Columbus' Best of 2012 and Top Picks for 2013

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. (

7) Otterbein University- Well known for its outstanding performing arts department and many notable graduates, Otterbein generated considerable local buzz with outstanding productions earlier this year of "Noises Off", and "Spring Awakening". Look for upcoming shows, "After The Fall" (March 7-10, 14-16) and an ambitious, but not-to-be-missed "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" (April 25-28, May 2-4). (

8) Broadway In Columbus- Let's not forget to be thankful for CAPA, who brings the best of Broadway to Central Ohio each year for the Broadway in Columbus series. This past calendar year saw some fabulous performances, including "Jersey Boys", "West Side Story", and "Beauty and the Beast". Exciting upcoming shows include, "American Idiot"(March 19-21), "War Horse"(April 23-28), and the incredibly popular "Wicked"(June 5-23), and 'Les Miserables"(May 14-19). ( )

9) Shots in the Dark Theater Co.- Started by a high school student in 2007, this pre-professional theater group has turned out some exceptional productions this year as well. From the fun, "Lunch Lady: Tater Tots of Love", to the powerful "The Swing of the Sea", if Shots in the Dark represents the future of Columbus theater, we are in great hands. Look for "Anne of Green Gables" (June 21- July 7) and the edgy rock-musical, "Next to Normal" (August 2-17). (

10) Actor's Theater of Columbus- For 31 seasons, this company has breathed life into the Central Ohio live theater scene, with countless numbers of talented performers gracing its stages. Known largely for its summer SchillerPark productions, ATC joins ColumbusSchool for Girls in presenting "The Crucible" (February 28- March 3) before heading outdoors again for its summer season of "King Arthur and the Sword of Britain" (May 23- June 23), "Twelfth Night" (June 27- July 28), and "The Beaux Stratagem" (August 1-September 1). Start dreaming of lush green grass, picnics, and classic theater in the park now. ( )

If we've missed your favorite theater company on our list, let us know! Comment below and we'll do our best to add your theater "must see" to our review list for 2013. We'd love get out to check out your picks! Happy 2013 from Columbus' Broadway World!

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From This Author Lisa Norris

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