Year-in-Review: Best of theatre and dance

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

In Columbus dance, 2013 has been the year of BalletMet’s new artistic director Edwaard Liang and choreographer James Kudelka. Liang has barely begun to make his presence felt in BalletMet programming, so we have a lot to look forward to. The impact of Kudelka’s tenure as BalletMet’s artistic consultant between the departure of Gerard Charles and the arrival of Liang, however, resonates still. The twin peaks of the Columbus dance year both involved Kudelka: the March 2013 local premiere of his 1987 “Rite of Spring” and the November 2013 revivals of two masterpieces he created for BalletMet, “there, below” (1989) and “The Man in Black” (2010).

We can also look forward to the Ohio State University Department of Dance’s return to the completely renovated Sullivant Hall, hoping that will also mean a return to a more regular performance schedule.

In Columbus theatre, 2013 has been the year of the musical, from the March presentations by Broadway in Columbus of Green Day’s “American Idiot” to Young Jean Lee’s upbeat ode to mortality, “We’re Gonna Die,” at the Wexner Center in October. Other highlights in chronological order:

CATCO, “Red” by John Logan, February/March

Logan’s fictionalized portrait of Mark Rothko put the painter and his paintings at center stage with unblinking intelligence.

Available Light Theatre, “John Cage 101” by AVLT, March/April

Available Light’s appropriately original introduction to the importance and influence of the avant-garde composer.

Short North Stage, “Passing Strange” by Stew and Heidi Rodewald, April/May

Surpassingly wonderful, even revelatory, this coming-of-age musical also served as a tribute to Homer, Bach and mothers everywhere.

Available Light Theatre,“bobrauschenbergamerica”by Charles L. Mee,September

An honorary musical, perhaps, at least in the way it’s constructed, the AVLT production made comically coherent the disappointing premiere by Anne Bogart a dozen years ago.

Red Herring Productions, “Assassins” by Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman, October/November

Sondheim’s most controversial musical was brought to chilling and thrilling life by the revived Red Herring.

As it happened, 2013 was a lucky confluence of talent and timing for Columbus dance and theatre.