Editors’ Picks for Things to See and Do in Columbus in January

An Aretha Franklin tribute, Slave Play, Maria Ressa and more top choices for the month

Columbus Monthly
Journalist and 2021 Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa kicks of the 10th annual New Albany Lecture series on Jan. 23. Pictured: Ressa attends the Clooney Foundation for Justice Albie Awards at The New York Public Library on Sept. 29, 2022.

Jan. 13–28 | Resting Places: Cinema at the End of Life

This Wexner Center for the Arts series highlights narrative, documentary and short films that explore the many aspects of death and dying, from politics to mysticism to labor. Highlights include a Jan. 14 Q&A with New York documentarian Zeshawn Ali and the Columbus premiere of the award-winning, Japanese, sci-fi-tinged drama “Plan 75.”

Jan. 14 | Respect: A Tribute to Aretha Franklin

The Columbus Symphony Orchestra honors the Queen of Soul with an Ohio Theatre production that showcases Franklin’s musical legacy, as well as her role as a civil and women’s rights activist. Broadway vocalists Shaleah Adkisson, Blaine Krauss and Tamika Lawrence will join the CSO for this homage to the first woman inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Jan. 23 | An Evening With Maria Ressa

The New Albany Lecture series kicks off its 10th anniversary season with journalist and 2021 Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa. The co-founder of Rappler, a news website at the forefront of the battle for freedom of the press in the Philippines, Ressa crusades against disinformation, “fake news” and media stifling.

Jan. 26–Feb. 19 | ‘Slave Play’

The Short North Stage presents this provocative, record-breaking, Tony-nominated play written by Jeremy O. Harris. Set on a Virginia plantation, the play examines issues of race, sex and trauma through the intimate interactions of three interracial couples. Sound uncomfortable? That’s the point. A reception follows the Jan. 27 performance. Directed by Nakeisha Daniel.

Jan. 28 | Cavani String Quartet

For decades, this Cleveland-based foursome has wowed audiences and gained national recognition as a premier string quartet. At the Southern Theatre, Cavani will perform a composition by Columbus’ own Mark Lomax. The concert also features renowned soprano Louise Toppin, who specializes in pieces by African American composers.

Give Back

Jan. 16 | Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Breakfast

The city’s signature MLK Day program will feature keynote speaker Edward Carter, a historian, civil rights expert and dean of the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel at Morehouse College.

Jan. 19 | ProMusica Soirée

Acclaimed singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and MacArthur Fellow Rhiannon Giddens will headline ProMusica’s annual gala and benefit concert, which supports the orchestra’s artistic and outreach programs.


Mid-Ohio Food Collective

The food bank struggles to fill volunteer shifts in January after the surge of generosity that accompanies the holiday season. MOFC needs nearly 1,000 volunteers every week to help feed those struggling with food insecurity.

This story is from the January 2023 issue of Columbus Monthly.