The 2012-13 arts season brings national attention and local favorites to Columbus
Columbus is gaining national attention this fall and—surprisingly—it’s because of an art show, not the presidential election. While the Wexner Center for the Arts is drawing accolades for its Annie Leibovitz exhibition, other arts organizations in town are pulling their weight as well, making sure Central Ohio residents have enough choices to fill their calendar, no matter their taste.
The month of October alone is filled with everything from the comedy of Larry the Cable Guy and the country crooning of Brad Paisley to a pairing of Opera Columbus and Shadowbox Live, who together present the opera “La Bohème.”
The classical side of Columbus has plenty to offer, too, from “The Rite of Spring” to world premieres of works commissioned by ProMusica Chamber Orchestra. CAPA and Broadway in Columbus have made sure to pack in the happenings, including a presentation of the Tony Award-winning “War Horse.”
So let that national light shine on Columbus. The arts scene is alive and thriving in the Capital City.
There probably isn’t an adult on Earth who hasn’t seen one of her photos, whether it was the pregnant Demi Moore on the cover of Vanity Fair, or an iconic picture of the Blues Brothers. The Wexner Center for the Arts presents Annie Leibovitz, a collection of more than 200 photographs by the renowned photographer, in an exhibition that will consume the entire gallery space through Dec. 30.
The Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens also hopes to hit another one out of the park this arts season with a large installation of the unique artwork of New York-based artist Aurora Robson. “Sacrifice + Bliss: Aurora Robson”—on view now through April 28 at the conservatory—will feature nine large-scale sculptures created from recyclable materials including discarded plastic, junk mail and excess packaging.
If you know all the words to “All that Jazz” or “Mr. Cellophane,” then you might want to let Shadowbox Live “Razzle Dazzle” you with its performance of “Chicago the Musical,” on stage now through Nov. 11.
The Columbus Museum of Art celebrates the Columbus bicentennial with a pair of exhibits on view through Spring 2013 that honor the city’s history as well as two of the city’s most well-known artists. “Songs for the New Millennium, 1812-2012” includes works by Aminah Robinson created specifically to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the city. “The Essential Elijah Pierce” includes woodcarvings from the museum’s large collection of Pierce artwork. Pierce, who moved to Columbus in 1923, opened a barbershop where he continued to practice two other loves: preaching and woodcarving. The museum owns the largest collection of woodcarvings by the American folk artist.
The Columbus Symphony kicks off its season with a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth on Oct. 5 at the Ohio Theatre. Music Director Jean-Marie Zeitouni, will conduct the full symphony, accompanied by four solo singers and the Columbus Symphony Chorus performing in the uplifting symphony, which concludes with “Ode to Joy.”
At the other end of the performing spectrum, Larry the Cable Guy will git-r-done and entertain the audience with his brand of comedy at the Schottenstein Center on Oct. 5.
Columbus audiences love him, and that’s why Brad Paisley is back with a performance also on Oct. 5 at Nationwide Arena. The Band Perry and Scotty McCreery will open for Paisley, the Country Music Association’s reigning entertainer of the year.
Broadway in Columbus invites Columbus audiences to “Be Our Guest” as it kicks off its season with a musical sure to fill the seats with families. “Beauty and the Beast,” the Disney musical based on the 1991 movie by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, returns to Columbus with an Oct. 9 to 14 run at the Palace Theatre.
In a unique pairing, Opera Columbus teams up with Shadowbox Live for an Opera Cabaret presentation of Puccini’s “La Bohème.” With a new libretto commissioned just for this production, which will be directed by Shadowbox’s Stev Guyer, this version will feature young artists performing an abridged version with an English translation. The opera will be performed Oct. 14 to Nov. 18 at Shadowbox Live’s Backstage Bistro.
ProMusica Chamber Orchestra will kick off its season with Opening Night, a concert featuring guitar duo the Assad Brothers, the father and uncle of composer Clarice Assad. The duo will premiere a work by Clarice Assad commissioned by ProMusica for this season. “Album de Familia” is on the program along with Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring,” in the Oct. 14 concert at the Southern Theatre.
