January is no longer a dead-zone for theatre in this town. The 800-lb gorilla of Hamilton is burning up the Ohio Theatre (and, by all accounts as I didn’t get invited to the press night, more than living up to the highest of expectations). If you didn’t get a ticket or you’ve already seen it, let me point you toward two other magical theatrical experiences I wrote up for CU, running for one more week. All images below from marketing materials, none were taken or any rights claimed by me.
On the strength of their two productions of his Obie Award-winning plays, An Octoroon and, now, Appropriate, Available Light has established themselves as one of the pre-eminent companies for the work of one of the foremost chroniclers of the American sickness, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins.
In my review of Appropriate, masterfully directed by David J. Glover, for Columbus Underground, I called it “an acidic, invigorating evening that will make you laugh, make you hate yourself for laughing, make you hate yourself for giving someone the benefit of the doubt, but acknowledge the horrible, beautiful nature of being human.” Almost two weeks later, it’s still haunting me; it hasn’t let me go yet. Showtimes and links to tickets at the bottom of the linked article.
On the lighter side, Imagine Productions not only tackled the Sondheim-Lapine modern classic Into the Woods, the troupe also danced with it, only breaking a sweat for effect. This Brandon Boring-directed production was pure, delightful enchantment without ever being saccharine.
They even fixed the persistent sound issues with the Columbus Performing Arts Center’s smaller room, with a supple chamber-orchestra led by Jonathan Collura and a strong cast who could all go off-mic without sacrificing any impact. I wrote about my impressions at Columbus Underground. Showtimes and links to tickets at the bottom of the linked article.
I can’t imagine anyone reading this isn’t aware of the Wexner Center’s killer Winter lineup of exhibitions, John Waters: Indecent Exposure, Peter Hujar: Speed of Life, and Alicia McCarthy: No Straight Lines. On the off chance you’re living under that rock and this is the first you’ve heard about it, let me direct you to the Friday preview (Facebook event).
But in a similar counter-programming, a smaller and fascinating show opens at No Place Gallery, the current main spot for meaty, left-of-center exhibitions: 10 Paces by St. Louis-based artist Jon Young. Opening Saturday (Facebook event). His mixed-media pieces grapple with American myths, particularly the West, and I can’t wait to see them in person.
On the musical tip, Gerard Cox’s listening room Filament consistently brings listening experiences not found anywhere else in Columbus (and found rarely even in larger cities). His small room dedicated to the plethora of flavors of improvised music connected to the Vanderelli room does what it does best this weekend, focusing on community and sound, with his Let’s Roll Snake Eyes mini-festival focusing on solo and duo performances. Cox’s wide net grabbed a range of gifted performers including the duo of Devin Copfer (who blew me away in Mark Lomax II’s 400: An Afrikan Epic last week) and Alex Burgoyne; guitarist LA Jenkins with bass virtuoso and institution Phil Maneri; and solo acts like Stephen Haluska, harpist from Cleveland; and many more. Facebook Event and Andrew Patton’s writeup in JazzColumbus.
Take advantage of the weather breaking and get out to see something. Maybe more than one thing.