CCM Musical Theatre Celebrates Distinguished Chair with Sondheim’s ‘Into the Woods’

Chris Blem, Victoria Cook and Michelle Rombola in CCM's Mainstage Production of 'Into the Woods.' Photography by Mark Lyons.

Chris Blem, Victoria Cook and Michelle Rombola in CCM's Mainstage Production of 'Into the Woods.' Photography by Mark Lyons.

In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Patricia A. Corbett Distinguished Chair of Musical Theatre, CCM’s Mainstage Musical Theatre Series continues its 2011-2012 season with Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods. The award-winning pairing of new and existing fairy-tales with Sondheim’s witty music and lyrics runs February 23-26 and March 1-4 in Patricia Corbett Theater in CCM Village.

The Tony Award-winning comedic musical Into the Woods centers upon a Baker, his Wife and the Witch next door who has placed a curse upon them. In a quest to reverse the curse, the Baker goes “into the woods” to gather the magical ingredients the Witch needs to create a potion. Along the way, the Baker runs into his neighbor, Jack, who tries to feed his family with “magic” beans, Little Red Ridinghood on the way to her grandmother’s house, Cinderella scurrying away from a night cut short with a handsome Prince, and several other beloved characters from Grimm’s fairytales. But, as the characters scour the woods to fulfill their greatest wishes, greed, deceit and misfortune thwart their journeys and force them to confront the morals of their stories. Is there really a happily ever after?

For senior Victoria Cook, landing the role of the Witch in Into the Woods was an emotional experience. “I cried when I got cast as the Witch. It’s a dream role for an actress to be cast as a dynamic character that starts as this hideous creature and then transforms into someone very glamorous.”

But for her, this role is just the tip of the iceberg of the great things that have come from CCM’s Musical Theatre program. She explains, “I’m very blessed to have gone here because it’s recognized as the top program in the country. It’s the best place to be if you want to be in this field.”

Marking A Milestone

CCM last presented 'Into the Woods' in 1991 to celebrate the creation of the Patricia A. Corbett Distinguished Chair of Musical Theatre. Photography by Patrick L. Pfister.

CCM last presented 'Into the Woods' in 1991 to celebrate the creation of the Patricia A. Corbett Distinguished Chair of Musical Theatre. Photography by Patrick L. Pfister.

2012 marks the 20th anniversary of the Patricia A. Corbett Distinguished Chair of Musical Theatre, currently held by Chairman of the Department of Musical Theatre and Into the Woods director Aubrey Berg. This production of Into the Woods serves as a celebration of this generous gift to the Musical Theatre program.

Berg explains, “It is always fun to revisit a musical that one has done before, especially in a new venue and with an entirely different scenic concept. When we first produced the show at CCM, it was brand new. Now it is one of Sondheim’s most produced and beloved musicals. Our approach to the show today is rather different than the previous production. In place of a fairytale forest, there is a toy theatre rendered in the style of British illustrator Ronald Searle – look for the whimsical cats – and if the audience gets the sense that a Giant is loose on the UC campus, so much the better. The cast is constantly in the steeply-raked aisles of the Patricia Corbett Theater. Ours is a forest with hills.”

“With the establishment of the Corbett Chair in Musical Theatre, we were able for the first time to present our ‘Not Famous Yet’ showcase in New York City,” says Berg. “This allows our graduating class to be seen by agents and casting directors, an enormous selling point for the program. It also enables us to bring master teachers in every aspect of the craft to Cincinnati to interact with our students, to provide scholarships in musical theatre and to present our ‘admission free’ series of musicals in the Cohen Family Studio Theater. We are fortunate, too, that the work begun by Mrs. C is continued today by the Otto M. Budig Family Foundation.”

Cook recognizes that without the support of generous donors, the things that make CCM’s program a standout would be impossible. “We want to use Into the Woods to honor Patricia Corbett and the good that she’s done in creating this chair because the program wouldn’t have the showcase and master class opportunities that is has without her, and that’s the number one reason that students want to be a part of this program,” explains Cook. “I wouldn’t have had the experience at CCM I had without this generosity, so it’s important to us to do our best to honor her.”

About the Patricia A. Corbett Distinguished Chair of Musical Theatre

Patricia Corbett was named a great Living Cincinnatian in 1994. She died on January 28, 2008, and was honored with a special memorial concert at Music Hall performed by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the CCM Musical Theatre program.

Patricia Corbett was named a great Living Cincinnatian in 1994. She died on Jan. 28, 2008, and was honored with a special memorial concert at Music Hall performed by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the CCM Musical Theatre program.

Since its establishment in 1991, the Patricia A. Corbett Distinguished Chair of Musical Theatre has provided invaluable support for the Musical Theatre Program at CCM. At the time of its inception, it was the only academic chair of its kind in the United States, the American equivalent of the Chair in Musical Theatre endowed by Cameron Macintosh in honor of Stephen Sondheim at Oxford one year later.

Mrs. Corbett’s generosity has helped scores of students with scholarship aid, enabled the program to invite master teachers to campus, established New York and Chicago showcases for graduating seniors and underwritten admission-free Studio productions, CCM’s gift to the Cincinnati theatre-going community.

In 1991, the Musical Theatre Chair was inaugurated with a production of Into the Woods by Stephen Sondheim, directed by Aubrey Berg, with sets by Paul Shortt, costumes by Dean Mogle and lighting by Jim Gage. To mark the 20th anniversary of the Chair, the Musical Theatre program again stages this popular work, featuring current Corbett scholarship winners in the cast.

In March the celebration will continue with the 20th edition of the Musical Theatre “Not Famous Yet” Showcase, a tradition that began with the establishment of the Corbett Chair.

About Aubrey Berg

Professor and Patricia A. Corbett Distinguished Chair of Musical Theatre Aubrey Berg.

Professor and Patricia A. Corbett Distinguished Chair of Musical Theatre Aubrey Berg.

Aubrey Berg has headed the musical theatre program at CCM for the past 23 years. He has directed extensively for both professional and educational theatres, with productions ranging from the classics to new plays, from musical theatre to dramatic works. Musicals he has staged include West Side Story, Oklahoma!, Sweet Charity, Cabaret, Chicago, Babes in Arms, Into the Woods, Evita, Hair, A Chorus Line, The Pirates of Penzance, My One and Only, Assassins, Cyrano, Passion, Chess, Godspell and Little Me. Other productions include such works as Romeo and Juliet, Othello, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Tartuffe, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Crucible, Electra and Vinegar Tom.

As a performer, Berg has been seen in roles as diverse as Dr. Pangloss in Candide and Frank in Educating Rita. He holds a PhD in Theatre Arts from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, and has studied at the Bristol Old Vic, the British Drama League and the British Council at Stratford-upon-Avon. His work has received a DALRO Award Citation, Joseph Jefferson Award Citations, Obelisk Awards for Excellence in the Performing Arts, Post-Corbett Award nominations, Cincinnati Entertainment Awards and Acclaim Awards.

Berg is the first holder of the Patricia A. Corbett Distinguished Chair of Musical Theatre at CCM and served as Artistic Director of its award winning summer repertory, Hot Summer Nights, for seven years. His students can be seen on Broadway, Off-Broadway and in national and international tours. In 2010, he received the League of Cincinnati Theatres Award of Excellence and was elected to the CEA Hall of Fame.

Performance Times
February 23- March 4, 2012

  • Thursday, Feb. 23, 8 p.m.
  • Friday, Feb. 24, 8 p.m.
  • Saturday, Feb. 25, 2 & 8 p.m.
  • Sunday, Feb. 26, 2 p.m.
  • Thursday, March 1, 8 p.m.
  • Friday, March 2, 8 p.m.
  • Saturday, March 3, 2 & 8 p.m.
  • Sunday, March 4, 2 p.m.

Location
Patricia Corbett Theater, College-Conservatory of Music
University of Cincinnati

Tickets & Parking Information
Tickets to Into the Woods are $29 for adults ($27 matinee) and $19 for students ($17 matinee). $11 student rush tickets will be available for the Saturday matinee beginning at 1 p.m. on Feb. 25 & March 3; limit two rush tickets per student ID. Parking is available in the CCM Garage (at the base of Corry Boulevard off of Jefferson Avenue) and additional garages throughout the UC campus.

For complete ticket and parking information, visit ccm.uc.edu or call the CCM Box Office at 513-556-4183.

Into the Woods Cast List

  • Narrator/ Mysterious Man: Graydon Long (Senior from Perrysburg, Ohio)
  • Baker: Chris Blem (Senior from Tampa, Fla.)
  • Baker’s Wife: Michelle Rombola (Senior from Buffalo, N.Y.)
  • Witch: Victoria Cook (Senior from Atlanta, Ga.)
  • Rapunzel: Lauren Roesner (Junior from Chicago, Ill.)
  • Cinderella: Katie Johannigman (Senior from Cincinnati)
  • Cinderella’s Mother: Kate McMillan (Junior from Goldsboro, N.C.)
  • Cinderella’s Father: Lee Slobotkin (Junior from Philadelphia, Pa.)
  • Cinderella’s Stepmother: Christine Smith (Junior from Dallas, Texas)
  • Florinda: Aubrey Ireland (Junior from Leawood, Kan.)
  • Lucinda: Catherine Helm (Sophomore from Ft. Worth, Texas)
  • Cinderella’s Prince: John Riddle (Senior from Vermilion, Ohio)
  • Rapunzel’s Prince: Matthew Amira (Junior from New York, N.Y.)
  • Steward: Greg Kamp (Junior from Atlanta, Ga.)
  • Jack: Josh S. Smith (Junior from New Orleans, La.)
  • Jack’s Mother: Cassie Levine (Junior from Vestal, N.Y.)
  • Milky White: Joey Dippel (Junior from San Jose, Calif.)
  • Little Red Ridinghood: Lawson Young (Freshman from Saratoga Springs, N.Y.)
  • Wolf: Blaine Krauss (Sophomore from St. Petersburg, Fla.)
  • Granny: Madeleine L. Spacapan (Freshman from Arlington Heights, Ill.)
  • Sleeping Beauty: Kaela O’Connor (Freshman from Essex Falls, N. J.)
  • Snow White: Katie Wesler (Sophomore from Birmingham, Ala.)
  • Giant: Kate McMillan (Junior from Goldsboro, N.C.)
  • Stagehands: Connor Deane (Sophomore from Orange, Conn.) and Dane C. Becker (Sophomore from Sarasota, Fla.)
Production Team
  • Aubrey Berg, director
  • Stephen Goers, musical director
  • Patti James, choreographer
  • *Ryan Howell & Brian J. Ruggaber, scenic designers
  • Dean Mogle, costume designer
  • Kelly Yurko & *Kaitie Adams, wig & make-up designers
  • *Tim Schmall, lighting designer
  • *Hunter Spoede, sound designer
  • *Sarah Cowing, stage manager

* denotes CCM student

CCM Season Presenting Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation

Mainstage Season Production Sponsor: Macy’s

Lighting Sponsor: Vincent Lighting Systems

8 thoughts on “CCM Musical Theatre Celebrates Distinguished Chair with Sondheim’s ‘Into the Woods’

  1. Pingback: Looking Back At CCM’s Original Production of ‘Into the Woods’ | College-Conservatory of Music

  2. Pingback: Discussing ‘Into the Woods’ Wigs and Make-Up with Student Designer Kaitlyn Adams | College-Conservatory of Music

  3. Pingback: This Week on Broadway for February 26, 2012: Ted Mann and Howard Kissel | BroadwayRadio

  4. Pingback: CCM Slideshows: Into the Woods | College-Conservatory of Music

    • Hi Nancy! CCM’s 2012 Musical Theatre Showcase is scheduled for March 30 and 31.

      The Friends of CCM will also present their annual benefit showcase on Thursday, March 29th. We’ll be posting more information on both of these events next week!

  5. Pingback: CCM’s ‘Into the Woods’ Receives a Record Nine League of Cincinnati Theatres Awards | College-Conservatory of Music

  6. Pingback: Rick Pender Hails CCM’s ‘Into the Woods’ As ‘The Season’s Best Musical’ | College-Conservatory of Music

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