“Spring Awakening” is a tale of teenagers coming of age in 19th century Germany. From Oct. 25 to 27 and Nov. 1
to 3 at the Campus Center Theatre, Otterbein University’s Department of Theatre & Dance will present the musical, which won eight Tony Awards in 2007, including Best Musical.
Just in time for Halloween comes BalletMet’s presentation of “Dracula,” inspired by the Bram Stoker novel. The performance runs Oct. 26 to Nov. 3 at the Riffe Center’s Capitol Theatre.
Theater in a pub setting isn’t usually what the Wexner Center stages, but that’s exactly the case when the National Theatre of Scotland comes to town. “The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart,” a Wexner presentation, will be performed Oct. 31 to Nov. 2 at the CD101 Big Room. In this show, actors and musicians mill about the room and through the crowd in the Big Room, all while telling the story of Prudencia Hart, a prim scholar who heads off to a conference in a small town only to find herself on a journey she didn’t intend.
The performance by Elina Vähälä in Sibelius’s “Violin Concerto” was hailed in Classical Source as a “continuous stream of virtuosity.” This Finnish violinist will perform Nov. 2 and 3 in the Ohio Theatre with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra—under the direction of guest conductor Tito Munoz—in a Masterworks performance featuring Rachmaninoff’s “Symphony No. 2 in E Minor” and a piece written by another native of Finland, Jean Sibelius. Vähälä will be featured in Sibelius’s “Concerto in D Minor for Violin and Orchestra,” which had its premiere in 1904 in Helsinki in Vähälä’s homeland.
Don’t stop believin’ in the power of Journey, one of America’s beloved rock bands, to draw an audience. The group will perform in Columbus on Nov. 7 at Nationwide Arena. Pat Benatar and Loverboy will open for the band that has earned 19 Top 40 singles and 25 Gold and Platinum albums.
Singer-songwriter Aimee Mann will perform with special guest Ted Leo on Nov. 8 at the Capitol Theatre as part of CAPA’s upcoming season. Mann, who just released her new album“Charmer,” is also writing a musical based on “The Forgotten Arm,” her Grammy-winning album. In reviewing her newest release, Vintage Vinyl News says Mann is “gifted with a lazy American drawl” and also has “a gift for cutting and acute observation.”
If their sound is impressive from a seat inside Ohio Stadium, imagine what TBDBITL must sound like from a seat in an auditorium. The Ohio State University Marching Band will perform in concert on Nov. 11 at Veterans Memorial.
ProMusica Chamber Orchestra will introduce violinist Vadim Gluzman, the orchestra’s newly appointed creative partner and principal guest artist, in this concert performance featuring the works of Mozart on Nov. 10 and 11 at the Southern Theatre. The program also will feature Italian pianist Alessio Bax.
The Annie Leibovitz exhibition is the perfect opportunity for the Wexner Center for the Arts to bring back another production by The Builders Association. “Sontag: Reborn,” Nov. 15 to 17 at the Wexner Center Performance Space, looks at the formative years of Susan Sontag, world-renowned author, activist and companion of Leibovitz. The production uses video and sound to tell the story of Sontag’s development as a writer and a woman.
When the poinsettias and twinkling lights start coming out at the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, the holidays can’t be too far behind. “Merry & Bright,” the annual holiday celebration at the conservatory, runs Nov. 17 to Jan. 6, 2013. In addition, the exhibit includes a fairytale-themed garden railroad and display of gingerbread houses.
Part of CAPA’s Family Series is a tradition many Central Ohio families have enjoyed for more than 30 years. The Nebraska Theatre Caravan returns to present Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” The national tour will stop at the Palace Theatre for its annual Thanksgiving weekend performances, Nov. 23 to 25.
