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Lisa Norris - Page 2

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



BWW Reviews: Shots In the Dark's ANNE OF GREEN GABLES Glitchy, but Winsome
July 20, 2013

As it was first published as a novel by L.M. Montgomery in 1908, "Anne of Green Gables" has long established its place of the shelf of classic literature. Even Mark Twain fell in love with the fiery lead character of 11 year old Anne Shirley, calling her, "the dearest and most lovable child in fiction since the immortal Alice". Shots in the Dark Independent Theatre Company opened its ambitious production of the musical version at the Columbus Performing Arts Center (CPAC)'s Van Fleet Theater for a two week run last evening.

BWW Reviews: The Heat is ON at Shadowbox Live's BURLESQUE: BEHIND THE CURTAIN
July 19, 2013

Jym Ganahl is looking in all the wrong places to determine what is heating up Columbus lately, as I am pretty sure that Shadowbox Live's latest Stage 2 production, 'Burlesque: Behind the Curtain' is the actual culprit. The sequel to its predecessor, last year's 'Burlesque de Voyage', this world premiere of the show written by Jimmy Mak opened last night to a sell-out crowd, telling the backstage tale of a burlesque troupe. The air conditioning was cranked, the cold drinks were plentiful, but nothing could stop the incredible talent at Shadowbox from creating their steamiest, sexiest, and raciest shows to date. If the standing ovation wasn't enough of an indication, the near constant hooting and hollering of both male and female audience members throughout, gave it away early on that this show was going to be a hit.

BWW Interviews: CATCO Is Kids is Alive and Exceedingly Well with Expanded Offerings
July 17, 2013

