CCM Alumni Create Thrills and Chills in ‘Gone Girl’ Movie

CCM alumnus Cooper Thornton as Dr. Benson, leaning over Ben Affleck in the film 'Gone Girl.'

CCM alumnus Cooper Thornton as Dr. Benson, leaning over Ben Affleck in the film ‘Gone Girl.’

While movie audiences were gasping for the last few weekends, two CCM alumni were grinning. Not that the grads had morbid senses of humor, but they were appreciating the fact that their creative talents were partially responsible for Ben Affleck’s new thriller, Gone Girl, taking top box-office honors at $38 million during its Oct. 3-5 debut. Dawn Swiderski (BFA Theatre Design & Production, 1989) was the film’s art director and actor Cooper Thornton (MFA Dramatic Performance, 1992) played the role of Dr. Benson.

Affleck portrays a man whose beautiful wife goes missing on their fifth wedding anniversary. “ Under pressure from the police and a growing media frenzy, Nick’s portrait of a blissful union begins to crumble,” say Twentieth Century Fox’s promotional materials. “Soon his lies, deceits and strange behavior have everyone asking the same dark question.”

David Fincher directed the film, based upon Gillian Flynn’s bestseller.

Swiderski and Thornton both have a long list of movie and TV credits attached to their names. Some of Swiderski’s best known works are The Girl with the Dragon TattooX-Men: First Class and Angels & Demons, starring Tom Hanks — a film in which the Art Directors Guild nominated her for best production design.

Thornton, known as Ray Thornton in college, is an actor, writer and producer, who is best known for his appearances on a variety of TV shows, including Parks and Recreation in the recurring role of Dr. Harris, “NCISNCIS: Los Angeles and House.

Learn more via Deborah Rieselman and  UC Magazine here.

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Photography by Kaori Funahashi.

UC Celebrates the Broadcast Premiere of the Student-Produced ‘Gold Rush Expedition Race’ Film Series with a MainStreet Cinema Viewing Party on Oct. 16

Photography by Kaori Funahashi.

Photography by Kaori Funahashi.

The University of Cincinnati‘s student-produced Gold Rush Expedition Race documentary film series will be coming to television sets nationwide this fall courtesy of a new broadcast agreement with Universal Sports Network. This week, the cable network will air the first of three installments of the action-packed documentary series with the premiere of the 2012 Gold Rush Expedition Race film.

To celebrate the occasion, UC will host a viewing party from 5:30 to 8 p.m. this Thursday, Oct. 16, in the MainStreet Cinema of the Tangeman University Center. This screening is free and open to the general public.

The Gold Rush Expedition Race documentary films chronicle one of the foremost expedition races in the world. Each 90-minute documentary features an international field of 50 elite athletes tackling a grueling 275-mile course through the California wilderness as they test their mental and physical limits in the toughest competition in North America. Over the course of four days, teams face merciless heat and sleepless nights while trekking, mountain biking, climbing and kayaking amidst the beauty of the Sierra Nevada mountains. The race is part of the Adventure Racing World Series (ARWS) and the winning team receives an entry into the ARWS World Championship.

Each film has been produced by a team of UC students hailing from the College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), the College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP), and the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences.

Working under the guidance of professional television director/producer and CCM Electronic Media (E-Media) alumnus Brian J. Leitten (BFA, 2001) and E-Media Professor Kevin Burke, these students shot, edited, scripted and produced the film on location in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. Both Leitten and Burke advise the project and provide professional guidance and feedback to the students during all phases of the documentary’s development.

Earlier this month, GearJunkie.com hailed the Gold Rush Expedition Race project as “undoubtedly one of the most amazing educational initiatives we’ve seen.”

Learn more about the Gold Rush Expedition Race project by visiting ccm.uc.edu/about/villagenews/notations-ovations/student-produced-film-series-airs-on-universal-sports-network.

All broadcast times Eastern and subject to change. Learn more about the Universal Sports Network by visiting http://universalsports.com.

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The Tony-winning writing team of composer Stephen Flaherty and lyricist Lynn Ahrens.

CCM Alumnus Stephen Flaherty Composes ‘Little Dancer’ For Kennedy Center

The official poster for the Kennedy Center musical 'Little Dancer.' Illustration/Kennedy Center.

The official poster for the Kennedy Center musical ‘Little Dancer.’ Illustration/Kennedy Center.

Thanks to the brilliant composition by CCM alumnus Stephen Flaherty (BM, ’82), Edgar Degas’ most renowned sculpture “Little Dancer, Aged 14” will magically come to life in the world premiere Kennedy Center musical Little Dancer beginning this Sunday, Oct. 5 Saturday, Oct. 25, and running through Nov. 30, 2014!

Those without tickets to the sold-out world premiere can get a box seat right on their couches when the center streams the show live, beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Flaherty, the Tony-winning composer of the Broadway musical Ragtime, composed the music for what is being called “the splashiest Kennedy Center production of the season.”

