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Sunday, January 14, 2024

Autism in Entertainment

 In The Politics of Autism, I discuss depictions of ASD in popular culture.  There is a need for authentic casting. 

At CBS, David Pogue reports on the musical "How to Dance in Ohio."
"All of us who work on the show get messages from autistic individuals saying, 'I've seen myself represented onstage.' That's what we do it for," said Sammi Cannold, the show's director. She was not, however, its first one. That was the legendary Hal Prince, director of shows like "Phantom of the Opera," "Evita," "Cabaret," and many Sondheim musicals. He sadly passed away in 2019.

"Hal's granddaughter is autistic; my brother is autistic," said Cannold. "For him the show was very personal; for me the show is very personal."

But "How to Dance in Ohio" isn't just about autistic people. All of the autistic characters are played by autistic actors.

 Cannold said feedback she got from people saying, "I don't think you're gonna find the actors that you're looking for," implying that there aren't enough Broadway-caliber actors with autism. But, she said, "We could've cast the show three times over."

 There are also autistic filmmakers.