I recently caught up with Joe Bishara, who while currently performing as a featured actor in the sell-out production of CATCO's "Forbidden Broadway's Greatest Hits: Vol. 1" down at the Riffe Center, is also the Associate Producing Director of CATCO. Bishara manages the day-to-day operations of the Columbus Performing Arts Center (CPAC) at 548 Franklin Ave as well, which is home to amongst many other projects, the ever-expanding CATCO Is Kids program. There is still some miscommunication out there as to what Catco Is Kids is about and what you offer. Can you clear that up for anyone who may still be confused, please? "In early 2010, CATCO merged with Steven C. Anderson's children's theatre group, The Phoenix Theatre for Children, creating our current evolution entitled CATCO is Kids. This new moniker allows us to bundle ourselves into a single brand. It's still the same imaginative and captivating programming." As of this Fall, the CATCO IS Kids school-year, weekend children's theater education class offerings are changing this year as well, correct? "Yes. I am really excited about that! We had begun the Saturday morning Musical Theater School 4 years ago, and what we noticed, after this 4th year, was that it was time for a change. We are still going to be teaching the same core principles in acting, singing, and dancing, but it's going to culminate in a weekend of performances, 3 times a year, of an actual junior version of a musical. Starting this fall, we'll have 9 weeks of camp (from 9am-12pm on Saturdays), with the conclusion being a weekend of performances that 9th week (2:30 matinees on Saturdays and Sundays), open to the general public, for the ticket charge of $5 per ticket." (For additional information of Saturday Morning school-year classes, go to: ) Less than a trip to a movie! "Very reasonably priced. In the Fall, we're going to start with "Aladdin, Jr.". In the Winter, the session will work the same way, but it will be the musical, "Snoopy", and then, in the Spring, it will be the junior version of "Suessical". For 9 weeks of instruction each session, the fee is $200 (27 hours of instruction)." This is not the extent of the Catco Is Kids season, however. You also have a full season of shows for children. "We do. We are actually starting our first show of the Catco Is Kids 2013-14 season as a camp- an all kids camp- that culminates in a weekend of performances of a show called "The Rude Mechanicals", which is adaptation of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream", written specifically for kids by Ed Graczyk. Our next show will be "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer", a 3 person adaptation including the perspective of Mark Twain as a character. After that, we will be launching the Ohio premiere of a new adaptation of "The Cat In the Hat". We are really excited about that! There will be 2 children's roles available in that show, and we will also be offering a week-long audition prep class for any local children who would like to get ready for that audition. The next show on the books is a World Premiere of Steven C. Anderson's (who has written over 50 shows) new play called "The Wolf Tales", which involves all of the fairytales that contain a wolf told from the wolf's perspective." Educators will love that one, as it's much like the children's book favorite entitled, "The True Story of The Three Little Pigs"… "Yes, and then last, but not least, our 2013-14 season for kids concludes with an all-kids production that is an adaptation of "The Wizard of Oz", called "Dorothy and The Wizard of Oz", but it's an audience participation version. So, when Dorothy first meets the scarecrow, for instance, the kids are going to be able to come up and help Scarecrow put his stuffing back in on stage." Catco is Kids is known for its large degree of audience participation, which the entire audience, especially the younger folks, adore. "It's loads of fun. Our Education director, Heather Burley, will be directing that production. She has taught in many of our school-year classes and our at-risk school based program as well, but this will be her directorial debut." There are all sorts of "firsts" going on at Catco Is Kids this year! "We're really offering 8 productions a season now, if you include the Saturday morning productions, which will be great shows, in addition to the traditional season. Our actual season can still be viewed as individual show tickets, or purchased as a 5-show package. For that 5 show package, 1 adult and 1 child can come see every one of those 5 shows for under $100 total. We try to keep our pricing reasonable, so that it can be accessible to families." There are half-price preview shows of "Tom Sawyer", "The Cat In the Hat", and "The Wolf Tales' available, and you also offer school matinee performances as well. (Interested parties should visit: for additionl information on dates/times/pricing). I love that there is an opportunity for a budding performer of any experience level to learn and grow here at Catco Is Kids. "That's truly what we want to have here. It's really, really important for us to be offering those types of opportunities for all children. Whether or not a child chooses to pursue theater as their profession moving forward, what we are trying to do is instill confidence in them that can transcend the stage. One of our old taglines from our Phoenix days was, "Light the spark of imagination.", and it still rings true today in everything that we do. That's what we aim to do, whether it's in a child seeing the show, a parent, or a future theater performer. We're very proud of the program." The CATCO Is Kids ticket price may be one of the best deals in the city for quality, family-friendly live theater these days, so be sure to check out the Catco Is Kids 2013-14 season, as well as the offerings available for children of all ages in its theater education program by going to :

BWW Reviews: New Players Theater Does HENRY IV: PART ONE Justice
July 14, 2013

Appearing in rotation with its production of "The Taming of The Shrew" as part of their summer series at Mill Run Amphitheater's "Island", "Henry IV: Part One" is one of Shakespeare's history plays, but this version is also one of the more accessible Shakespeare productions I have seen in awhile. The storyline, as written by the bard, is admittedly a bit dry at times, but this particular production is acted with gusto, and the plotline is easily understandable, even without the program synopsis. The tale centers around the universal themes of family and duty, and is a coming of age tale of Hal, the Prince of Wales who finds himself torn between living the life of the free and easy at Eastcheap Tavern with his buddies, or assuming the duty of protecting the kingdom of his father, King Henry IV.

BWW Reviews: Hilliard Arts Council's Ambitious LES MISERABLES Brings Broadway-Caliber Talent to Hilliard
July 12, 2013

The Hilliard Arts Council (HAC) jumped at the chance to be the first community theater group in Central Ohio to present the fully staged, professional version of "Les Miserables", opening at Hilliard Darby High School on Friday, July 12th for an astoundingly short 3 performance run. While several area high schools have attempted smaller scale versions, particularly following the movie release which opened the story of "Les Miserable" to an even larger audience, to attempt to pull this show off takes guts. It's an incredibly ambitious production in its set, orchestral music, and vocal demands, and even the likes of Russell Crowe and Hugh Jackman have taken criticism for their performances being less than its expected Broadway icon caliber. Given that, it turns out that Jackman and Crowe could have taken a few notes from the folks over in good ol' Hilliard, Ohio, as the pipes on this cast are surprisingly wonderful.