Most people have an old friend they’ve known seemingly forever. That type of relationship is at the heart of “The Story of My Life,” presented by CATCO, Nov. 28 to Dec. 16 in the Riffe Center’s Studio Two Theatre. The musical, directed by CATCO’s Artistic Director Steven Anderson, was written by Brian Hill with music and lyrics by Neil Bartram. The story about two friends, Thomas, a writer, and Alvin, who dies young, starts with Thomas trying to compose Alvin’s obituary. Through flashbacks, Thomas combs their history to examine the things that they loved in common—books, writing and “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
When one blends Broadway with jazz and holiday tunes, the outcome is a yuletide sound the Columbus Jazz Orchestra hopes pleases. The orchestra’s Swingin’ with the CJO series will perform with Broadway star Marva Hicks under the direction of Artistic Director Byron Stripling from Nov. 29 through Dec. 2 at the Southern Theatre in the CJO’s “Home for the Holidays” concert.
The Gaither Homecoming Tour will make a stop on Nov. 30 at the Schottenstein Center to ring in the holiday season with gospel music. The Gaither Vocal Band will perform, along with a lineup including the Booth Brothers, the Martins, Greg Ritchie and Charlotte Ritchie.
It’s beginning to look—and sound—like it’s time for the traditional Holiday Pops concerts, which this year take place Nov. 30 to Dec. 2 at the Ohio Theatre. The joint venture features Ronald J. Jenkins conducting the Columbus Symphony, which is joined onstage this year by the Columbus Symphony Chorus, the Columbus Children’s Choir and BalletMet, performing familiar and treasured holiday tunes.
The holiday theme continues with Wynonna’s Rockin’ Christmas Tour, which stops in Newark on Dec. 6
for a performance at the Midland Theatre. Wynonna and her band, The Big Noise, will perform Christmas classics, holiday favorites and some of her big hits in this concert.
If the street sign has been changed to Nutcracker Boulevard, then the actual show isn’t far away. BalletMet’s presentation of “The Nutcracker” has become a tradition for many a Columbus family, who return each year to see the dance of the sugar plum fairy and the waltz of the snowflakes. “The Nutcracker” will be performed Dec. 7 to 23 at the Ohio Theatre.
Fresh, lively arrangements are planned for the Dave Koz and Friends Christmas Tour 2012, Dec. 7 at the Palace Theatre. This CAPA presentation will feature saxophonist Koz joined on stage with David Benoit and Javier Colon, known for winning the first season of NBC singing competition “The Voice.”
With her booming voice and gorgeous appearance, it’s easy to get “Blown Away” by Carrie Underwood, who brings her tour of the same name to Columbus on Dec. 11 with a performance at the Schottenstein Center. Special guest Hunter Hayes will open for the Grammy Award winner and two-time Academy of Country Music Entertainer of the Year.
The Columbus Symphony kicks off the New Year on Jan. 4 and 5 at the Ohio Theatre with a Masterworks concert of music composed by musicians who were either born or worked in Vienna. Music Director Jean-Marie Zeitouni will conduct the orchestra in playful works by Strauss and Mozart. In concert will be piano soloist Marc-Andre Hamelin, a pianist whose exuberant playing was described as “ebullient, delighted and filled with breathtaking energy” by the Washington Post.
A quick count of the days marks the twelfth night of Christmas, and Early Music in Columbus will celebrate the occasion with a performance by The Early Interval on Jan. 5 and 6 at the First Congregational Church.
“A Flemish Twelfth Night Celebration” includes a collection of medieval, Renaissance and baroque music to mark the end of the holiday season.
It might be the dead of winter, but Columbus Symphony audiences can celebrate the change in seasons when baroque expert and violinist Monica Huggett does double duty as conductor and performer in this concert of 18th-century favorites, including selections from Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons.” When Huggett and the symphony perform Jan. 11 to 13 at the Southern Theatre, symphony regulars should prepare for some frivolity. When Huggett performed Vivaldi with the Portland Baroque Orchestra, The Oregonian touted, “While the string orchestra raced over hill and dale, Huggett jigged around the stage, twittered on her fiddle like a goldfinch, played with wobbly vibrato and pretended to fall asleep, putting her head down on top of her violin for a little snooze.”
The temperatures might be dipping and the snowfall could be rising, but ”Orchids”—the annual display of hundreds of orchids of all forms and colors—is blooming inside the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. The display opens Jan. 12 and runs through April 7.
