Brian’s picks – November 23

1) Had you seen John Johnson as Conrad Birdie in Mill Race Players’ 1989 production of the musical “Bye Bye Birdie,” you would have been as hooked as I was on his theatrical creativity, overflowing exuberance and quirky humor. Over the years, those same elements often have unfolded in shows Johnson has directed. Come Dec. 1 to 3, he directs William Shakespeare’s “As You Like It,” his 100th directed show over the past 22 years while leading Columbus North High School’s theater department. The presentation will be at North’s Judson Erne Auditorium, 1400 25th St., with admission of $6.

2) Banish the idea of ol’ St. Nick being so portly and out of shape that he hardly can step from his sled. You think a weakling can haul that preposterous pack of toys? Well, get a load of Father Christmas on ice at Skate with Santa at 4 p.m. Saturday at Hamilton Community Center & Ice Arena, 2501 Lincoln Park Drive, Columbus. Attendees can make crafts and reindeer food — and salute Santa for keeping up with the youngsters at age goodness-knows. Cost is $7.50 and includes skate rental.

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Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at or 812-379-5672.