Prizm News / September 1, 2018 / By Bob Vitale

Elton John’s 300-show farewell tour includes stops in Columbus on Nov. 2, Cleveland on Nov. 3 and Cincinnati on Feb. 27.

Prizm has your first look at the concerts, stage productions, art exhibits and other performances by some our community’s brightest talent.


By Bob Vitale

From community theater stages to Quicken Loans Arena, LGBTQ stories and artists will be in the spotlight repeatedly over the coming months.


We’ve not done the math—not our strong suit—but the lineups at Ohio arts venues for the new season sure make us more hopeful than that annual GLAAD report about the lack of LGBTQ characters on TV and in the movies.

And it’s not just productions of “Rent” we’re talking about, although you can catch the third year of its 20th anniversary tour soon in Cincinnati and Columbus. There are many more, often new LGBTQ voices, reflecting so many more of our stories, experiences and identities.

Here are the highlights. You can find even more at, where we maintain Ohio’s most comprehensive calendar of LGBTQ-focused events.


“Knife Study,” by Jova Lynne, part of “Sites of Power.”

‘Sites of Power: Soft Thrones’ by Jova Lynne

Exhibit through Saturday, October 27
University of Toledo Center for the Visual Arts

In January, Lynne traveled to her familial home of Kingston, Jamaica, to collaborate on a series of workshops with queer-identified, female-spectrum Jamaicans. These conversations—as well as the artist’s own reflections on identity—have informed the portraits and objects presented in “Soft Thrones.”
More info:,


‘Love Story’ by Candice Breitz

Through Sunday, September 16
Playhouse Square, Cleveland

This work is based on the personal narratives of six people who have fled oppression in their home countries, including Shabeena Francis Saveri, a transgender activist from India. In one part of the video installation, the stories are told by Alec Baldwin and Julianne Moore; in the other they’re shared by the people themselves. It’s a commentary on our identification with fictional characters and disinterest in real stories.
More info:


“Fun Home” at the Toledo Repertoire Theatre (Toledo Rep photo via Facebook)

‘Fun Home’

Friday, September 14 – Sunday, September 30
Toledo Repertoire Theatre

Friday, October 26 – Sunday, November 4
Beavercreek Community Theatre

When her father dies, Alison dives into her past to tell the story of the volatile, brilliant, one-of-a-kind man whose temperament and secrets defined her family and her life. Moving between past and present, Alison relives her growing understanding of her own sexuality, and the looming, unanswerable questions about her father’s hidden desires.
More info: /


“Afro Goddess Looking Forward” by Mickalene Thomas

Mickalene Thomas: ‘I Can’t See You Without Me’

Friday, September 14, 2018 – Sunday, December 30
Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus

‘Muse: Mickalene Thomas Photographs’ 

Saturday, October 20 – Sunday, January 13
Dayton Art Institute

Thomas creates paintings, collages, photography, video and installations that draw on art history and popular culture to create a contemporary vision of female sexuality, beauty and power. Her work will be featured in overlapping exhibits at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus and at the Dayton Art Institute.
More info: /


Sean Hayes starred in the 2016 Broadway production of “An Act of God. (Photo by Jim Cox via play website)

‘An Act of God’

Friday, September 14 – Sunday, October 7
Beck Center for the Arts, Lakewood
Thursday, November 1 – Sunday, November 18
Human Race Theatre, Dayton

God (played in Broadway productions of David Javerbaum’s comedy by Jim Parsons and Sean Hayes) and his devoted angels answer some of the deepest questions that have plagued mankind since Creation. And here’s a revelation: He really did create Adam and Steve.
More info: /


Isaac Julien: ‘Looking for Langston’

Friday, October 5 – Sunday, February 3
Columbus Museum of Art

This exhibition presents Isaac Julien’s landmark 1989 film about Harlem Renaissance poet and playwright Langston Hughes, along with a selection of related photographic works. The images mine the aesthetics of black and queer histories, from James VanDerZee’s funerary and studio portraits of Harlem residents during the 1920s to George Platt Lynes’s male nudes of the 1930s to Robert Mapplethorpe’s eroticized photographs of black men during the 1980s.
More info:


John Fitzpatrick wrote “This Much.”

