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’s ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ Earns 4.5 Star Rating by the League of Cincinnati Theatres

CCM’s proudly presents ‘Singin' in the Rain,’ running through Sunday, Nov. 3. Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM’s proudly presents ‘Singin’ in the Rain,’ running through Sunday, Nov. 3. Photography by Mark Lyons.

We are delighted to report that panelists for the League of Cincinnati Theatres (LCT) have recognized CCM’s Mainstage Series production of the classic film musical Singin’ in the Rain with a four and a half star rating!

Panelists praised the production as “Joyful, happy, shining and memorable… An uplifting story and a treat for the eyes.” Diane Lala was commended both for her direction (“a standout production all-around with many delightful and excellent elements that really lived up to the silver screen standard of the film”) and for her contribution to the choreography, along with co-choreographer Patti James: “Covering multiple styles and always challenging the students, the choreography was truly the star of this show, and it was executed brilliantly by the talented performers.”

Ryan Sigurdson’s music direction was also recognized as “solid and impressive”. Scenic Designer Mark Halpin delivered a wonderful set—“layered in a complex, but very functional way that delivered the many silver-screen settings”–and technical director Steve Miller was also given a nod for his contribution to the “fantastic and well-executed” rain effects in the iconic title number. Reba Senske’s costume design was described as “numerous, timely, lush, complimentary to character, and a delight to look at.” Finally, from a technical aspect, CCM Electronic Media students were recognized for the “hilarious” and “seamlessly executed” videos they created for many of the scenes.

From a performance standpoint, the entire ensemble was applauded for outstanding dancing and singing.” Matt Hill, as Cosmo Brown, and Sarah Bishop, as Lina Lamont, were particularly singled out as “dead-on portraying their characters and handling the timing and humor effectively.”

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IT’S A SMASH! Rave Reviews for CCM’s ‘Singin’ in the Rain’

CCM’s proudly presents ‘Singin' in the Rain,’ running through Sunday, Nov. 3. Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM’s proudly presents ‘Singin’ in the Rain,’ running through Sunday, Nov. 3. Photography by Mark Lyons.

The reviews are in and the critics are calling CCM’s Mainstage Series production of Singin’ in the Rain a must-see theatre event!

In his review for Theatre Reviews Limited, Rafael de Acha suggests: “the show is one of the best, if not the best production of a musical I’ve seen in my three years in Cincinnati.” Read the full review here.

Rick Pender calls the production “a fabulous recreation of the iconic 1952 movie that featured Gene Kelly” in his CityBeat review. “If you love musicals,” he explains, “you should run, don’t walk to the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music this weekend for the short run of Singin’ in the Rain.” Read the full review here.

David Lyman calls the production “a delight” in his review for the Cincinnati Enquirer, concluding: “It’s pleasurable and immensely satisfying. It is, as Lala wrote in her program notes, like visiting an old friend.” Read the full review here.

In his review for Talkin’ Broadway, Scott Cain says, “The show flows at a quick pace and has apt tone and blocking. The dances, including lots of wonderful tap numbers, are vibrant, fun, and well-executed. Ryan Sigurdson leads a lush 27-piece orchestra that couldn’t sound any better.” Read the full review here.

Singin’ in the Rain runs through Sunday, Nov. 3, in Corbett Auditorium on the campus of the University of Cincinnati.

Tickets and subscription packages are on sale now, but only a handful of seats remain, so don’t delay – contact the CCM Box Office today!

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Discussing ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ with Musical Supervisor Roger Grodsky

CCM’s proudly presents ‘Singin' in the Rain,’ running through Sunday, Nov. 3. Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM’s proudly presents ‘Singin’ in the Rain,’ running through Sunday, Nov. 3. Photography by Mark Lyons.

In honor of tonight’s opening performance of Singin’ in the Rain, CCM Professor of Musical Theatre and Singin’ in the Rain Musical Supervisor Roger Grodsky discusses the history of this film musical’s journey to the stage and details what makes CCM’s new production so special:

“Since movies learned to talk in the late 1920s, Broadway musicals were adapted into films. The reverse was not true until much later. The idea of a movie musical being a Broadway show, a trend that sometimes seems to have taken over today’s theatre, did not really begin in earnest until Lerner and Loewe’s Gigi in 1973. Many of these early efforts were not successful (Gigi ran just a few months and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers lasted a week in 1982).

