CCM’s Studio Production of ‘The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’ Receives 4-Star Rating from the League of Cincinnati Theatres

We are thrilled to report that panelists for the League of Cincinnati Theatres (LCT) have recognized CCM’s production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee with a four star rating!

In this Tony Award-winning musical, six young people (overseen by grownups who have barely managed to escape childhood themselves) learn that winning isn’t everything and that losing doesn’t necessarily make you a loser.

Panelists praised the production as “delightful, smart, silly and a well-structured crowd pleaser.” Director and Visiting Professor Vince DeGeorge was praised for bringing “a freshness to it with smart directing choices that were spot on.” The entire ensemble was commended: “I appreciated the nuances each performer created for their characters. They worked together seamlessly and we’re having such a good time… The performers were working together as an to create the warmth and charm so inherent in this musical.”

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UC’s College-Conservatory of Music Receives $1 Million Gift from the Corbett Foundation

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 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.

We are honored to announce that the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) has received a $1 million gift from the Corbett Foundation, designed to enhance the Patricia A. Corbett Distinguished Chair of Musical Theatre, the first chair of its kind in the world.

“CCM cannot be more grateful to the Corbett Foundation for this significant gift,” says Peter Landgren, Dean and Thomas James Kelly Professor of Music at CCM. “This gift will allow the musical theatre program to increase existing focus on student scholarship, enhance relationships with professionals in the field by bringing them to campus for master classes and support the senior showcase experience in New York City, which is the most important audition for graduating seniors in our musical theatre program.”

When Mrs. Corbett established the Patricia A. Corbett Distinguished Chair of Musical Theatre more than 20 years ago, it was the first chair of its kind in the United States. Mrs. Corbett allowed CCM to “do it first and do it best.” Her vision has guided musical theatre students to audition in New York City, to compete successfully on Broadway and national touring stages, and ultimately to win the coveted Tony, Drama Desk and Fred Astaire Dance Awards.

“I wish to extend a personal word of gratitude to Karen McKim, Executive Director of the Corbett Foundation, for her stewardship of the love and support that the Corbett’s have showered upon CCM for many decades,” says Landgren.

About the Patricia A. Corbett Distinguished Chair of Musical Theatre at CCM
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.

CCM Musical Theatre Presents Annual Senior Showcase on March 13 and 15

Moveable Feast 2012, Musical Theatre Choir

CCM’s Class of 2014 in Musical Theatre, performing during CCM’s 2012 Moveable Feast. Photography by Dottie Stover.

Cincinnati audiences will get a sneak peek of an original showcase created by the 2014 graduating class from CCM’s Department of Musical Theatre during the annual “Not Famous Yet” Showcase, which runs on March 13 (Friends of CCM benefit performance) and March 15 in UC’s Patricia Corbett Theater.

The March 13 benefit performance starts at 7 p.m. and features dinner by the bite and a post-performance celebration. Tickets for this benefit event are on sale now. For tickets and additional information, click here.

The March 15 performances take place at 5 and 8 p.m. and are free, but reservations are required. Tickets for these free performances become available at noon on Monday, March 10.

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CCM Review Round-Up: ‘Les Misérables’ and ‘El Niño’

The critics can’t stop talking about CCM’s productions of Les Misérables and El Niño! Catch up with the latest “buzz” in today’s review round-up!

CCM proudly presents a new production of the iconic musical "Les Misérables," playing Feb. 27 - March 9, 2014. Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM proudly presents a new production of the iconic musical “Les Misérables,” playing Feb. 27 – March 9, 2014. Photography by Mark Lyons.

  • Rick Pender calls CCM’s new production of Les Misérables “magnificent” in his CityBeat review, concluding, “Peeled back to its raw essence, CCM’s staging of Les Misérables is powerful and memorable, one of the best musical theater productions on a Cincinnati stage this season.” Read the full review here.
  • Paige Malott reviews the production for iSPYCiNCY and observes, “Capturing the larger-than-life Les Misérables with perfection, CCM put on a better-than-Broadway performance that is guaranteed 2-4-6-0-fun.” Read the full review here.
  • In his Talkin’ Broadway review, Scott Cain explains, “Musicals presented at… CCM always feature splendidly talented student performers who rarely disappoint. Their current production, Les Misérables, is no exception and does showcase many stunning voices and meticulously detailed acting.” Read the full review here.
  • In his review for The Sappy Critic, Kirk Sheppard suggests, “I’ve seen a lot of shows in Cincinnati over the last couple of years… [and] CCM’s Les Misérables just might be the greatest production I’ve ever seen.” Read the full review here.
  • Rafael de Acha reviews the production for Seen and Heard International and writes, “Keeping the entire undertaking tightly reined in and mercifully devoid of any Broadway clichés, [Aubrey] Berg delivers a fresh and finely-wrought production.” Read the full review here.
  • Emily Begely reviews Les Misérables for UC’s News Record and concludes, “An exemplary cast, a familiar plot and simple props created an unforgettable work of art.” Read the full review here.
Earl Rivers leads the CCM Philharmonia in a rehearsal for John Adams' EL NINO. Photography by Lisa Ventre/University of Cincinnati.