BWW Reviews: Allow Yourself to Experience One of Summer's Hottest Tickets- CATCO's FORBIDDEN BROADWAY'S GREATEST HITS: VOL 1
June 22, 2013

I've often said that one of the best kept local theater secrets in Columbus can be found tucked away in the unobtrusive studios of the Vern Riffe Center downtown. CATCO's 'Forbidden Broadway's Greatest Hits: Vol. 1' might be the game changer though, because as soon as word gets out about this hilariously funny and exceptionally well cast production, there is really no chance that CATCO can be overlooked this summer.

BWW Reviews: New Players Theater Brings THE TAMING OF THE SHREW to Mill Run
June 21, 2013

New Players Theater brought Shakespeare to life at the Mill Run Amphitheater with its summer series premiere of "The Taming of the Shrew" last night in a lovely outdoor space referred to as "the Island".

BWW Reviews: Shadowbox Live's THE ROCKY HORROR SHOWS Does the Time Warp with Perfection
June 10, 2013

If you haven't seen 'The Rocky Horror Show', there's really no way to adequately describe what you are missing, other than to say that you simply must see it at least once, or ten times, in your lifetime. If you are already a fan of the campy, transgender masterpiece by Richard O'Brien that is known as much for its cult-like audience participation as it is for its bizarre storyline and outrageous characters, then you are in for quite a treat, as Shadowbox Live brings a masterful version to the Brewery District.

BWW Reviews: 'ShoNo' Shortage of Talent in Short North Stage's HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH
June 8, 2013

Straight from a sold-out Boston run of the glam-rock musical in which JJ Parkey won the Broadway World Boston award for Best Actor, the Emcee from Short North Stage's previous 'Cabaret' performance is back as an East German-born drag queen yearning for her 'missing half'. Gracing the Short North Stage as a prequel to Pride Saturday, this production is what the 'ShoNo' is all about- acceptance of individuality, both artistic and sexual- at its finest.

BWW Reviews: WICKED is Delightfully Good on Columbus Tour Stop
June 7, 2013

There are a handful of musicals that define Broadway- consistently good talent, amazing sets and costumes, scores that leave you humming their tunes for days, and themes so universally appealing that their fans base extends from children coming to the audience for their first show up to senior citizens seeing the show for their 8th time. One of these iconic few, Stephen Schwartz's 'Wicked' played to a nearly sold-out crowd at the Ohio Theater last night, where it runs for a lengthy 3 weeks, now through June 23rd. On the anniversary of its first green girl, role originator Idina Menzel, winning the Tony Award for Best Actress, fans coming to the show expecting an equally phenomenal touring cast would not be disappointed last night.

SUMMER STAGES: Top 5 Summer Picks for Columbus Theatre
June 14, 2013

Great theater abounds in Columbus and summer is a great time to step outside your regular theater-going routine and try a new venue. We all know that CAPA's Broadway in Columbus Series is stellar, and while the extremely popular, 'Wicked' sets up shop in Columbus June 5-23, if you are looking for some sizzling summer sensations, exploring local theater groups will also result in fabulous entertainment that the whole family can enjoy, and you won't break your summer fun budget!

BWW Reviews: Actors' Theatre of Columbus- Shakespeare at Schiller Gets Warm Reception Despite Chilly Evening
May 24, 2013

Actors' Theater of Columbus opened its 32nd summer season with its Annual Opening Night Tent Dinner last night in the Schiller Park amphitheater. Despite the uncooperative weather canceling the performance of "King Arthur and the Sword of Britain", the crowd was abuzz with excitement over this season's line-up of free summer theater productions in the park.

