Almost Famous Open Mic Night running strong at Ohio Theatre

LIMA — Almost since the Ohio Theatre reopened under the new ownership of Michael Bouson and Joe Correll, a variety of artists have been coming through the doors every Thursday (or Wednesday if a show is scheduled for that week) and this week will be no different.

Bouson said that Almost Famous Open Mic Nights at the theatre are the coolest thing in town.

“It feels like you’re in a big city,” he said. “It’s a very warm and inviting environment where the audience encourages every single performer. Even if they tank, they still applaud wildly for them at the end because they appreciate the guts it takes to get up there.”

The shows, which run from 8 to 10 p.m., are free and feature the food and drink that are regular at the dinner theatre.

“It’s so easy to sign by going to our website and picking a 10-minute timeslot,” Bouson said. “Just bite the bullet and don’t be afraid. Trust yourself and the audience and take a chance because I don’t think that anybody who has done it once hasn’t come back and done it again.”

It is significant for Bouson to see an event like this become so successful for the theatre.

“When we first got here, we wanted to make sure that the theatre remained a community gathering space and a place that had access to all so that’s why it’s a free event,” he said. “You don’t have to spend any money you can come and just order a glass of water and watch a free show in a community environment around other folks. The fact that it was so well-attended routinely and that this past Thursday was our most successful one we’ve done so far makes us very proud because it was our goal to create a safe space for people to come and gather like this.”

From singers and songwriters to spoken word artists and magicians, Bouson said that the open mic nights welcome just about anyone with a performative talent that they would like to show off.

“Everybody is here to have a good time and nobody’s judging anybody,” he said. “We get folks of all ages, all races, all shapes and sizes, and it’s just a really great event. It’s probably the thing that we’re most proud of right now.”

Reach Jacob Espinosa at 567-242-0399.