CCM’s Studio Production of ‘Blood Brothers’ Receives a 4.5 Star Rating from the League of Cincinnati Theatres

From left to right: Karl Amundson, Hannah Kornfeld and Thomas Knapp in CCM's Studio Series production of BLOOD BROTHERS, running Oct. 9 - 11 in the Cohen Family Studio Theater. Photography by Adam Zeek.

From left to right: Karl Amundson, Hannah Kornfeld and Thomas Knapp in CCM’s Studio Series production of BLOOD BROTHERS, running Oct. 9 – 11 in the Cohen Family Studio Theater. Photography by Adam Zeek.

We are thrilled to report that panelists for the League of Cincinnati Theatres (LCT) have recognized CCM’s Studio Series production of Blood Brothers with a 4.5 star rating.

Blood Brothers is the haunting story of the Johnson twins, separated at birth and brought together by the power of friendship. A tale of superstition, class distinction and adolescent love loosely based on The Corsican Brothers by Alexandre Dumas, Blood Brothers was the winner of the Olivier Award for Best New Musical in 1983.

Panelists praised faculty director Vince DeGeorge “for his tight direction and bare-bones concept – he showed that one needs not have a big set and scenery to put together a powerful production.”

Faculty member Steve Goers received strong kudos for his rearrangement of the score for voices: “the vocal ensemble provided the full harmonic textures of the score that Goers’ lone piano could not. His overture had the ensemble sing the string, brass and wind parts to create a very evocative opening.”

The entire cast was commended: “a bonded ensemble that was used expressively and expertly… every performer was beautifully cast and resonated with me.” In particular, leads Thomas Knapp as Mickey, Karl Amundson as Eddie, and Hannah Kornfeld as Mrs. Johnstone were singled out for touching and believable performances.

Overall panelists found Blood Brothers “an outstanding production of a weird and wonderful show… smashing!”

League of Cincinnati Theatre panelists evaluate productions on a 5 star scale and recommend shows at either a 4 star or 5 star level. Nominations for LCT awards will be determined and announced at the end of the season and winners awarded at the annual LCT gala in the spring.

CCM’s Studio Series resumes later on this month with an Opera Cabaret Lab production of Kurt Weill’s Mahagonny Songspiel and Paul Hindemith’s Hin und zuruck, playing in the Cohen Family Studio Theater from Oct. 24 – 26. Tickets become available at noon next Monday, Oct. 20. Learn more about this year’s Studio Series by visiting ccm.uc.edu/about/villagenews/save-the-date/studio-series-2014-2015.

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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From left to right: Karl Amundson, Hannah Kornfeld and Thomas Knapp in CCM's Studio Series production of BLOOD BROTHERS, running Oct. 9 - 11 in the Cohen Family Studio Theater. Photography by Adam Zeek.

CCM’s Studio Series Opens Next Week With Award-Winning Musical ‘Blood Brothers’

Karl Amundson as Eddie and Thomas Knapp as Mickey in CCM's Studio Series production of BLOOD BROTHERS, playing Oct. 9 - 11 in the Cohen Family Studio Theater.

Karl Amundson as Eddie and Thomas Knapp as Mickey in CCM’s Studio Series production of BLOOD BROTHERS, playing Oct. 9 – 11 in the Cohen Family Studio Theater.

CCM kicks off its 2014-15 Studio Series with Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers. Opening Thursday, Oct. 9 and running through Saturday, Oct. 11 in CCM’s Cohen Family Studio Theater, Blood Brothers will enthrall audiences with four performances.

Like all Studio Series productions, admission to Blood Brothers is free, but reservations are required. Tickets become available at noon on Monday, Oct. 6.

Visiting Professor Vince DeGeorge returns to the Studio Series stage as both choreographer and director of this much-anticipated musical. Last season, DeGeorge’s studio production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee received numerous accolades, including nominations for three League of Cincinnati Theatre Awards: Best Musical, Best Director of a Musical and Best Ensemble in a Musical.

Blood Brothers, winner of the 1983 Olivier Award for Best New Musical, is loosely based on the 1844 novella The Corsican Brothers by famed author Alexandre Dumas. DeGeorge describes it as “an epic story of nature versus nurture and class distinction.” It tells the tale of twin brothers separated at birth, but DeGeorge explains that it is also “the personal narrative of two women and the extremes that they’ll go to in order to keep their children safe.”

It was the emotional strength of this story that initially drew DeGeorge to the title. “This is an incredibly well crafted musical with book, music and lyrics by Willy Russell. Every character, scene and song in this piece pushes the narrative forward to its inevitable, tragic conclusion,” he says.

Brianna Barnes, a junior in the musical theatre program at CCM, will play the role of Mrs. Lyons, a major character in Blood Brothers. Barnes talks about developing her character: “playing a character that is significantly older than your actual age is always a challenge, [especially] grasping that level of maturity and wisdom. Love, however, is a universal feeling everyone can relate to. And that’s what is at the core of these two women, their unconditional and relentless love for their children.”

Barnes has immensely enjoyed working with DeGeorge. “Vince undoubtedly has an incredible vision for the production, and really collaborates that vision with our specific abilities.”