BWW Reviews: Gimme Some 'Moe' of CATCO's FIVE GUYS NAMED MOE
May 3, 2013

If you liked Short North Stage's recent production of "Passing Strange", you'll love CATCO's current show, "Five Guys Named Moe". Both musicals, each show features a young, lost, African-American man who gets a schooling from some older, wiser musicians. While the former was a good show in its own right, CATCO's "Five Guys Named Moe" production is an entire ensemble as smooth as the jazz tones the characters sing, in glorious harmony.

BWW Reviews: Get 'Real' with Short North Stage's PASSING STRANGE
April 19, 2013

Short North Stage opened the regional premiere of the Tony-Award winning 'Passing Strange" last night in the gorgeous Garden Theater. Directed by Mark Clayton Suthers, "Passing Strange", with book and lyrics by Stew, tells the story of a young black musician on his artistic journey of self-discovery from his start in middle-class, South-Central Los Angeles in the late 70's, to the hash bars of Amsterdam, and the post-punk scene of Berlin, where he finds a temporary family in a group of German radicals, and struggles desperately to find his own "artistic soul".

BWW Reviews: Shadowbox Live's TABOO is Universally Entertaining
April 14, 2013

Shadowbox Live continues its reputation for having no topic off-limits, with its new sketch comedy and rock n' roll show entitled, "Taboo". The witty sketches poke fun at virtually everyone and everything, to the point that the show is "equal opportunity" offensive, and surprisingly enough, none of its jabs cut too deeply.

BWW Reviews: CATCO Is Kids' SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK LIVE, JR. Proves 'Old School' Is Still Way Cool
April 6, 2013

Remember when the best part of your week was a bowl of Cocoa Puffs and Saturday morning cartoons? CATCO Is Kids' production of 'Schoolhouse Rock Live, Jr.' is an energy packed, fun-filled trip down Nostalgia Road that parents will adore, and children will find equally delightful. The educational messages set to catchy tunes that stuck in the heads of their original audience are just as enticing to the younger generation, who also don't mind being schooled, as long as it's disguised in entertainment.

BWW Reviews: THE PROMISED LAND Brings Middle-Class Unemployment Center Stage
March 22, 2013

A&B Theatricals and director Joe Bishara took on middle-class unemployment last night with local playwright, Bill Cook's original script, 'The Promised Land'. Those familiar with Cook's previous work, especially last year's, 'Love In An Age of Clamor', will find several similarities between the two productions, however this one, finds middle-aged, middle-class, Simon (Nick Baldasare) suddenly downsized from his life-long career as a financial analyst.

BWW Reviews: Green Day's AMERICAN IDIOT Gets You Out of Suburbia
March 20, 2013

Billie Joe Armstrong, Green Day's vocalist/guitarist wrote the lyrics for 'American Idiot' in the rock opera style of 'The Who', with songs that follow three disenfranchised young men- Johnny (Alex Nee), Will (Casey O'Farrell), and Tunny (Thomas Hettrick) as they attempt to leave their stifling suburban selves in the hopes of not becoming another 'American Idiot'.

BWW Interviews: Columbus Playwright, Bill Cook on His Latest Production, THE PROMISED LAND
March 18, 2013

A& B Theatricals will present, 'The Promised Land', and original play written by local playwright, Bill Cook, opening this Friday, March 22nd at the Columbus Performing Arts Center (549 Franklin Avenue). Mr. Cook took a few momenets to chat with me about this new production, and share his excitement about its opening.

BWW Interviews: Pleasure Guild's PETER PAN - A Delight for Children and Anyone Who 'Won't Grow Up'
March 7, 2013

Central Ohio's Pleasure Guild will present its 56th annual musical production, 'Peter Pan' at The Palace Theater this weekend, March 8-10th. A benefit for Nationwide Children's Hospital's pediatric hospice and palliative care program, the proceeds from the show (last year totaling almost a half-million dollars!) are directly donated, as well as the cast and crew's generous donations of their time.