Welcome to Part I of The Beat’s annual Arts Season Preview. In this edition, we take a look at what central Ohio arts “presenters” have in store for 2013-14. Next week, Part II of our preview will focus on what arts “producers” have in store for the upcoming season.
• CAPA’s (capa.com) 2013 season has a “homey” feel to it.
Director of Programming Rich Corsi keeps booking (and in many cases, rebooking) artists to play at the Lincoln Theatre, a hall Corsi said can feel like a “big living room.”
Among the shows benefitting from the Lincoln’s broad and shallow seating area are the acoustic An Evening with Pikelny, Sutton, Bullam, Bales & Cobb and Milk Carton Kids in October; Over the Rhine (in what’s becoming an annual ritual) in December; Malian artist Habib Koite in February; and Second City in March.
Also giving the season a “homey” feel is a handful of artists with local ties, from jazz pianist and Columbus native Aaron Diehl in September to local theatrical funnyman Robert Post in March and local singer-songwriter Angela Perley opening for songstress Patty Larkin in April.
The season is also highlighted by vocal ensembles (Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons in November, Sweet Honey in the Rock and The Irish Tenors in December), dance (Tango Fire in October, Motionhouse in March) and stuff for kids and families, including another terrific Educational Series season (Moth Maniac Show in October, Dr. Insecta in January).
Diehl opens the formal season in September at the Southern, another artist favorite – “Chris Thile (October) loves the Southern,” Corsi said.
• Three returning theater artists/ensembles with new works and three concerts in conjunction with the visual arts exhibition “Blues for Smoke” highlight the upcoming Wexner Center for the Arts (wexarts.org) season.
Nature Theater of Oklahoma presents a work co-commissioned by the Wex titled Life and Times – Episode 1 in October and Elevator Repair Service returns after a nearly 10-year absence in November with a co-commission called Arguendo, based on transcripts from the U.S. Supreme Court 1991 case involving erotic dancers in Indiana.
In between, writer Young Jean Lee, who is in residency at the Wexner Center, will present the first of two new works in October, We’re Gonna Die. Director of Performing Arts Charles Helm described the concept as Lee considering what would happen if she had to do a theater piece with a bad performer, and subsequently deciding to experiment with the worst performer she could think of – herself.
The show involves monologues and song and a backing band in a package that should prove interesting and funny.
October concerts with bluesman Lonnie Holley and local electronic composer Brian Harnetty and desert blues outfit Terakraft, and a November date with Columbus Jazz Orchestra director Byron Stripling and his quartet featuring Bobby Floyd, connect with the “Blues for Smoke” exhibit.
Dance, courtesy Irish step dancer (and Michael Flatley Riverdance replacement) Colin Dunne, in September and indie-pop shows, courtesy the Next@Wex series, are also featured.
• Marking its 30th anniversary this season, CityMusic Columbus heightens its focus on world music and offers, all season long, a unique discounts for patrons age 30 and under (citymusiccolumbus.org).
“Our tag this year is ‘We listen as one,’ building on the idea of community and multiculturalism,” Executive Director Heidi Howes told The Beat.
She is proud of what she hopes will be a growing program called World Music Summit (November), presented in partnership with Thiossane Institute. The Summit will include performances, lectures, workshops and other educational programming.
CityMusic brings Chicago world beat collective Funkadesi for a special fundraising concert in September, and opens its season with weird (in a good way) folk-punk cabaret act Vagabond Opera in October. Past series faves Alasdair Fraser (November), Irish Christmas in America (December) and Christian Howes (January) highlight the CityMusic season as well.
Howes said tickets will be offered half-off for patrons age 30 and younger this season – 30th anniversary and all.
• The Columbus premiere of nine-time Tony Award-winning The Book of Mormon next May might highlight the Broadway in Columbus (broadwayincolumbus.com) season, but plenty is happening until then.
Flashdance – The Musical (December) and We Will Rock You (January) open the season pop and review-style, and The Phantom of the Opera returns in March. Terrific non-subscription add-ons include Jersey Boys (September) and Blue Man Group (November).
• Marianne Mueller of Chamber Music Columbus (cmcolumbus.org) told The Beat that choral programs bring expanded and non-traditional audiences to the CMC series, so she’s excited to welcome Cantus Vocal Ensemble to open the 66th CMC season in September.
“We do see some different faces (in the audience) for choral groups,” she said.
A varied season continues in October with Cuarteto Casals and guitarist Manuel Barrueco and settles in a bit with more “traditional” Pacifica Quartet, with guest pianist Marc-Andre Hamelin, in November. The popular David Finkel and Wu Han return in March, following another Han appearance in February as part of a unique “two pianos, four pianists” program.
Discounted tickets are being offered for the season’s first two programs.
• Having a “resident” early music ensemble in The Early Interval to provide a foundation for the series is a boon to Early Music in Columbus (earlymusicincolumbus.org), Program Director Katherine Wolfe told The Beat.
The Early Interval performs in January and March. The series opens in October with Estonian vocal group Heinavanker, and continues with a program of Spanish and Native American music, courtesy Hesperus accompanying a screening of the 1920 silent films The Mark of Zorro at the Drexel Theatre in November.
Series favorite Apollo’s Fire: The Cleveland Baroque Orchestra brings a “spectacular” Celtic Christmas program to the series in December.
• New Albany’s McCoy Center for the Arts (mccoycenter.org) continues to broaden its presence in central Ohio, thanks to significant artists such as Herbie Hancock (who opens the season in October) and The Temptations (March).
Blues guitar great Buddy Guy (November) and jazz trumpeter extraordinaire Chris Botti (February) also highlight the McCoy’s upcoming season.
• The Midland Theatre (midlandtheatre.org) in Newark again offers varied programming in a number of ongoing music series.
Rockers will enjoy Blood, Sweat & Tears (September) and Blue Oyster Cult (February), while jazz fans get to cheer Sandy Hackett’s The Rat Pack Show (October) and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band (May). The Stage Door Cabaret Series of intimate singer-songwriter shows opens in October with Jeff Conley.
The Midland also offers comedy (Paul Reiser in October, Tammy Pescatelli in March) and family programming (The Golden Dragon Acrobats in December), and special shows throughout the year, including BB King in October and Robin and Linda Williams in November.
• The 35th season of the Jefferson Signature Series sponsored by the Jefferson Academy of Music (jefferson-academy.org) opens with renowned Russian-born cellist Dmitry Kouzov in October and concludes in April with the Amara Piano Trio featuring former Jefferson academy instructor Mei-Hsuan Huang.