‘This Much (or an Act of Violence Toward the Institution of Marriage)’

Friday, October 12 – Saturday, November 3
Convergence-Continuum Theatre, Cleveland

Gar can’t decide between the man he’s having an affair with and the man on one knee with a ring. Facades start crumbling as the world implodes around him, but Gar just wants to dance with his friends. London’s To Do List calls this play by John Fitzpatrick a “daring emotional three-way.”
More info:


Alan Turing (Illustration from the UK National Charity for History)

‘Breaking the Code’

Wednesday, October 24 – Sunday, November 11
Van Fleet Theatre, Columbus

Mathematical genius Alan Turing was a pioneer in the field of computers and computer science. His work breaking Nazi code during World War II saved countless lives, yet he plummeted into ruin after his sexual orientation was discovered. This production is a joint venture between CATCO and Evolution Theatre.
More info: /


‘La Cage Aux Folles’

Thursday, November 1 – Sunday, November 25
Short North Stage, Columbus

This 2010 revival of one of Broadway’s biggest and happiest hits gains even more relevance in today’s world. It’s a tribute to family values, 21st-century style.
More info:


Elton John

Friday, November 2
Schottenstein Center, Columbus
Saturday, November 3
Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland
Wednesday, February 27
U.S. Bank Arena, Cincinnati

After five decades and 4,000 live shows, Sir Elton starts a three-year, 300-show farewell tour this month. He’ll make his way through Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati as part of the long goodbye.
More info:

Queen Latifah With the Toledo Symphony

Saturday, November 10
Toledo Museum of Art Peristyle

The film and music legend performs with the Toledo Symphony.
More info:


Amy Ray and Amythyst Kiah will perform in Nelsonville on Nov. 13. Ray and Indigo Girls partner Emily Salyers (right) will perform with the Cincinnati Pops on Nov. 20. Ray and her own band will perform in Akron on Nov. 27. (Amythyst Kiah photo via Facebook)

Amy Ray With Amythyst Kiah

Tuesday, November 13
Stuart’s Opera House, Nelsonville
Tuesday, November 27
E.J. Thomas Hall, Akron

Longtime Indigo Girl Amy Ray and her band are releasing a new country album titled “Holler” later this month. Her opening act in Nelsonville will be Amythyst Kiah, who in May was rated at the top of The Advocate’s list of queer country artists.
More info: /


Justin Vivian Bond

Thursday, November 15
Southern Theatre, Columbus

Bond is a Tony-nominated performer whom The New Yorker called “the best cabaret artist of (their) generation.”

Bond is the author of the Lambda Literary Award-winning memoir “Tango: My Childhood, Backwards and in High Heels.”

More info: /




Indigo Girls With the Cincinnati Pops

Tuesday, November 20
Music Hall, Cincinnati

The Grammy-winning duo behind hits like “Closer to Fine” and “Galileo” bring their signature blend of folk rock to the Cincinnati Pops for a program of fan favorites across their groundbreaking career.
More info:


Jason Mraz

Tuesday, December 4
Palace Theatre, Columbus

In June, Billboard asked a number of celebs to share love letters to the LGBTQ community as part of Pride month. Jason Mraz took his as a chance to come out as bisexual: We still have a long way to go/ But know/I am bi your side/All ways.
More info:



Tuesday, December 11 – Sunday, December 23
Aronoff Center, Cincinnati
Tuesday, March 19 – Sunday, March 24
Palace Theatre, Columbus

This reimagining of Puccini’s “La Bohème” follows an unforgettable year—that’s 525,600 minutes—in the lives of seven artists struggling to follow their dreams without selling out.
More info: /


“35mm” (Photo from touring production)

‘35mm: A Musical Exhibition’

Friday, January 4 – Sunday, January 13
MadLab Theatre, Columbus

This multimedia musical by husband-and- husband team Matthew Murphey and Ryan Scott Oliver explores a groundbreaking new concept in musical theater and reimagines what the modern musical can be. It’s presented by SRO Theatre Company.
More info:

Christopher Plummer and Ben Masters played lovers in the 1980 TV-movie production of “The Shadow Box.”

‘The Shadow Box’

Friday, January 11 – Sunday, January 27
Dayton Theatre Guild

“The Shadow Box” made its Broadway debut in 1977, winning both a Tony for Best Play and a Pulitzer Prize for drama. Joe, Brian and Felicity come from different walks of life but each is dying of cancer. Joe’s wife is in denial, Felicity awaits a visit from her daughter, and Brian plays referee between his ex-wife and his male lover.
More info:


Its almost Almost… (Photo by Visit Portland)

‘Almost, Maine’

Thursday, January 17 – Sunday, February 3
Weathervane Playhouse, Akron

Nine short plays explore love and loss in a remote, mythical almost-town called Almost, Maine. The play became famous in 2014 when a North Carolina high school principal canceled a student production because it included a gay story line.
More info:

