Things to See and Do in Columbus in October

“Young Frankenstein,” Wil Haygood, Gershwin, immersive Van Gogh and more

Columbus Monthly staff

Walk the Moon, Oct. 1 

Newport Music Hall 

Walk the Moon’s fame peaked in the mid-2010s, when they released their first self-titled album in 2012 and rose to No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 with 2014’s “Shut Up and Dance.” Originally from Cincinnati, the bouncy, pop-indie band is back in their home state for this fall’s Dream Plane tour. $35–$85.   

“Dancers Making Dances,” Oct. 1–3 

Columbus Dance Theatre 

Columbus Dance Theatre resumes performances with a season titled “Elevate.” This first program is a reprise of a fan favorite created in collaboration with local visual artists for a visually spectacular production. Seating will be spaced and limited. $20–$25, $10 students.   

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Rachel Barton Pine and Jory Vinikour

Rachel Barton Pine and Jory Vinikour, Oct. 2 

Mees Hall, Capital University, Bexley 

Early Music in Columbus hosts concert violinist Rachel Barton Pine, winner of numerous international prizes, with harpsichordist Jory Vinikour for a performance of J.S. Bach’s violin and harpsichord sonatas. The season continues Nov. 14 with a concert by Pegasus Early Music at First Unitarian Universalist Church. $12–$30.   

Wil Haygood “Colorization” book launch, Oct. 7–24 

Various locations 

Renowned journalist, author and local hero Wil Haygood will appear throughout Central Ohio to promote the launch of his new book, “Colorization: 100 Years of Black Films in a White World,” and to spark discussions of race and Black cinema through a series of conversations, interviews, film screenings and more. Haygood will give a lecture Oct. 7 as part of the Columbus Metropolitan Library’s Carnegie Author Series and will kick off a film series at the Drexel Oct. 21; the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s weekly presentation on Oct. 16 will feature an interview with Haygood by Dave Filipi of the Wexner Center and an introduction from our own publisher, Ray Paprocki. Other events will be hosted by the Columbus Museum of Art, Lincoln Theatre, Wexner Center for the Arts and independent bookstores. Prices vary.

“Young Frankenstein,” Oct. 7–Nov. 7 

Garden Theater 

Mel Brooks wrote the book for this stage adaptation of the hilarious 1974 musical film he wrote with Gene Wilder, so if you loved the movie, you’ll probably love the show. And don’t forget: It’s pronounced “Fronkensteen.” $15–$55.   

“Let’s Hope You Feel Better,” Oct. 8–23 

MadLab Theatre 

MadLab offers the world premiere of a play by Samantha Oty about a woman who pauses amid her perfect life to complete her thesis on the psychology of modern cannibalism and enact one final, sinister fantasy. The call for auditions this summer for this “dark, dark comedy” came with a trigger warning citing scenes of graphic violence and themes of mental health, infidelity, suicide, homicide and, of course, cannibalism, so be prepared for an unsettling evening. $15–$18.  

Art and Jazz, Oct. 8–Nov. 13 

Cultural Arts Center 

Visual artist Karin Dahl and composer Chris Berg join forces to explore how art and music can combine to enhance the meaning of each. The exhibit will include abstract paintings accompanied by original musical compositions. The artists will be joined at the opening by Ucelli, The Columbus Cello Quartet.   

Anthony Doerr with Jess Walter, Oct. 12 


Anthony Doerr has a new novel coming out this fall, “Cloud Cuckoo Land,” in which the Pulitzer Prize-winning author pushes the historical imagination that brought us “All the Light We Cannot See,” both backward and forward in time, portraying children at the 1453 storming of Constantinople, in present-day Idaho and on an interstellar ship. Doerr will discuss his new work with bestselling author Jess Walter (“Beautiful Ruins,” “The Cold Millions”). $30, includes a copy of the book.  

“Gershwin, Berlin & Beyond,” Oct. 14–17 

Southern Theatre 

Byron Stripling and the Columbus Jazz Orchestra will return to the Southern stage for three nights of selections from the songbook of some of America’s most beloved composers in a concert featuring guest artists saxophonist Patrick Bartley Jr. and vocalist Lena Seikaly. $25–$68, $10 students.   

Michael Schultz Film Series, Oct. 14–19 

Wexner Center for the Arts 

The pioneering Black director known for blockbusters that combine humor with social commentary will be on hand for a free public appearance with author Wil Haygood (see more Haygood events below and under “Literary”) during a week that will include screenings of many Schultz classics: “Cooley High,” “Krush Groove,” “Car Wash” (introduced by Hanif Abdurraqib) and more.

"Car Wash"

Black Film in America, Oct. 21 

Drexel Theatre 

In celebration of the release of journalist Wil Haygood’s book, “Colorization: One Hundred Years of Black Film in a White World,” this film series will explore the history of Black artists in Hollywood from early uncredited films to the works of Oscar Micheaux, Sammy Davis Jr., Pam Grier and Richard Roundtree to contemporary cinema. In partnership with Gramercy Books, the series will kick off with an appearance by Haygood prior to the first night’s screening. $10.   

Unorthodocs, Oct. 21–25 

Wexner Center for the Arts 

The fifth iteration of the Wex’s Unorthodocs festival of nonfiction film will be a combination of in-person and virtual events and screenings. No titles had been confirmed for the festival at press time, but the center’s Melissa Starker pointed out that the festival has “a perfect batting average” for including at least one film that is nominated for a Best Documentary Oscar a few months later.   

Sergei Babayan, Oct. 23 

Southern Theatre 

“Pianism, larger than life,” is how one critic describes the artistry of Sergei Babayan. “One cannot play the piano better than this,” writes another. Babayan’s visit launches the 74th season for Chamber Music Columbus, which continues Nov. 13 with a concert by the Aizuri Quartet, known both for bold new commissions and flawless perform-ances of the classical music canon. $20–$60.   

Josh Jay: “An Evening of Illusion and Enchantment,” Oct. 27 

Gramercy Books 

The author of a new book, “How Magicians Think,” will appear in conversation with OSU creative writing professor and author Michelle Herman for an event billed as “trickery and conversation with magician, showman, podcaster and storyteller Josh Jay.” Jay has performed in 100 countries, headlines at Hollywood’s Magic Castle and is a former world champion in sleight-of-hand. $30, includes a copy of the book.

Chris Coles’ “Nine Lives Project,” Oct. 28 

Lincoln Theatre 

What began, for saxophonist and Kent State music educator Chris Coles, with a 15-minute tone poem provoked by the 2015 shootings in a Charleston church has expanded into a four-movement meditation that includes jazz, spoken word and movement. The work will be performed live at the Lincoln and livestreamed at It kicks off the Jazz Arts Group’s four-concert Jazz at the Lincoln series, which will continue with additional guest artists into 2022. $20, students $10. 

The Van Gogh Exhibit in Pittsburgh earlier this year

Van Gogh Exhibit Columbus: The Immersive Experience, Oct. 28–Jan. 2 

Have you ever wished you could step into the colorful impressionist works of Vincent van Gogh? Then you’re in luck. Hosted at a historic venue in town that was still undisclosed at press time, Van Gogh Exhibit Columbus: The Immersive Experience will transport visitors into pieces like “Sunflowers,” “The Bedroom” and, of course, “Starry Night” as the exhibit’s 300,000 cubic feet of projections bring every brushstroke to life with moving images. Conceived and designed by Massimiliano Siccardi with a soundtrack by Luca Longobardi, the experience drew more than 2 million visitors to its premiere installation in Paris and continues to draw crowds in Toronto. $40–$50.   

My Story; My Song: New Work by Creative Women of Color, Oct. 31–Jan. 17 

Wehrle Gallery, Ohio Dominican University 

Creative Women of Color was formed in 2006 by a group of African American women artists working in a range of styles, from folk to abstract, as well as in diverse mediums with materials ranging from textiles to metals. This exhibition celebrates the artists’ commonalities and reflects their vast experiences and diverse personal and professional backgrounds. Free.