His lyricist partner Lynn Ahrens penned the lyrics and book for Little Dancer. In 1998, they both won Tony and Drama Desk awards for Best Original Musical Score for Ragtime. In 1991, they won the Best Musical Tony Award for Once on This Island.

Learn even more about this new musical via Deborah Rieselman and the UC Magazine.

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THE VILLAGE NEWS – Fall 2014

Masthead for Fall 2014 issue of THE VILLAGE NEWS.

NOTATIONS AND OVATIONS

STUDENT PRODUCED ‘GOLD RUSH EXPEDITION RACE’ FILM SERIES TO AIR ON UNIVERSAL SPORTS NETWORK
This action-packed documentary film series will be coming to television sets nationwide this fall! Read more…

CCM WELCOMES ITS FIRST DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY OUTREACH
Anne Cushing-Reid will help CCM expand its community engagement efforts through her new role with the Preparatory Department. Read more…

ALUMNI APPLAUSE

PERFORMANCE STUDIES ALUMNA APPOINTED TO PROFESSOR OF OBOE
Merideth Hite (BM, ’06) has joined the faculty of the University of Southern Mississippi. Read more…

CCM ALUMNUS MAKES HIS BROADWAY DEBUT IN THE HIT REVIVAL OF PIPPIN
After touring the nation with The Book of Mormon, Michael Schwitter (BFA, ’12) takes on the role of Pippin’s brother Lewis at the Music Box Theatre. Read more…

CCM ALUMNI WIN TOP PRIZES IN PLÁCIDO DOMINGO’S WORLD OPERA COMPETITION
Amanda Woodbury (MM, ’12), John Holiday (MM, ’12) and Yi Li (AD, ’13) were among this year’s finalists in the Operalia competition. Read more…

FACULTY FANFARE

CCM PROFESSOR OF COMPOSITION ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT
Joel Hoffman joined the University of Cincinnati faculty in 1978. This October, CCM will celebrate his service with a special concert featuring the Ariel Quartet. Read more…

STUDENT SALUTES

FRESHMAN DRAMA MAJOR RECEIVES CINCINNATUS PRESIDENTIAL AWARD
Isaac Hickox-Young is one of only 11 incoming UC students to receive this prestigious award, which pays full tuition, boarding fees and more for four years. Read more…

CCM DMA CANDIDATE RECEIVES MAY FESTIVAL FELLOWSHIP
First-year graduate student Daniel Blosser has been chosen as the 2014-15 May Festival Choral Conducting Fellow. Read more…

TUNE IN

THE CCM WIND ORCHESTRA TAKES THE STAGE AT A NATIONAL CONFERENCE
Watch the complete performance here.

DID YOU KNOW?

CCM’S STUDIO SERIES REMAINS ONE OF THE HOTTEST TICKETS IN CINCINNATI!
Box Office Manager Jeanne Rose provides the inside scoop on how to score tickets for this year’s productions! Read more…

SAVE THE DATE

CCM’S MAINTAGE SERIES PRESENTS MACBETH
Shakespeare’s dark and twisted tragedy makes its CCM debut Oct. 1 – 5, 2014. Read more…

THE MIND AND MUSIC OF CHOPIN
The Friends of CCM and the Cincinnati Psychoanalytic Institute welcome special guest artist Richard Kogan on Oct. 10. Read more…

CCM IN THE NEWS

New Artist of the Month: Conductor and CCM Alumnus Isaac Selya (Musical America Worldwide). Read more…
CCM Prep Teaches More Than How to Perform (Cincy Magazine). Read more…

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CCM Faculty, Alumni and Programs Make Headlines This Summer

CCM continues to make headlines! See what the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Variety and more are saying about our faculty members, our alumni and our academic programs:

GABRIELLE-master675CCM Musical Theatre alumna Gabrielle Stravelli (BFA, 2001) received a glowing write-up in this Monday’s issue of the New York Times, with critic Stephen Holden calling her recent performance at the Metropolitan Room “intoxicating” and proclaiming that she, “recalled Ella Fitzgerald in her prime.” Stravelli next performs at the Metropolitan Room on July 29 and 31. Read the review here.

WorldsFairPlayFestivalThe New York Times also featured the World’s Fair Play Festival at the Queens Theater as its “Critics’ Pick” this week. A presentation of 10 original 10-minute long plays inspired by the 1939 and 19647 World’s Fairs, the festival has several notable CCM ties, with CCM Assistant Professor of Drama Brant Russell serving as a producer and director of the festival and Sarah Vargo (BFA, 2014) working as Assistant Director. Todd Almond (BM, 1999) was commissioned to write one of the festival’s new plays. The World’s Fair Play Festival runs through Sunday, July 27, 2014. Read the review here.

