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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CCM Drama, Dance, Choral, Piano, Musical Theatre And More On Display This Weekend!

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CCM’s stars of tomorrow will be shining bright in a wide variety of concerts and productions running this weekend!

CCM’s 2012-13 Studio Series concludes with a production of Emily Mann’s powerful docu-drama Execution of Justice, running through April 20 in UC’s Cohen Family Studio Theater. Admission is free, but reservations are required. This production contains mature subject matter. Learn more about this production here.

CCM’s Ballet Ensemble also presents its annual Spring Dance Concert this weekend, with performances running through April 20 in Patricia Corbett Theater. This year’s program features unique collaborations with CCM’s Chamber Choir and Chamber Players. Learn more about this production here.

At 8 p.m. this Saturday, April 20, the CCM’s Chorale and Concert Orchestra join forces with a variety of special guests to present Benjamin Britten’s Spring Symphony and other works in Corbett Auditorium! Learn more about this performance here.

CCM’s annual celebration of the art of the piano returns at 7 p.m. this Sunday, April 21, as Pianopalooza VIII showcases our most spectacular student pianists! Learn more about this performance here.

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CCM and Carnegie Co-Production of ‘Parade’ Continues April 19-21

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Local audiences have only three more opportunities to experience CCM and the Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center‘s critically acclaimed co-production of Parade! Don’t miss your chance to see this transformational story of a country at odds with its declarations of equality, brought to life by the remarkable talent of CCM Musical Theatre!

The 1999 Tony Award winner for “Best Book” and “Best Score,” Parade‘s run concludes this weekend with performances April 19 – 21. Ed Cohen and Dee Anne Bryll direct, with musical direction by Stephen Goers.

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CCM Winds, Jazz, Musical Theatre, Guitar And More On Display This Weekend!

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You will find something for everyone on the CCM stage this weekend!

At 8 p.m. this evening (Friday, April 12), the CCM Wind Orchestra closes out its successful 2012-13 season with a survey of contemporary American composers. The eclectic program will include works by Samuel Barber, Warren Benson and more! Learn more about this performance here.

CCM welcomes acclaimed tenor Lawrence Brownlee to the stage at 8 p.m. this Saturday, April 13, for an encore performance of the program from his recent Carnegie Hall debut. Brownlee will be accompanied by composer, conductor and pianist Damien Sneed for this special performance. Learn more about this performance here.

CCM’s Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Lab Band will celebrate the impact of adjunct instructor of jazz drums and “living guru of big band drumming” John Von Ohlen with a swinging tribute concert at 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 14. Learn more about this performance here.

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The CCM/Carnegie Theatre Co-Production of ‘Parade’ Earns Four LCT Nominations

The Carnegie presents ‘Parade’ April 5 – 21, featuring Jenny Hickman and Collin Kessler. Photography by Matt Steffen.

The Carnegie presents ‘Parade’ April 5 – 21, featuring Jenny Hickman and Collin Kessler. Photography by Matt Steffen.

Panelists for the League of Cincinnati Theatres (LCT) have recognized the CCM and Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center co-production of  Parade with four LCT nominations:

  • Ensemble Acting
  • Music Direction (Steve Goers)
  • Featured Actor (Noah Ricketts)
  • Lighting Design (Alan Hanson/Wes Richter)

LCT panelists also distinguished Parade as a recommended production. Congratulations to everyone involved with this show!

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CCM Musical Theatre and the Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center Present Tony Award-Winning ‘Parade’ Next Month

The Carnegie presents 'Parade' april 5 - 21, featuring Collin Kessler (front), Matt Hill, Jenny Hickman, Noah Ricketts and Alison Bagli (rear, L to R). Photography by Matt Steffen.

The Carnegie presents ‘Parade’ april 5 – 21, featuring Collin Kessler (front), Matt Hill, Jenny Hickman, Noah Ricketts and Alison Bagli (rear, L to R). Photography by Matt Steffen.

Next month, the Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center in Covington, Kentucky, presents Alfred Uhry and Jason Robert Brown’s Parade, the 2000 Tony Award winner for “Best Book” and “Best Score.” This transformational story of a country at odds with its declarations of equality is brought to life by the remarkable talent from CCM’s Department of Musical Theatre!

Running April 5 – 21 in the Carnegie’s Otto M. Budig Theatre, Parade is directed by Ed Cohen and Dee Anne Bryll with musical direction by Stephen Goers.

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Rick Pender Hails CCM’s ‘Into the Woods’ As ‘The Season’s Best Musical’

Rick Pender takes a look back at Cincinnati’s 2011-12 theatre season in the current issue of CityBeat and singles out CCM’s Into the Woods as “the season’s best musical.” Congratulations to everyone involved with this production, which also received a record number of awards from the League of Cincinnati Theatres!

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