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 News Faculty Fanfare Student Salutes

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.

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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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CCM’s ‘Chess’ Receives Four League of Cincinnati Theater Nominations

"Chess" runs Oct. 25 - 28 in UC's Corbett Auditorium. Photography by Mark Lyons.

“Chess” runs Oct. 25 – 28 in UC’s Corbett Auditorium. Photography by Mark Lyons.
Tickets on sale now! Visit ccm.uc.edu for more information. Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM’s production of Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus and Tim Rice’s Chess has earned four nominations from the League of Cincinnati Theatres (LCT)! The LCT also distinguished the rock musical as a recommended production: Outstanding Production (musical), Ensemble, Lead Actor (Julian Decker) and Lead Actress (Aubrey Ireland). Congratulations to the entire creative team!

Loosely based on the lives of chess grandmasters Bobby Fischer and Anatoly Karpov, Chess involves a romantic triangle between two top players (an American and a Russian) and the woman who manages one and falls in love with the other.

CCM News Student Salutes

CCM’s ‘Chess’ Features ‘Great Singing, Great Dancing, Jaw-Dropping Costuming, Superb Orchestral Support, Sharp Techno Scenic Design’ Raves Enquirer

"Chess" runs Oct. 25 - 28 in UC's Corbett Auditorium. Photography by Mark Lyons.

“Chess” runs Oct. 25 – 28 in UC’s Corbett Auditorium. Photography by Mark Lyons.
Tickets on sale now! Visit ccm.uc.edu for more information. Photography by Mark Lyons.

In her review of Chess for the Cincinnati Enquirer, Jackie Demaline writes, “It’s easy to be swept up in the spectacle conjured by director Aubrey Berg – great singing, great dancing, jaw-dropping costuming, superb orchestral support (led by Stephen Goers), sharp techno scenic design (by Mark Halpin and Alan Hanson).”

Chess runs through this Sunday, Oct. 28 in UC’s Corbett Auditorium. Tickets are still available by calling 513-556-4183, visiting CCM’s E-Box Office here!

Read more of Demaline’s review after the jump.

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CityBeat’s Stage Door Blog Reviews ‘Chess’

"Chess" runs Oct. 25 - 28 in UC's Corbett Auditorium. Photography by Mark Lyons.

“Chess” runs Oct. 25 – 28 in UC’s Corbett Auditorium. Photography by Mark Lyons.
Tickets on sale now! Visit ccm.uc.edu for more information. Photography by Mark Lyons.

Theatre critic Rick Pender reviews Chess in today’s CityBeat Stage Door blog: “The story is set in Bangkok and Budapest during a mid-1970s world chess championship — and it’s driven by gamesmanship between nations, between lovers and, of course, between chess players. I saw the opening on Thursday, and it’s a BIG show with a gigantic cast. Several leading roles are double cast (with more juniors than seniors, in fact, which bodes well for CCM productions for this season and next). In particular, Matthew Paul Hill, playing the Russian grand master Anatoly, lifted the roof of Corbett Auditorium with his powerful baritone voice singing the stirring ‘Anthem,’ the Act 1 finale.”

Read more here. 

Chess tickets are still available by calling 513-556-4183, visiting CCM’s E-Box Office here!

Directed by Aubrey Berg with musical direction by Stephen Goers, choreography by Diane Lala, scenic design by Mark Halpin and costumes by Rebecca SenskeChess runs Oct. 25-28 in UC’s Corbett Auditorium.

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CCM Slideshows: Chess

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Featuring music by ABBA’s Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson with lyrics by Tim Rice, CCM’s Mainstage Series continues with the must-see musical Chess, running Oct. 25-28 in UC’s Corbett Auditorium.

CityBeat’s Rick Pender writes, “Our local theater scene is enhanced considerably by works presented on the stages at universities: Tonight through Sunday, CCM’s esteemed musical theater program is offering CHESS, with music by ABBA’s Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson. The story is set in Bangkok and Budapest during a 1972 chess championship — which is about conflict between nations, between lovers and, of course, between chess players. Director Aubrey Berg says, “The action plays out in a world of spies, counter-agents and superpowers vying for supremacy.”

Tickets are still available for this acclaimed rock musical!

Learn more at http://ccm.uc.edu.

Check out the original music video for “One Night in Bangkok” from the 1984 Chess concept album below:

CCM News CCM Slideshows

CCM Presents Acclaimed Rock Opera ‘Chess’ Oct. 25-28

CCM proudly presents the acclaimed rock opera Chess as the next installment in this year’s Mainstage Series. Featuring music by Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson (of the Swedish rock group ABBA) with lyrics by Golden Globe, Tony, Grammy and Academy Award-winner Tim Rice (of Jesus Christ SuperstarEvitaThe Lion King and more), Chess has what Time magazine calls “one of the best rock scores ever produced.” Directed by Aubrey Berg with musical direction by Stephen Goers, choreography by Diane Lala, scenic design by Mark Halpin and costumes by Rebecca SenskeChess runs Oct. 25-28 in UC’s Corbett Auditorium.

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