Brendon Urie and Panic! at the Disco are on a world tour. (Band photo via Facebook)

Panic! at the Disco

Saturday, January 26
U.S. Bank Arena, Cincinnati
Wednesday, January 30
Quicken Loans Aren, Cleveland

“I guess this is me coming out as pansexual,” frontman Brendon Urie told Paper magazine in July after talking about his attraction to individuals and not their gender. Panic! is on a world tour in support of its latest album, “Pray for the Wicked.”
More info:


“Self-Portrait Jumping 1” by Peter Hujar (Photo (c) Peter Hujar Archive)

Peter Hujar: ‘Speed of Life’

Saturday, February 2 – Sunday, April 28
Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus

Admired and loved by those within the New York arts scene before his death from AIDS in 1987, Hujar is only now receiving wider recognition as one of the late 20th century’s greatest photo portraitists.

More info:




John Waters: Indecent Exposure

Saturday, February 2 – Sunday, April 28
Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus

The Wexner Center for the Arts will host one of just two exhibitions of more than 160 photographs, sculptures and videos by Waters, one of the most transgressive and celebrated figures working today.
More info:


Liberace never came out, but the man who plays him onstage, pianist David Maiocco, is openly gay. (Photo by Derek Sterling)


Thursday, February 14 – Sunday, February 17
Theatre in the Circle, Cleveland

There was a lot more to Liberace than rhinestones and fur. David Maiocco brings the flamboyant but closeted entertainer back in a one-man show that doesn’t ignore the parts Liberace never talked about.
More info:


Oscar Wilde

‘The Importance of Being Earnest’

Thursday, February 21 – Sunday, March 3
Playhouse Square, Cleveland
Friday, March 15 – Saturday, March 23
Village Players Theatre, Toledo

This “trivial comedy for serious people” uses humor to play with themes of society, marriage and relationships. And since its debut in 1895, people have debated the gay subtext of Oscar Wilde’s play. It’s being produced in Cleveland by the Cleveland State University Department of Theatre and Dance and in Toledo by the Village Players Theatre.
More info: /


(Photo via Wikipedia)

‘Always Plenty of Light at the Starlight All Night Diner’

Friday, February 22 – Monday, March 11
Know Theatre, Cincinnati

When an asteroid threatens the earth, the logical place to go is your favorite diner. Especially when that diner just might be a time machine. It’s a super-queer time-travel adventure, with dinosaurs.
More info:

Selina Thompson doesn’t have all the answers, but she does have a lot of questions to start conversations about race. (Photo © Manuel-Vason at DARC Media, via Contemporary Arts Center)

Selina Thompson: ‘Race Cards’

Monday, February 25 – Saturday, March 2
Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati

How many questions do you have about race? Selina Thompson has a thousand—and counting. Her installation and performance, comprised of questions painstakingly transcribed onto note cards, can be thought of as generous invitations to start a conversation of your own. “As a queer black woman, I am often expected to educate people on race, class and gender,” she says. “Enough! Time for you to think for yourself.”
More info:


‘The Legend of Georgia McBride’

Friday, May 3 – Sunday, May 12
Beaver Creek Community Theatre

He’s young, he’s broke, and he just found out his wife is going to have a baby. To make matters even more desperate, Casey is fired from his gig as an Elvis impersonator in a small-town Florida bar. When the bar owner brings in a B-level drag show to replace his act, Casey finds that he has a whole lot to learn about show business—and himself.
More info:


St. John’s Episcopal Church in Cleveland was known as Station Hope during its time as a stop on the Underground Railroad. Station Hope honors that history by celebrating social justice.

Station Hope 2019

Saturday, May 4
St. John’s Episcopal Church, Cleveland

Station Hope is a community event celebrating Cleveland’s social justice history and exploring contemporary struggles for freedom and equality. Explore the historic properties around St. John’s Episcopal Church—Cleveland’s first authenticated Underground Railroad site—while viewing works of theater, music, storytelling and dance inspired by the most important issues of our time.
More info:


(Illustration from What’s It All About Shakespeare blog)


Friday, June 7 – Sunday, June 23
Rubber City Theatre, Akron

This all-new show—the first phase of a two-part project—is based on Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew” and revolves around characters representative of the LGBTQ+ community.
More info:


Victor Willis is back with the Village People.

Village People

Saturday, June 8
Valentine Theatre, Toledo

Lead singer Victor Willis is back for the disco group’s 40th anniversary. This performance is a fundraiser for the Valentine Theatre.
More info: