Senior musical theatre major Lawson Young as Elle in CCM's production of LEGALLY BLONDE, playing Oct. 23 - Nov. 2, 2014. Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM’s Mainstage Series Proudly Presents ‘Legally Blonde – The Musical’

Senior Lawson Young as Elle and junior Chris Collins-Pisano as Emmett in CCM's production of LEGALLY BLONDE, playing Oct. 23 - Nov. 2, 2014. Photography by Mark Lyons.

Senior Lawson Young as Elle and junior Chris Collins-Pisano as Emmett in CCM’s production of LEGALLY BLONDE, playing Oct. 23 – Nov. 2, 2014. Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM continues its 2014-15 Mainstage Series this week with the upbeat musical, Legally Blonde.

Directed and choreographed by Professor of Musical Theatre Diane Lala with musical direction by second-year graduate student Craig DaltonLegally Blonde makes its CCM debut Oct. 23 – Nov. 2 in Patricia Corbett Theater.

Based on the novel by Amanda Brown and the MGM motion picture of the same name, Legally Blonde is a modern-day coming of age tale featuring perky and lovable sorority girl Elle Woods. Elle enrolls in Harvard Law School in an attempt to win back her lost love, Warner. In order for Elle to make it at Harvard she must prove to everyone, including herself, that she has what it takes. When her resolution is tested, Elle discovers what she is truly made of, surpassing her own wildest expectations and finding her inner strength and intelligence.

Guest artist Joe Leonard provides the scenic design for this musical movie adaptation. A 1989 graduate of CCM’s Department of Theatre Design and Production, Leonard’s vision for Legally Blonde was incredibly dynamic. This result is a set in which everything moves, flips, turns and flies. “The positive energy of Elle’s story is carried through to every element of the production,” Lala explains.

Legally Blonde features 16 memorable musical numbers by the Drama Desk and Tony Award nominated composer and lyricist team of Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin, with a book by Heather Hach.

The role of Elle Woods is incredibly fun but is also very demanding. Because Elle appears in every scene of this high-energy musical, the role has been double cast and will be played by Sarah Bishop and Lawson Young, both senior musical theatre majors. Likewise, the role of Emmett will be played by senior Nathanial Irvin and junior Chris Collins-Pisano.

Legally Blonde also features two special performers who are brand new to the CCM stage. Jackson and Jilly will play the parts of Rufus and Bruiser, two of musical theatre’s most beloved dogs. Jilly is a Legally Blonde veteran, having played the part of Bruiser in Covedale Theater’s production of Legally Blonde last spring. Jackson is making his acting debut in this fun-filled production.

Legally Blonde is a lively musical romp with a touching lesson. Audiences will thoroughly enjoy this production and may even learn not to judge a book by its cover!

Read more about the production here.

About Diane Lala
CCM Professor of Musical Theatre Diane Lala choreographed for Tulane University, Black Hills Playhouse, Loyola University, True Brew Theatre, NOLA, Indian Hills High School, Cincinnati Men’s Chorus and various regional and dinner theaters. Her choreography credits at CCM include Babes in ArmsSweet Charity,The Wild PartyOklahoma!West Side Story and On the Town. Also at CCM, she was director/choreographer for Song and DanceUnder Construction andSongs for a New World. She taught summer workshop for Ballet Iowa and various jazz master classes in Kharkov, Ukraine. In 2003 she directed and choreographed CCM’s Musical Theatre students as well as Tom Wopat, John Schneider, Denyce Graves and Nick Clooney in the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra’s “Patriotic Broadway,” which was televised on PBS.

On stage, Lala has appeared as Velma Kelly in Chicago, Woman 2 in Songs for a New World, the Baker’s Wife in Into the Woods, Morales in A Chorus Line, Anita in West Side Story and Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors. Nominated numerous times, Lala has received Big Easy Entertainment Awards in New Orleans and a Storer Boone Award for Best Choreography for Tulane Summer Lyric’s production of The Will Rogers’ Follies. She also received a Marquee Award for best actress in a musical for Chicago.

In addition, Lala is a certified Pilate’s instructor, studying directly with Romana Kryzanowska, a Joseph Pilates protégée. She is also an associate member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers.

About Joe Leonard
A 1989 graduate of CCM’s Theater Design and Production Department, Joe Leonard has designed shows for the University of Cincinnati, Xavier University, LaComedia Dinner Theater, Kings Island, Kings Dominion, Carowinds, Great America and Canada’s Wonderland. His design credits include such shows as Into the WoodsDirty Rotten ScoundrelsPippinTwelfth NightOne Flew Over the Cuckcoo’s NestA Christmas CarolThe Drowsy ChaperoneSeven Brides for Seven BrothersHairspray and Mary Poppins.

Leonard has used his training in a wide variety of mediums including theme park rides, exhibits, and graphic and architecture design work with companies such as Paramount Parks D+E, Herschend Family Entertainment and Walt Disney World. He designed the themed environments of Outer Limits: Flight of Fear, an indoor roller coaster and was the lead designer of the award-winning attraction, Star Trek: the Experience at the Las Vegas Hilton. Leonard has worked with a variety of production companies designing sets for special events and conventions like the 2012 World Choir Games in Cincinnati.

In addition to live entertainment, Leonard has used his set design talents in the creation of museum exhibits including the current Jellyfish Exhibit at the Newport Aquarium, the fully automated Global Village Experience at Matthew 25 Ministries in Blue Ash and the traveling exhibit, Titanic: The Movie on Tour.  Leonard is thrilled to return to the CCM Stage where his work was last seen in the 1989 productions of The House of Bernarda Alba and The Wonder Years for Hot Summer Nights.

Performance Times

  • 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 23
  • 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 24
  • 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25
  • 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 26
  • 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 30
  • 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 31
  • 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 1
  • 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 2

Location
Patricia Corbett Theater, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

Purchasing Tickets

Tickets to Legally Blonde are $31-35 for adults, $20-24 for non-UC students and $18-22 UC students with a valid ID, with $12-$15 student rush tickets available for both of the Saturday matinees beginning at 1 p.m. on Oct. 25 and Nov. 1.

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/legally-blonde-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

Mainstage Production Sponsor: Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC

Community Partner: ArtsWave

Legally Blonde: The Musical is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI. 421 West 54th Street, New York, NY 10019 | Phone: 212-541-4684 | Fax: 212-397-4684 | http://www.MTIShows.com

CCM News
CCM's Mainstage Series proudly presents MACBETH, playing Oct. 2 - 5, 2014. Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM Slideshows: Macbeth

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CCM’s 2014-15 Mainstage Series opens with a dynamic new production of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, playing tonight through Sunday, Oct. 5, in Patricia Corbett Theater.

In the dark and twisted landscape of 11th century Scotland, Macbeth will go to any means necessary to prove that he’s a man (even if this Macbeth is played by a woman). With the help of his wife, and pushed by a trio of gnarly creatures (witches who were women once), Macbeth schemes to take the throne and eliminate anyone standing in his way.

Brant Russell directs this iconic tragedy in his Mainstage Series debut!

Performance Times

  • 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. 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 CCM Slideshows
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
'Metamorphoses,' from CCM's acclaimed 2013-14 Mainstage Series.

Announcing CCM’s 2014-15 Mainstage Series of Opera, Musical Theatre and Drama

The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) is pleased to announce initial details for its 2014-15 Mainstage Series of opera, musical theatre and drama productions.

The 2014-15 Mainstage Series features a dazzling collection of both classic and contemporary masterworks, including a gender-bending new production of Shakespeare’s gripping tragedy Macbeth, an extended run of the high-energy romantic-comedy Legally Blonde – The Musical and a magical production of the opera Hänsel and Gretel.

In early 2015, CCM’s student and faculty artists will also present Wendy Wasserstein’s Pulitzer Prize-winning and zeitgeist-dominating The Heidi Chronicles and a soaring musical production of Peter Pan. Mozart’s Così fan tutte will close out the series, with a new production directed by Robin Guarino, who recently staged this masterpiece at the Metropolitan Opera.

This year’s must-see Mainstage Series features six fully staged works guaranteed to fill audiences with delight, with performances scheduled from Oct. 1, 2014, through April 12, 2015. All performances take place in the Corbett Center for the Performing Arts on the University of Cincinnati campus.

Production and ticketing details are below. Priority subscription packages go on sale May 2014. Single tickets become available in August, but subscribing is the only way to guarantee your seats for these must-see shows!

Visit ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice/subscribe to register for CCM’s mailing list, and the Box Office will provide you with additional information on this year’s subscription options.

Additional Information
Titles and dates are subject to change—rights pending. To order subscriptions, contact the CCM Box Office at 513-556-4183. For additional information, visit ccm.uc.edu, email boxoff@uc.edu or call the Box Office.
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.

CCM News CCM Slideshows Student Salutes

CCM’s Mainstage Opera Series Presents Donizetti’s ‘Don Pasquale’ April 3-6

William Tvrdik as the title character in CCM's Mainstage Series production of 'Don Pasquale.' Photography by Mark Lyons.

William Tvrdik as the title character in CCM’s Mainstage Series production of ‘Don Pasquale.’ Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM’s Mainstage Opera Series proudly presents Gaetano Donizetti’s Don Pasquale from April 3–6 in UC’s Patricia Corbett Theater. This beloved opera buffa is conducted by Mark Gibson with stage direction by accomplished artist’s diploma student Omer Ben-Seadia. The opera will be sung in Italian with English supertitles.

A comedic masterpiece that has captivated audiences since its 1843 premiere, Don Pasquale remains one of the most popular of Donizetti’s nearly 70 operas. On its surface, the opera details the plight of Ernesto, who fights to follow his heart rather than marry the woman his haughty old uncle Don Pasquale thinks he should. Outraged, the lifelong bachelor Pasquale decides to cut Ernesto out of his will and simply father his own heir, instead! A series of uproarious twists and turns ensues as a raucous ensemble of characters begin to take over the Pasquale homestead.

While it is easy to root for Ernesto and true love to prevail, Ben-Seadia suggests that it is Don Pasquale who serves as the true hero of this opera. She explains, “With all that is at stake, Pasquale is the one willing to risk it all… not just for love but for life. Sure we love to see him fail, but after all is said and done we look at Pasquale not with pity, but with the hope that he in fact will try again.”

Don Pasquale's house staff. Photography by Tom Umfrid.

Don Pasquale’s house staff. Photography by Tom Umfrid.

CCM News

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