CCM Drama major Laura McCarthy as Macbeth.

CCM’s 2014-15 Mainstage Series Opens This October With a Gender-Bending Production of ‘Macbeth’

CCM student Laura McCarthy as Macbeth. Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM student Laura McCarthy as Macbeth. Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM opens its 2014-15 Mainstage Series with William Shakespeare’s dark and twisted tragedy Macbeth. Under the direction of Brant Russell, Assistant Professor of Drama, Macbeth will make its CCM debut Oct. 2 through 5 in CCM’s Patricia Corbett Theater, with a preview performance at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 1.

Russell’s unique take on this classic features third-year female drama student Laura McCarthy in the title role.

Macbeth is the tale of a man, hungry to claim the throne and fulfill a prophesy that named him king. Cajoled by his wife, he achieves his ambitions through treachery and murder, only to find that victory isn’t as sweet as it seemed. “I wanted to explore transgendered identity and how it translates into masculinity, and in turn how that would be a part of the character dynamic,” says Russell on his decision to cast a woman as Macbeth. In addition, there are several other traditionally male roles that will be played by women, including Banquo, Angus and Cathness.

McCarthy has been preparing for the role of Macbeth since she was cast last spring. She’s given up her vegetarian diet and taken up a weight-training regimen. “I’m more conscious of when I’m being feminine or when I’m being masculine,” says McCarthy.

Watch McCarthy begin her transformation into Macbeth in an exclusive behind-the-scenes video, shot and edited by CCM Electronic Media major Dan Marque:

To complete the transformation, McCarthy decided to shave her head. In addition to rehearsing the substantial Shakespearian material, she talks about the personal aspects of her metamorphosis: “The CCM community has been very vocal in their support, which has been very important to me. I pass people in the hallway and they will say ‘you look great’ or something to that effect. It has given me the confidence that I need in an otherwise vulnerable position.”

Overall, though, McCarthy describes the general public’s interactions with her now as “cautious.” “It is as if… [the people around me] are trying to place me but can’t and therefore are on edge. It is the lack of identifiable gender that sets them off I think. I live in the unknown grey area now.” McCarthy explains that Russell is the perfect conduit for this performance. “He gives just the right amount of freedom to all the artists involved to make it their own… Through conversation and exploration he humbly lights our way to finding our own interpretation of the text.” This powerful directorial style lends an important gravity to each individual’s personal performance. Audiences can expect a genuine experience, profound in its honesty.

Despite being Shakespeare’s most popular play, Macbeth is making its first appearance on the CCM stage with this production. In addition, this drama marks Russell’s inaugural Mainstage production. Russell’s transition to the Mainstage is a natural progression, considering his success last year directing Boeing Boeing, a collaboration with the Carnegie’s Theatre Series in Covington. Russell also received critical acclaim this summer for his production and direction of the World’s Fair Play Festival at the Queens Theater in the Park, which received a coveted New York Times ‘Critic’s Pick.’ Read more about Russell’s Queens Theater success by visiting NYTimes.com.

About Brant Russell
Brant Russell is a graduate of Kenyon College (BA, political science) and Northwestern University (MFA, stage direction). He is a member of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab, an associate member of SDC and has worked on the staffs of Writers’ Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater and Steppenwolf. He has worked as a producer and/or director for Theater Seven, Steep Theater, Steppenwolf, Collaboraction, MoonPie Productions, Next Theater, Victory Gardens, the Side Project and Around the Coyote, among others. Collaboraction and American Blues Theater have produced his short plays. Russell has appeared onstage in productions and readings for Next, Theater-Hikes, Steep / Naked Angels and Strawdog Theater. He has taught at Northwestern University, Kenyon College and Steppenwolf.

In January 2015, Russell will direct the American premiere of Brett Neveu’s RED BUD at Signal Ensemble in Chicago. He will also direct a CCM Studio Series production in the spring entitled You’re Welcome (A Cycle of Bad Plays) and produce the 2015 installment of the popular TRANSMIGRATION Festival. At CCM, he teaches Artist in Society, Script Analysis, History of Directing and graduate courses including Intro to Dramaturgy and Collaboration Techniques. He has taught independent studies in Absurdist Theater, Politics in Drama and Performance Art.

