp

Credit: Courtesy of Greg Kamp

Q: How did the Hal Prince connection come about?

A: He was the mentor of another friend of mine, Ben Holtzman, who is the lead producer of “How to Dance in Ohio.” Ben is the one who connected Hal with Jacob and Rebekah, and they hit it off. “How to Dance in Ohio” was actually the last project that Hal Prince was working on when he passed away a couple years ago, sadly. And so this whole show has felt supported with great spirit. Since Hal’s passing, Ben Holtzman and the team at P3 Productions have assembled an amazing (producing) team of really young up-and-coming creatives to finish shepherding this show to Broadway.

Q: Can you expand what the term “Broadway producer” encompasses?

A: There’s the “lead producer” of a Broadway show who, in essence, is the CEO of a company. They’re the ones who really run the ship. And then there are co-producers, which are sort of like the board members, so to speak. (They) are really there to help support the lead producers in their mission to help sell the show, build an audience and get our messaging across.

Q: What has co-producing entailed for you personally?

A: I’ve partnered with my friend, Paul Canaan, and we joined the army of co-producers over the summer. We’re tasked with helping to bring investors on board, come up with some strategy around marketing — and really, it’s about being the biggest cheerleader possible for (the show).

Q: What is it like having a new musical opening in a Broadway season packed with star power like Daniel Radcliffe and blockbuster movie adaptations like “Back to the Future”?

A: It’s a really busy season on Broadway for new musicals, which is thrilling. But with that said, I really think that “How to Dance in Ohio” is in its own lane and is going to speak to a universal experience that people will recognize.

It doesn’t star Daniel Radcliffe, but what it does have is undeniable heart and universal truth. And there’s a very “special spirit and intentionality to this piece that I think is really unique and needed. I can’t wait for people to experience the show. I think it’s so necessary. And it’s feel-good. It’ll leave you laughing and crying and all of the emotions.

Q: What has being involved with this show meant to you?

A: Honestly, it just feels like the greatest privilege ever. I’m beyond thrilled for my friend Jacob and my friends Ben and Sammy (Lopez), who are the lead producers on it. It’s their first time as lead producers on a Broadway show. I’m beyond thrilled to be part of a show that I believe in so much. It is one of the most beautiful, original and necessary pieces of theater that I’ve ever encountered.

Credit: ArtsATL

Credit: ArtsATL


ArtsATL (www.artsatl.org), is a nonprofit organization that plays a critical role in educating and informing audiences about metro Atlanta’s arts and culture. Founded in 2009, ArtsATL’s goal is to help build a sustainable arts community contributing to the economic and cultural health of the city.If you have any questions about this partnership or others, please contact Senior Manager of Partnerships Nicole Williams at nicole.williams@ajc.com.

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