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CCM Slideshows: Singin’ in the Rain

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CCM’s 2013-14 Mainstage Series resumes tomorrow night (Oct. 31) with a joyous stage adaptation of the beloved classic Singin’ in the Rain, running through Sunday, Nov. 3, in Corbett Auditorium.

Described by the New York Times as “the happiest movie musical ever made,” you can enjoy a preview of Singin’ in the Rain courtesy of photographer Mark Lyons.

Tickets and subscription packages are on sale now, but only a handful of seats remain, so don’t delay – contact the CCM Box Office today!

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Spend Your Halloween in Hollywood with ‘Singin’ in the Rain’

CCM presents SINGIN' IN THE RAIN.

Seniors Katie Wesler and Max Clayton are Kathy Selden and Don Lockwood in CCM’s Mainstage Series production of SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN, running Oct. 31-Nov. 3 in CCM’s Corbett Auditorium. Diane Lala directs. Photography by Mark Lyons.

Join us for the opening night performance of the beloved film musical Singin’ in the Rain at 8 p.m. next Thursday, Oct. 31.

This joyous stage adaptation of what the New York Times calls, “the happiest movie musical ever made,” is directed by CCM Professor of Musical Theatre Diane Lala and promises to be full of films, flashbacks and (of course) plenty of falling rain! No tricks – we promise you’re in for a “treat!”

Tickets are still available for the opening night performance, which will be held in CCM’s Corbett Auditorium on the campus of the University of Cincinnati.

Learn more about CCM’s production of Singin’ in the Rain here.

CCM’s Mainstage Series Continues With a Joyous Stage Adaptation of ‘Singin’ in the Rain,’ Oct. 31 – Nov. 3

Senior Musical Theatre major Max Clayton is Don Lockwood in CCM's Mainstage Series production of 'Singin' in the Rain,' running Oct. 31 – Nov. 3 in Corbett Auditorium.

Senior Musical Theatre major Max Clayton is Don Lockwood in CCM’s Mainstage Series production of ‘Singin’ in the Rain,’ running Oct. 31 – Nov. 3 in Corbett Auditorium.

CCM brings one of Hollywood’s most-loved musicals to life with a graceful stage adaptation of Singin’ in the Rain, running Oct. 31 through Nov. 3 in UC’s Corbett Auditorium.

Based on the 1952 American musical comedy film of the same name, Singin’ in the Rain offers a lighthearted depiction of Hollywood during the transition from silent films to “talkies.” The story centers on popular silent film star Don Lockwood (originally portrayed by Gene Kelly, who also choreographed and co-directed the classic film), his shallow leading lady Lina Lamont, his sidekick Cosmo Brown and aspiring actress Kathy Selden.

CCM Professor of Musical Theatre and resident choreographer Diane Lala directs this production, which she describes as a “wonderful revisiting of a true classic.” The recipient of the 2012 Big Easy Theater Award for Best Choreography and the 2011 Big Easy Theatre Award for Best Director, Lala also collaborates with Adjunct Assistant Professor of Musical Theatre/Dance Patti James on the choreography of this dance-filled production, which she promises will showcase a wide variety of different dance forms, from ballet to tap and beyond.

Graduate student Ryan Sigurdson provides musical direction under the supervision of Associate Professor of Musical Theatre Roger Grodsky. With a glorious score by Nacio Herb Brown and lyrics by Arthur Freed, standards such as “Good Morning,” “Make ‘em Laugh,” “You Are My Lucky Star” and the legendary “Singin’ in the Rain” will have audience members leaving the theater humming.

Of course it wouldn’t be Singin’ in the Rain without buckets of rain, silent films and “talkies” from the original movie. Before proposing this production, Lala approached CCM’s Department of Theatre Design and Production and Division of Electronic Media to ensure that her vision for the show was possible. “For a show like this to be able to happen, it takes a village,” Lala explains. With scenic design by Mark Halpin, technical direction by Steve Miller, multimedia expertise of Electronic Media Professors Kevin Burke and Lakshmi Tirumala and student video director Sam Pennybacker, this production has provided ample opportunities for interdepartmental and interdisciplinary collaboration. This production of Singin’ in the Rain even involved Professor of Drama and resident Fight Master k. Jenny Jones, who choreographed the fighting and stage combat for one of the silent movies featured in the show. The result is a live performance that will be filled with films, flashbacks and falling rain.

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