The CCM production of Blood Brothers is elegant in its simplicity. The staging serves to emphasize the musical’s raw emotion and the choreography plays a part in setting the stage. Audiences will enjoy movement inspired by the swing era of the mid 40s and 50s. Musical director Steve Goers supports the purity of the performance with his effortless arrangements and graceful piano accompaniment. Blood Brothers is a performance that will deeply affect audiences through its emotional delivery and masterful artistry.

With free admission and limited seating, CCM’s Studio Series productions remain one of the hottest tickets in town. Learn more about how secure your tickets by visiting ccm.uc.edu/about/villagenews/did-you-know/how-to-studio-series.

Cast List
Mrs. Johnstone……………………………………………………………. Hannah Kornfeld
Mrs. Lyons………………………………………………………………….. Brianna Barnes
Mr. Lyons……………………………………………………………………. John Battaliegse
Mickey Johnstone………………………………………………………… Thomas Knapp
Edward Lyons……………………………………………………………..  Karl Amundson
Sammy……………………………………………………………………….. Zach Erhardt
Linda………………………………………………………………………….. Kaela O’Conner
Narrator………………………………………………………………………. Tyler Huckstep
Ensemble……………………………………………………………………. Alec Cohen, Emily Fink, Louis Griffin, Jackson Mattek, Emily Royer, Keaton Whittaker, Hannah Zazzaro

Performance Times

  • 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 9
  • 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 10
  • 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 11

Location
Cohen Family Studio Theater, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

Reserving Tickets

Admission is free, but reservations are required. Tickets become available at noon on Monday, Oct. 6. Visit the CCM Box Office or call 513-556-4183 to reserve. Limit two tickets per order.

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

Community Partner: ArtsWave

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CCM Productions Win Big at League of Cincinnati Theatres’ 2014 Awards Ceremony

League of Cincinnati TheatresWinners of the League of Cincinnati Theatres’ (LCT) 2013-14 Season Awards were announced on Monday night, with CCM faculty members, students and productions taking home a number of awards, including:

  • Best Musical (Tie): CCM’s Les Miserables (tied with Carnegie Theatre’s Chicago)
  • Choreography (Tie): Diane Lala and Patti James for CCM’s Singin’ in the Rain (tied with David Baum for Carnegie Theatre’s Chicago)
  • Music Direction: Steve Goers for CCM’s Les Miserables
  • Scenic Design: Mark Halpin for CCM’s Singin’ in the Rain
  • Ensemble in a Musical: CCM’s Les Miserables
  • Lead Actor in a Musical: Blaine Krauss in CCM’s Les Miserables
  • Featured Actor in a Musical: Matthew Paul Hill in CCM’s Les Miserables
  • Featured Actress in a Musical: Jenny Hickman in CCM’s Carrie

Faculty member Kelly Yurko also received a Special Contribution Award for her prosthetic design for Clifton Players’ production of The Whale. Congratulations to all of this year’s winners!

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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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Three CCM Students Named As League of Cincinnati Theatres’ 2014 Rising Stars

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The League of Cincinnati Theatres (LCT) has announced its 2014 Rising Star Award-recipients and this year’s winners include current and former CCM students Kaitlyn Adams, Blaine Krauss and Kevin Semancik, along with recent Xavier University graduate Patrick Phillips. Congratulations to all of this year’s winners!

All four young artists have been awarded for their exemplary contributions to local theatre courtesy of Diet Dr. Pepper and Pepsi Beverages. This year’s winners were chosen from a pool of nominees recommended by their university or a theatre they have worked for. CCM’s Matt Hill and Shaun Sutton were runners up.

Rising Stars must be under 25 years of age and are nominated for their body of work by academic and theatre personnel. The award was created to recognize talented young people who have and will contribute to professional theatre in Cincinnati and the industry at large.

This year’s committee was chaired by LCT Board Members Cathy Springfield and Kirk Sheppard. Each winner receives $1000 to help them as they continue their careers courtesy of Diet Dr. Pepper and Pepsi Beverages, facilitated by Rick Gill.

You can learn more about Kaitlyn Adams, Blaine Krauss and Kevin Semancik below!

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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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League of Cincinnati Theatres Spotlights CCM Musical Theatre Major Brianna Barnes

Current CCM Musical Theatre major Brianna Barnes as Louise.

Current CCM Musical Theatre major Brianna Barnes as Louise. Photography by Mikki Schaffner.

Panelists for the League of Cincinnati Theatres (LCT) have recognized the work of Brianna Barnes as Louise and Sherry McCamley as Mama Rose in the Covedale Theatre’s Gypsy, playing now through May 4. Barnes is a current student in CCM’s Musical Theatre program.

One panelist noted, “Brianna Barnes (Louise) captured my attention from the moment she entered the stage. She managed to give us a range of emotion carrying us through self-consciousness humbleness, rage, pity, sorrow, and love, played with truthfulness and energy.”

Another noted, “the highlight of this show was Brianna Barnes as Louise who was completely authentic and charismatic throughout this show, has great poise and vocal talent, and made a stunning transformation from Louise to Gypsy Rose that never seemed forced or faked. She is truly a star.”

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