Earl Rivers leads the CCM Philharmonia in a rehearsal for John Adams’ EL NINO. Photography by Lisa Ventre/University of Cincinnati.

  • Janelle Gelfand reviews CCM’s “powerful” performance of John Adams’ El Niño for the Cincinnati Enquirer, and observes, “[Earl] Rivers balanced the work’s intimate emotions against powerful ones, propelled tempos well and drew excellent playing from the orchestra.” Read her full review here.
  • Mary Ellyn Hutton reviews El Niño for ConcertoNet and writes, “John Adams’ oratorio El Niño had its regional premiere in Cincinnati March 2, and it couldn’t have been in better hands. ” Read the full review here.

Performances of Les Misérables resume this evening (Tuesday, March 4) and run through Sunday, March 9. Learn more by visiting ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice/lesmiserables.

CCM’s Mainstage Production of ‘Les Miserables’ Receives 5-Star Rating from the League of Cincinnati Theatres

CCM proudly presents a new production of the iconic musical "Les Misérables," playing Feb. 27 - March 9, 2014. Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM proudly presents a new production of the iconic musical “Les Misérables,” playing Feb. 27 – March 9, 2014. Photography by Mark Lyons.

Panelists for the League of Cincinnati Theatres (LCT) have recognized CCM’s production of the long running musical classic Les Misérables with a Five Star Rating! Congratulations to everyone involved with the show!

Panelists praised the production as, “Spectacular… an outstanding and phenomenal production… Bravo for everyone involved for taking a musical I have seen multiple times and making it as fresh, exciting and powerful as the first.”

Director Aubrey Berg was praised for his “seamless” direction: “Aubrey Berg said he had waited over 20 years to direct this musical at CCM and he could not have done it more effectively, with some masterful choices.” Musical Director Steve Goers also was commended for his, “direction of these fine voices and in the outstanding orchestral accompaniment;” he did a, “wonderful job with taking a beast of a show and making it sing beautifully”.

The panelists were impressed by the entire ensemble: “the show absolutely showcased the incredible depth of CCM‘s students… the talent level continues to amaze.” Blaine Krauss, as Jean Valjean, “gave a sensitive, true portrayal of the character… his voice was moving… he should go directly to Broadway.”

Panelists also singled out Colin Kessler, as Javert, for his “outstanding” performance and “remarkable voice”, as well as Matthew Paul Hill’s portrayal of Thenardier: “hilarious in an evil and unctuous manner. He almost stole the show.”

Note: this review was based on the opening night cast. On alternate nights, the roles of Jean Valjean and Javert are also played by Julian Decker and Noah Ricketts, respectively.

Final LCT awards will be determined at the end of the season and announced at the LCT gala in the spring. You can learn more about CCM’s production of Les Misérables here.

About the League of Cincinnati Theatres
The League of Cincinnati Theatres was founded in 1999 to strengthen, nurture and promote Cincinnati’s theatre community. LCT provides its member companies and individual members with education, resources and services to enhance the quality and exposure of the theatre community in Cincinnati and increase community awareness, attendance and involvement. Learn more about the LCT here.

CCM Slideshows: Les Misérables

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Tonight through March 9, CCM’s Mainstage Series proudly presents production of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg’s Tony Award-winning musical Les Misérables. In honor of opening night, we present a stunning preview slideshow courtesy of photographer Mark Lyons!

Aubrey Berg, CCM’s Patricia A. Corbett Distinguished Chair of Musical Theatre, directs this new production.

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‘Hear the People Sing’ in CCM’s Highly Anticipated Mainstage Production of ‘Les Misérables’

Seniors Blaine Krauss as Jean Valjean and Kimber Sprawl as Fantine in CCM's Mainstage Series production of 'Les Misérables.' Photography by Mark Lyons.

Seniors Blaine Krauss as Jean Valjean and Kimber Sprawl as Fantine in CCM’s Mainstage Series production of ‘Les Misérables.’ Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM’s Mainstage Series presents the CCM debut production of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg’s Tony Award-winning musical Les Misérables. Based on the novel by Victor Hugo, this iconic show runs Feb. 27 – March 9 in CCM’s Patricia Corbett Theater. Tickets are on sale now.

Set in France in the early 19th-century, Les Misérables is the story of Jean Valjean and his quest for salvation after serving 19 years in jail for having stolen a loaf of bread for his starving sister’s child. Relentlessly tracked and hounded by police inspector Javert, Valjean and a slew of characters are swept into a student revolution, as a group of young idealists make their last stand at a street barricade.

Les Misérables was first presented at the Palais des Sports in Paris in 1980. Its English language adaptation opened at the Barbican Centre in London in 1985, overcoming bad notices through word of mouth and launching the beginning of what has turned out to be a global sensation. The Broadway production opened in 1987 and ran until 2003, closing after 6,680 performances. The show was nominated for 12 Tony Awards and won eight, including Best Musical and Best Original Score.

