Editors' picks for the best of Columbus this month

Jillian Michaels

March 20

Anyone who's enjoyed (or endured) a Jillian Michaels workout DVD knows Michaels doesn't like to waste time-in workouts or in life. The hard-as-nails, no-nonsense fitness expert, made famous on "The Biggest Loser," takes a motivational turn with her "Maximize Your Life" tour, which makes a stop at the Palace Theatre this month. The show promises to be super interactive-attend and you're likely to be asked to share your own wellness challenges and successes-and will focus on what Michaels does best: straightforward advice and everyday opportunities for living your life to the fullest.jillianmichaelslive.com-Jenny Rogers

Happy hour with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra March 26

Trade in your usual after-work bar perch for a world-class-and free-happy hour of classical music with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. This engaging programming contracts the bar tab (appetizers are free, and special prices are promised at the cash bar) while expanding the mind. It won't take much to persuade co-workers and friends that a plush seat in the Ohio Theatre is a better spot than even the best booth at your regular hangout. Guest conductor Rossen Milanov, visiting from his day job as Princeton Symphony Orchestra music director, will lead the symphony through works by Ades, Haydn and Tchaikovsky. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and the 60- to 90-minute concert begins at 6:30 p.m. Bravo! columbussymphony.com -Kristen Schmidt

"The Phantom of the Opera"

March 5 to 16

This new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's famed and beloved musical is said to be bigger and better than ever before. The show returns to Columbus with a bold new set, fresh choreography and a 52-member cast and orchestra-the largest yet. But it will feature the same thrilling, goose-bump-inducing score that first captured our hearts and gave Webber renewed stardom. We can't wait to be haunted and enchanted by the music of the night when it fills the Ohio Theatre this month. capa.com -Michelle Sullivan

Lydia Loveless album release party

March 1

Columbus fell in love with Lydia Loveless long ago, and now the rest of the country is finally taking notice. Following a shout-out in Rolling Stone's "10 New Artists You Need to Know" in January, the country-punk princess takes the stage March 1 at Rumba Cafe to release her highly anticipated fourth album, Somewhere Else. Her label promises an intriguing follow-up of her past work: "IfIndestructible Machinewas an all-night bender, Somewhere Else is the forlorn twilight of the next day …"columbusrumbacafe.com-Emily Thompson

Columbus Soup and Bread

March 2

If you love soup (really, who doesn't?) and you love giving to a good cause, head to this event, where the two things collide. The latest installment of Columbus Soup and Bread will be held at the North Market kitchen from noon to 2 p.m. Organized by blogger Tricia Keels of No Chefs Allowed, the monthly event runs October through May, always at a different location and featuring a different theme. This time, it's homemade soups from market vendors and home cooks. Be sure to throw donations into the empty slow cooker-all proceeds from the free event benefit the Mid-Ohio Foodbank. nochefsallowed.com -Beth Stallings