Performance Times

  • 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 1 (preview)
  • 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 2
  • 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 3
  • 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 4
  • 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 5

Location
Patricia Corbett Theater, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

Purchasing Tickets
Tickets to Macbeth are $27-31 for adults, $17-20 for non-UC students and $15-18 UC students with a valid ID, with $12-$15 student rush tickets available for the Saturday matinee beginning at 1 p.m. on Oct. 4. Tickets to the Oct. 1 preview performance are just $12.

Customizable subscription packages are also available.

Tickets can be purchased in person at the CCM Box Office, over the telephone at 513-556-4183 or online at ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice/macbeth-mainstage.

Parking and Directions
Parking is available in the CCM Garage (located at the base of Corry Boulevard off Jefferson Avenue) and additional garages throughout the UC campus. Please visit uc.edu/parking for more information on parking rates.

For detailed maps and directions, please visit uc.edu/visitors. Additional parking is available off-campus at the new U Square complex on Calhoun Street and other neighboring lots.

For directions to CCM Village, visit ccm.uc.edu/about/directions.
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CCM Season Presenting Sponsor and Musical Theatre Program Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation

Mainstage Season Production Sponsor: Macy’s

Community Partner: ArtsWave

CCM News

League of Cincinnati Theatres Announces 2014 Awards Finalists

League of Cincinnati TheatresThe League of Cincinnati Theatres (LCT) has announced the finalists for this year’s LCT Awards Celebration and we are delighted to report that CCM productions have received a staggering 23 nominations (CCM Professor Kelly Yurko and CCM student Brianna Barnes also received nods for work on non-CCM productions this year, bringing our unofficial tally up to 25 nominations)!

The annual LCT Award Celebration is designed to honor the best of Cincinnati professional theatre each season.

CCM’s 2013-14 productions of Carrie, Singin’ in the Rain, MetamorphosesLes Misérables, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and Living Dead in Denmark all received nominations in at least one category.

CCM faculty members Aubrey Berg, Vince DeGeorge, Steve Goers, Mark Halpin, Patti James, k. Jenny Jones, Diane Lala, Reba Senske and Kelly Yurko each received nominations in at least one category.

CCM students singled out in this year’s nominations included Brianna Barnes, Sara Bishop, Hannah Freeman, Dana Hall, Jenny Hickman, Matt Hill, Colin Kessler, Blaine Krauss, Wes Richter and Ryan Sigurdson.

Finalists were chosen from the nominations made by trusted panelists who saw the shows during the year. One winner from each category will be announced at the Awards Party on Monday, June 16, at Arnold’s Bar and Grill in Cincinnati.

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CCM Video: Imagine the Possibilities with CCM Drama

Graduating CCM E-Media student Tim Neumann (BFA, 2014) has created a stunning video exploration of CCM’s acclaimed Department of Drama.

Described by Backstage magazine as a “first-rate BFA program in acting, ” CCM Drama creates graduates who go on to careers in theatre, film, television and national media. Watch the video above and imagine the possibilities.

With programs like E-Media and Drama living side-by-side, it’s easy to see why CCM is considered a preeminent institution for the performing and media arts!

Learn more about CCM’s Department of Drama by visiting ccm.uc.edu/theatre/drama.

Learn more about CCM’s Division of Electronic Media by visiting ccm.uc.edu/emedia.

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CCM Alumni Featured on Stage and Behind the Scenes of Eight Tony Nominated Productions

Tony Awards LogoNominations for the 2014 American Theatre Wing’s Tony Awards were announced earlier this week and more than a dozen CCM alumni are involved in this year’s nominated productions!

Composer Stephen Flaherty (BM, 1982) scored the musical adaptation of Rocky, which received four nominations this year.

Josh Prince (BFA, 1996) choreographed Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, which also features alumni Alysha Deslorieux (BFA, 2012), Daniel Torres (BFA, 2001), Sara Sheperd (BFA, 2008) and Melvin Tunstall III (BFA, 1998) in the cast.

Pamela Bob (BFA, 1999) is in the cast of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, which leads the Tony nominations with 10 nods.