Aubrey Berg, CCM’s Patricia A. Corbett Distinguished Chair of Musical Theatre, directs this new production. He explains, “I have been waiting not-so-patiently to present Les Misérables with the students at CCM for over twenty years, since I first saw it at the Barbican Theatre in 1985. It is an ideal vehicle for our talented students and production staff. We are extremely excited to bring a ‘local’ production of this master work to Cincinnati audiences.”

With a score by Schönberg that has risen to pop-culture status, Les Misérables presents an incredible learning opportunity to CCM students. “Needless to say,” continued Berg, “the musical theatre majors were thrilled at the prospect of working on these meaty parts.” In order to involve as many students as possible, the notable roles of Jean Valjean and Inspector Javert are double-cast. The cast for a particular performance will be displayed in the lobby prior to each show.

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Cincinnati CityBeat Shows CCM Student, Alum and Upcoming Production Some Love in Latest Issue

CityBeat's "Love List" issue is on newsstands now.

CityBeat’s “Love List” issue is on newsstands now.

The Feb. 5 – 11 issue of CityBeat is on newsstands now and we are delighted to report that the magazine’s “Love List” features CCM alumnus Drew Klein and senior musical theatre major Blaine Krauss!

A graduate of CCM’s Electronic Media program, Klein has been making a name for himself as the Contemporary Arts Center’s first-ever performance curator. You can read his full profile here.

Krauss can next be seen as Jean Valjean in CCM’s upcoming Mainstage Series production of Les Misérables, playing Feb. 27 – March 9 in Patricia Corbett Theater. You can read his full profile here.

As if that wasn’t exciting enough, Rick Pender also previews this week’s production of Metamorphoses at CCM (also in Patricia Corbett Theater) and NKU’s upcoming production of Arabian Nights, both written by Mary Zimmerman.

Visit citybeat.com/cincinnati to view the full issue online.

CCM Announces Performance Schedule for 2014 Moveable Feast

CCM’s annual Moveable Feast benefit event returns to the campus of the University of Cincinnati this Friday, Jan. 17, for an unparalleled evening of artistic and culinary delights.

Today, we are delighted to provide you with an advanced look at the schedule for this year’s feast! Click on the image below for a print-friendly copy.

Click on this image for a larger, print-friendly copy.

Click on this image for a larger, print-friendly copy.

Tickets to CCM’s 2014 Moveable Feast are on sale now and can be purchased online at ccm.uc.edu/support/events or ccm.weshareonline.org/MoveableFeast2014 or by calling 513-556-2100.

Learn even more about this event here.

CCM Performances and Collaborations Highlighted on Several “Best of 2013″ Lists

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As we ring in a new year, several local arts writers have released their “year in review” lists for 2013. Rafael de Acha, Mary Ellyn Hutton, Kirk Sheppard, Rick Pender and Janelle Gelfand help us take a look back at the year that was:

In his “best of” roundup for Music for All Seasons, Rafael de Acha commented, “(CCM) consistently achieves professional level in its numerous productions of operas, musicals and concerts which approached the four-digit mark this past year.” Last spring’s original production of Into a Lamplit Room: The Songs of Kurt Weill and the recent concert production of Verdi’s Don Carlos, along with CCM’s Mainstage Series productions of Singin’ in the Rain and Owen Wingrave, all received special mention in de Acha’s review.

Mary Ellyn Hutton presented her top 16 performances for Music in Cincinnati, which included three CCM productions: Verdi’s Don Carlos, Bach’s St. John Passion and Britten’s Owen Wingrave. Of Verdi’s Don Carlos, Hutton commented, “This gets my vote as perhaps the single finest concert of 2013 in Cincinnati.”

Compiled for The Snappy Critic, Kirk Sheppard‘s list of favorite theatre productions of 2013 included last spring’s Mainstage production of The Threepenny Opera and the Studio production of Parade produced in collaboration with the Carnegie in Covington. This past fall’s CCM productions of Carrie and Singin’ in the Rain also made Sheppard’s list.

Rick Pender included two CCM productions in his 2013 round up of theatre in Cincinnati for CityBeat. Last spring’s co-production of Parade with the Carnegie and the recent Mainstage production of Singin’ in the Rain received special attention.

Janelle Gelfand also included CCM’s massive concert production of Don Carlos in her list of “Top 13 Classical Music Shows in 2013″ for the Cincinnati Enquirer. In addition to her performance-specific list, she published a summary of “arts highlights” for the year, which included the work of the MYCincinnati after-school program in East Price Hill (learn more about CCM’s connection to the organization here) and the new partnership between Cincinnati’s World Piano Competition, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and CCM.

What were your favorite performances of 2013? What are you looking forward to most in 2014? Get a first look at what’s coming up at CCM in 2014 here!