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The Nest Theatre Lives Again

Lauren Sega Lauren Sega The Nest Theatre Lives AgainAll photos by Lauren Sega.
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The Nest Theatre, originally open at 15 W. Cherry St. has reopened in Franklinton, bringing back a unique venue that creates room for comedy of all kinds. Owners Tara DeFrancisco and Rance Rizzutto went through three buildings in their search for the perfect space, ultimately landing at 894 W. Broad St. and celebrating a grand opening this weekend.

Their stay on Cherry Street was short-lived — about eight months. After the Fire Department informed the duo that the landlord hadn’t paid taxes since the late 90s, they were forced out and back on the hunt for a new space. The lease fell through on another building in the Old North neighborhood, leading them to Craigslist to find their new home.

“To go from that feeling of super desperate panic like, ‘Oh my gosh, our theatre is working and none of this is our fault. Where are we going to be?’ to ‘This place might be better than our original place’ is such a big, awesome jump,” said DeFrancisco.

They’ve been previewing shows through construction, but after making the final touches this week, they’ll host a celebratory weekend of entertainment, starting on Friday night with a ComedySportz show for all ages and a scripted late night talk show.

Saturday is the main event, “a sample platter of all the flagship shows we have,” DeFrancisco said. Doors will open at 7 p.m., before the ComedySportz show at 7:30 p.m. Guests will get a break at 8:30 p.m. to enjoy the bar and food trucks. At 9 p.m., the second block of shows starts, beginning with Storyteller, a long-form show where a cast of people take a suggestion and tell truthful monologues pulled from real life.

Finishing up the night, DeFrancisco and Rizzutto will share the stage for HERE the (improvised) Musical, which has toured 18 countries and 52 cities so far. The performance is an entire musical created from scratch and based on one suggestion.

The main stage area includes a full bar and fits up to 75 people, the patio adds room for 25 more, and there’s a lobby in the middle for ticket purchases that can fit another 25. Upstairs is a classroom and two offices. DeFrancisco imagines the Nest as a place where improvisers can convene and enjoy all forms of comedy, from long form to short form to sketch to stand up.

“You go to different theaters that are all compartmentalized for different kinds of art forms, but we wanted to do something different — which has only been done once or twice in the U.S., we’ve found — and put all those things under one roof,” DeFrancisco said. “They can intersect with one another. If you have nothing to do on a Tuesday night, you can drop by and take a class, or you can drop by and grab a beer with some friends in the same sort of artistic pile.”

“We’re starting to consult other cities on how to build a place like ours,” DeFrancisco continued, “which is kind of the big dream, I guess, is to make people see Columbus is the place to go, that Columbus can also be a major contender in dominating this art form.”

For more information, visit nesttheatre.com.

The Nest Theatre owners Tara DeFrancisco and Rance Rizzutto.


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