COUPLED2AC7867C7-CBDA-0EE2-860E9ACA54983621.jpg.pagespeed.ce.SnXKSdTksPCCM Drama alumna Diane Rogers (MFA, 1992) also received accolades this week for the new musical COUPLED. Rogers wrote the music, lyrics and book to COUPLED, which Broadway World deems a “must-see.” The show plays through Aug. 10 at the Jimmy Ferraro Studio Theatre in New Port Richey, Florida. Read the review here.

mickey-fischer-extantEarlier this month, Variety published an interview with Musical Theatre alumnus Mickey Fisher (BFA, 1995), whose show Extant is one of the summer’s most highly anticipated television events. Fisher wrote the script and will serve as an executive producer for Extant, a futuristic thriller produced by Steven Spielberg’s Amblin TV for CBS with Halle Berry starring. Read the feature here.

AChorusLineThe Times-Picayue recently profiled CCM faculty members Diane Lala and Robert Pavlovich in a feature on Tulane’s Summer Lyric Theatre production of A Chorus Line. Lala directed and choreographed this critically acclaimed production, which starred Pavlovich as formidable stage director Zach. Fellow CCM faculty member Roger Grodsky provided musical direction. Read the feature here.

RoscoeCCM alumnus/composer Evan Mack (MM, 2005; DMA, 2008) and CCM alumnus/librettist Joshua McGuire (MM, 2005) are getting attention for their new opera, Roscoe, which received an Opera Saratoga workshop performance earlier in the summer. Last month, the Times Union profiled the opera, which is an adaptation of the best-selling novel of the same name by Pulitzer Prize-winning author William Kennedy. Read the feature here.

EN-AB104_ORCHES_G_20140618101329Earlier this summer, CCM Prep’s New Horizons Orchestra was featured in the Wall Street Journal. The Journal reported on the growing popularity of ensembles for older players. Read the feature here.

See who else is making headlines by visiting ccm.uc.edu/about/villagenews/in-the-news.

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CCM and the ‘La Calisto’ Connection

 

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Cincinnati Opera’s season continues this week with a production of Francesco Cavalli’s La Calisto (July 17 – 27), a Baroque opera that has a long history with CCM.

Cincinnati Opera’s current production features a number of CCM alumni in the cast, including Michael Maniaci (BM, 1999) as Endymion, Nathan Stark (AD, 2009) as Sylvano, Andrew Garland (MM, 2002; AD, 2004) as Mercurio and Daniel Okulitch as Jove.

La Calisto drew limited audiences during its initial run of 11 performances in 1651. The long-forgotten opera was resurrected by British conductor Raymond Leppard at the 1970 Glyndebourne Festival. CCM actually mounted the American premiere of La Calisto in April of 1972, with a production conducted by Carmon DeLeone with stage direction by the Metropolitan Opera’s Henry Butler.

That production’s cast featured Barbara Daniels, Leigh Dodson, Tom Fox, Brad Liebl, Don Ronci and Nancy Stelling, amongst others. Photos from that 1972 production are featured in the slideshow above!

Learn even more about CCM’s connections to La Calisto courtesy of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

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CCM Students and Alumni Featured in NANOWorks’ Season Closing Productions June 27 – 29

Composer (and CCM alumna) Jennifer Jolley.

Composer (and CCM alumna) Jennifer Jolley, co-founder of NANOWorks.

We are delighted to report that North American New Opera Workshop’s (NANOWorks) season-closing production of Marie Incontrera’s At the Other Side of the Earth and Eric Knechtges’ Last Call will feature a number of current and former CCM students!

This exciting double-bill production opens with the Midwestern premiere of Incontrera’s riot girl opera, showcasing the talents of sopranos Molly Hanes (MM, 2013), Autumn West (MM, 2013) and Esther Kang (MM, 2012), along with bass-baritone Ben Flanders (MM, 1998). Instrumentalists for this piece include violinists Nick Naegele (BM, 2007; MM, 2008; AD, 2010) and Dylan Firlie (current BM student), along with rehearsal pianist Stephen Variames (AD, 2014).

The production also features the world premiere of Knechtges’ Last Call, an opera loosely based on Cincinnati’s gay bar scene. That work features mezzo-soprano Lauren McAllister (MM, 2014) and sopranos Stacey Sands (MM, 2010) and Katherine Krueger (MM, 2012).

Aik Khai Pung (MM, 2009) conducts both operas.

NANOWorks’ season-closing double-bill runs June 27 – 29 at the Cabaret Room above the Below Zero Lounge. Learn more about both works by visiting www.nanoworksopera.com.

NANOWorks was co-founded by CCM alumna Jennifer Jolley (MM, 2009; DMA, 2012) and is dedicated to raising the spotlight on young singers, composers, librettists, directors, choreographers and other company artists in order to give them a stepping stone to national attention.

Last July, Opera News’ Kyle MacMillan profiled Jolly and observed that NANOWorks is based in Cincinnati “partly because Jolley and her collaborators live there and partly because of the rich pool of vocal talent there, due to the presence of the respected University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.”

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