The 100th anniversary of Rosa Parks’ birth is cause for celebration, and the Columbus Jazz Orchestra has commissioned a work by Grammy Award-winning composer and bassist John Clayton to honor the occasion. The CJO will present the world premiere of “Suite Rosa,” which combines music, dance and the spoken word to honor the woman whose refusal to move from her seat provided courage for others to stand up for their rights. The performance, which features Bobbi Townes and Keith “Speak” Williams on guest vocals as well as choreography from “Rosa” and restaging by Alexis Wilson, will take place Jan. 25 and 26 at the Lincoln Theatre.
There’s no better month
than February—the month most associated with the color red—to present “Red,” a play that presents the vision and artistic struggles of artist Mark Rothko. The 2010 Tony Award winner for Best Play shows how Rothko, who had a studio in New York City, struggled with his artistic values while at the same time creating large-scale works of commercial art in 1958 and 1959 for the Four Seasons Restaurant in the city. The play hosted by CATCO is presented in conjunction with The Columbus Museum of Art, which will offer works by the Russian abstract expressionist painter. The museum’s exhibit, “Mark Rothko: the Decisive Decade 1940-1950” includes 37 works of art by Rothko, including paintings and watercolors, gathered mostly from the National Gallery of Art collection. The art exhibition opens Feb. 1 and runs through May 26. “Red” will be presented Feb. 13 through March 3 at the Riffe Center’s Studio One Theatre.
Stepping out of Beyonce’s shadow was a good thing for Tia Fuller, who has built a great solo career as an alto saxophonist. She received a rave review from The Chicago Tribune, which praised her “technical fluency, tonal heft and rhythmic drive.” Fuller joins the Columbus Jazz Orchestra, the Columbus Youth Jazz Orchestra and drummer Lewis Nash in “Ragtime, Blues and Beyond: A Short History of Jazz,” Feb. 7 to 10 at the Southern Theatre.
Trio Cavatina, the “ensemble that put the ‘chamber’ back in chamber music,” according to the San Francisco Examiner, will perform Feb. 2 at the Southern Theatre as part of a Chamber Music Columbus presentation. The group, which made its Carnegie Hall debut in 2010, will perform the music of Ludwig van Beethoven and Robert Schumann.
“Million Dollar Quartet,” the musical that The Seattle Times called “one of the best jukebox musicals to reach Broadway in recent years,” will bring its rousing rock ’n’ roll sound to the Palace Theatre Feb. 5 to 10 as part of the Broadway in Columbus season. Based on the famed recording session at Sun Records in Memphis that joined music industry icons Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley, the Broadway musical was nominated for Tony Awards in 2010 for Best Musical, Best Book of a musical and Best Featured Actor in a musical for Levi Kreis’ portrayal of Jerry Lee Lewis.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day comes BalletMet’s performance of “Romeo & Juliet,” David Nixon’s full-length ballet about Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers. “Romeo & Juliet” will be performed
Feb. 14 to 17 at the Ohio Theatre.
Founding members Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend are part of The Who’s major North American tour, which makes a stop in Columbus for a Feb. 27 concert at the Schottenstein Center.
Ailey II might be considered the junior troupe of the Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble, but the young dancers are “nothing but professional in technique and manner,” according to The New York Times. CAPA presents Ailey II on March 1 at the Riffe Center’s Capitol Theatre.
More than 140 puppets, masks and costumes from the 1850s to the present will reveal the rich history of puppetry in the Czech Republic. “Strings Attached: The Living Tradition of Czech Puppets,” March 8 through Sept. 1 at the Columbus Museum of Art, is an interactive exhibit that invites visitors to create their own puppet shows or, through touch-screen monitors, view other puppet productions and see how puppets are made.
As cloudy skies turn to sunny spring days, the butterflies begin to emerge from their chrysalises. “Blooms & Butterflies” opens March 9 and runs through Sept. 2 at the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.
To the members of the Kodo Drummers of Japan, the sound of the taiko is a universal sound, providing a sense of community no matter where in the world they travel. That feeling inspired the name for the current One Earth Tour, which CAPA brings to the Palace Theatre on March 14.
The punk rock sounds of Green Day will fill the halls of the Palace Theatre when Broadway in Columbus presents “American Idiot,” the rock opera based on Green Day’s Grammy Award winning album. The “thrillingly raucous and gorgeously wrought Broadway musical,” as described by The New York Times, will run March 19 to 24.
As spring makes its debut, it’s time to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Igor Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring” as only the Columbus Symphony and BalletMet can do. The groups will perform together on the stage of the Ohio Theatre March 22 and 23 under the direction of CSO Music Director Jean-Marie Zeitouni.
It’s the CSO Gala Event, and a big event calls for a big star. The Columbus Symphony plucked Chris Botti’s name from the galaxy to perform with the orchestra on April 12 at the Ohio Theatre. According to The New York Times, Botti’s work “functions both on the level of flickering intimacy and thundering grandiosity.” It also translates into sales and accolades, as Botti has become the largest-selling American jazz instrumentalist and won multiple Grammy Awards. Botti’s fans will have the chance to hear him perform with the orchestra under the direction of the irrepressible Albert-George Schram.
Little girls who dream of donning pointe shoes and tutus will want a seat in the Riffe Center’s Capitol Theatre for BalletMet’s presentation of “The Little Mermaid,” which runs April 19 to 27. Based on the tale by Hans Christian Andersen, this is a new ballet by Tony Award nominee Lynne Taylor-Corbett.
Pavel Haas String Quartet will perform April 20 at the Southern Theatre in a Chamber Music Columbus presentation. The group in 2011 received the prestigious Gramophone Award for Record of the Year.
ProMusica Chamber Orchestra presents “Bravo, Maestro,” an April 20
and 21 concert at the Southern Theatre. Timothy Russell will conduct his final performance as music director in a concert that features a world premiere of “Concerto for Cello and Chamber Orchestra,” composed by Pulitzer Prize winner Aaron Jay Kernis and commissioned by the orchestra.
“Theater can be like magic,” wrote Entertainment Weekly in a review of “War Horse,” which gallops onto the Ohio Theatre stage for an April 23 to 28 run as part of the Broadway in Columbus season. The play, which won five 2011 Tony Awards, including Best Play, is based on the children’s novel by Michael Morpurgo. It tells the story of a young boy who enlists in the British Army in World War I to find his beloved horse that his father sold to the military.
Opera Columbus brings to town the Toronto-based Opera Atelier, whose artists will perform “The Magic Flute” on April 27 and 28 at the Southern Theatre. The musical, about a prince who is sent by the queen of the night to rescue her daughter, is appropriate for audiences of all ages and will include the Opera Columbus Chorus and the Columbus Symphony.
The jazz music of singer- songwriter Louis Jordan helps comfort a down-and-out guy named Nomax, whose girlfriend left him. This musical, “Five Guys Named Moe,” written by Clarke Peters, includes some of Jordan’s great hits from the 1940s, including “Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens” and “Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby.” CATCO will present the musical from May 1 to 26 at the Riffe Center’s Studio Two Theatre.
Classical music audiences in Columbus by now are familiar with the work of violinist Vadim Gluzman, who this time will appear with the Columbus Symphony to help it close its classical season with Fantastique Finale, a concert that also will highlight the talents of the Ohio State University Chorale. The concert takes place May 3 and 4 at the Ohio Theatre.
Mark your calendars for a special presentation in the Broadway in Columbus series as “Wicked” comes to town. It’s the musical story of the lives of the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good, before Dorothy fell into the world of Oz. “Wicked”—based on the Gregory Maguire novel—will run June 5 to 23 at the Ohio Theatre.
The New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players will perform with the Opera Columbus Chorus and the Columbus Symphony in a presentation of “H.M.S. Pinafore,” a comic opera about a captain’s daughter who falls in love with a lowly sailor even though her father wants her to marry someone in a higher class. The Opera Columbus presentation will be performed June 8 and 9 at the Southern Theatre.
A ticket to the One Direction concert at Nationwide Arena will—no doubt—kick off a great summer for teens who find themselves ticket holders. The quintet, created by the British version of “The X Factor,” is including some stops in the United States on its world tour. The group, with a new album release (“Take Me Home”), will perform June 18.
— Michele Lemmon is a freelance writer.