Columbus' Best of 2012 and Top Picks for 2013

As 2012 draws to a close, Broadway World Columbus has a lot to celebrate! We have expanded our local coverage and participated for the first time in the BWW Regional Awards, recognizing some of the best arts performances the Columbus area has to offer. In 2013, we hope to bring you even more coverage, as well as additional special features, and interviews with local talent. We can't wait to see what our amazing local artists bring to our hometown venues this year!

In no particular order, here are our "Top 10" picks for local theater groups to watch in the coming year:

1) Shadowbox Live- With a year old 30,000 square foot venue at their disposal, there is just no stopping the explosive talent that is the Shadowbox Live ensemble. Musical productions such as "Rent" and "Chicago" (reprisal runs January 13- February 17), combined with their classic sketch-comedy/rock n' roll shows (next up is "Between the Sheets" running January 4- March 23), plus a new partnership with Opera Columbus debuting with a near sold-out run of "La Boehme"- make it one of your New Year's Resolutions to get down to Shadowbox Live. ( )

2) CATCO- Another smart merger, this one with the Phoenix Theater for Children (now CATCO is Kids), as well as continued extensive collaboration with SRO, Gallery Players, Columbus State Community College, and the Wexner Center for the Arts, and in 2012, CATCO experienced an artistic re-birth that has begun to allow it to emerge again as one of the most promising professional theater troupes in the area. After the beautifully done musical, "The Story of My Life", and the local debut of "Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo" this season, upcoming shows such as the 2010 Tony Award winner, "Red" (Febraury 13- March 3), a reprisal of "Avenue Q" (April 3-21), and the CATCO Is Kids musical, "Schoolhouse Rock Live" (April 5-14), CATCO should also be on your must-see list for this year. ( )

3) Short North Stage- With a 2011 debut, this fledging group is making a name for itself quite nicely. Offering an eclectic mix of, "Broadway classics and edgy off-Broadway musicals, to progressive one act plays, cabarets, dance, and everything in between", this dynamic theater company is revitalizing the local arts community and consistently presenting some of the best artistic talent in the Central Ohio region. Look for upcoming new musical "Ordinary Days"(February 21- March 10), and the local debut of the Tony Award nominated, 'Passing Strange"(April 18- May 5) to sample their exceptional talent. (

4) Available Light Theater- Known for presenting new and original productions, and its incredibly cool "Pay What You Can" ticket policy, AVL is quite possibly the most accessible professional theater company in Columbus, and a delightful find to those who value amazingly good live theater on a budget. With its 2012 season including the powerhouse musical, "Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson", look forward to the upcoming "The History Boys" (January 10-19) and "Jane Eyre"(May 16- June 8). On ethics alone, this venue deserves your entertainment dollars, add in the talent and it's a steal. (

5) Pleasure Guild- This year marks its 56th annual production, a feature-event that generates an average yearly contribution of nearly $500,000 to Nationwide Children's Hospital- theater for a great cause. This year's choice, "Peter Pan" (March 8-10) features several of Columbus' brightest young adult and child performers in a professionally directed production at the Palace Theater. Take the healthy children in your life for a theater experience that they won't soon forget, while helping those children who need the services of Nationwide Children's Hospital. Win-win. (

6) Columbus Children's Theater- A staple in the lives of Columbus' young theater-goers and performers-to-be since 1963, CCT offers an entire array of productions geared for young audiences, as well as a full schedule of superb drama and musical classes for children and teens. Check out "Snow White" (January 10-27), the stage version of the children's book classic, "The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales" (February 7-24), or 'Willy Wonka"(April 11-21). You can't go wrong with anything CCT has to offer if want a great show for a younger audience. (

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Lisa Norris Lisa grew up participating in community theater groups such as

Cincinnati Young People's Theater (CYPT) in suburban Cincinnati, Ohio, both

in front of and behind the scenes. After completing her undergraduate degree

in Elementary Education/Special Education at the College of Mount St. Joseph

there, Lisa relocated to Columbus, Ohio to complete her Master of Arts

degree at The Ohio State University. Now a mom to four children, she is back

in the local theater scene introducing her own next generation of theater

goers to the arts. Lisa currently works as an online educator and runs the

"Mom Taxi" shuttling her kids around Hilliard. In addition to musical

theater, she enjoys soccer, singing, and going to the bathroom without


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