Alums Eric Santagata (BFA, 2004), Betsy Wolfe (BFA, 2004) and Preston Boyd (BFA, 2008) are all in the cast of Woody Allen’s Bullets Over Broadway, which received six nominations.

Alumnus Damian Baldet (BFA, 1995) is featured in the cast of Machinal, which received four nominations.

The revival of Les Misérables features Max Quinlan (BFA, 2008) and Adam Monley (BFA, 2000) in its cast.

Katie Klaus (BFA, 2006) is in the cast of The Bridges of Madison County and Leeds Hill (BFA, 2011) is in the cast of Cabaret, where he recently filled in for Alan Cumming in the iconic role of the Emcee.

The 68th Annual Tony Awards will be broadcast live at 8/7 central on Sunday, June 8, on CBS. Hugh Jackman returns to host this year’s ceremony. Find out more by visiting www.tonyawards.com/en_US/nominees.

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CCM’s Production of ‘Living Dead in Denmark’ Recognized by League of Cincinnati Theatres

We are happy to report that panelists for the League of Cincinnati Theatres (LCT) have recognized CCM’s Studio Series production of Living Dead in Denmark for its fight choreography and make-up, and for the work of lead actress Anna Stapleton!

In this hilarious spoof set five years after the tragic events that ended Shakespeare’s Hamlet, a resurrected Ophelia, Juliet and Lady MacBeth must save Denmark from an overwhelming zombie horde. Anna Stapleton, portraying “Lady M,” was a panelist favorite, conjuring up “a bouncy sword wielding Xena: Warrior Princess in her shorty short leather skirt and her blunt blonde cut, festooned with at least seven knives, a sword and a shield.”

Panelists also praised Professor of Make-Up Kelly Yurko for “outstanding” make-up, special effects and wigs, as well as Professor of Drama k. Jenny Jones and Andrew Dylan for exemplary fight choreography including rapier and dagger work and plenty of zombie killing in a graphic superhero comic book style.

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CCM’s 2013-14 Studio Series Concludes This Week With Zombie Drama ‘Living Dead in Denmark’

Something wicked this way comes... as CCM presents 'Living Dead in Denmark' April 17-19, 2014! Photography by Una Lin.

Something wicked this way comes… as CCM presents ‘Living Dead in Denmark’ April 17-19, 2014! Photography by Una Lin.

CCM’s acclaimed Studio Series comes to a dramatic conclusion with a thrilling production of the irreverent Shakespearean zombie mash-up Living Dead in Denmark, playing April 17-19 in CCM’s Cohen Family Studio Theater. Admission is free, but reservations are required. CCM’s very own resident Fight Director and Professor of Drama k. Jenny Jones directs this can’t-miss production, which is intended for mature audiences.

Written by Qui Nyguen, a founding father of the OBIE Award-winning “geek theatre” company the Vampire Cowboys, Living Dead in Denmark is described as the “perfect storm of horror and geek obsessions” by Time Out New York. The action of the play is set five years after the tragic events of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, as a resurrected Ophelia, Juliet and Lady Macbeth must save Denmark from an overwhelming zombie horde.

First staged in 2006, the play has been hailed by the New York Times as “a crazy quilt of pop reference, dueling blades and scattershot anachronisms,” with figures from both Shakespeare’s canon and the 21st century pop cultural zeitgeist making appearances. This entertaining and comical zombie drama is sure to be the perfect antidote to exam week blues!

CCM News

CCM Slideshows: Don Pasquale

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Mary Ellyn Hutton calls CCM’s Mainstage Series production of Don Pasquale a “fast-moving delight start to finish, with beautiful singing, lively acting and a lovely-to-look-at, period production” in her review for the Cincinnati Enquirer! Read the full review here.

This week’s issue of CityBeat features an excellent profile of Don Pasquale‘s director, CCM graduate student Omer Ben-Seadia. You can read that Anne Arenstein-penned story online here.

Don Pasquale plays through this Sunday, April 6, and tickets are still available. Tickets can be purchased in person at the CCM Box Office, over the telephone at 513-556-4183 or online at ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice/donpasquale.

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