Ryan Garrett, Katie Langham and Owen Alderson in CCM's 'Speech and Debate' Photo by Richard E. Hess.

CCM’s Studio Series Presents the Dark Comedy ‘Speech and Debate’ Nov. 6-8

Owen Alderson, Ryan Garrett and Katie Langham in CCM's production of 'Speech and Debate.' Photo by Richard E. Hess.

Owen Alderson, Ryan Garrett and Katie Langham in CCM’s production of ‘Speech and Debate.’ Photo by Richard E. Hess.

CCM’s Department of Drama presents the regional premiere of Pulitzer Prize nominee Stephen Karam’s Speech and Debate as part of this fall’s Studio Series. Directed by CCM’s A.B., Dolly, Ralph and Julia Cohen Chair of Dramatic Performance Richard E. Hess, the production opens Thursday, Nov. 6, and plays through Saturday, Nov. 8.

Like all Studio Series productions, admission to Speech and Debate is free, but reservations are required. Tickets become available at noon on Monday, Nov. 3. This production features adult themes and is recommended for mature audiences.

According to Hess, Speech and Debate is “a 90 minute intermission-less romp through high school experienced by three socially awkward misfits. The play is a cry to be noticed from students on the fringe.”

“Both gender and sexual identity play a large role in this play.  [It’s] a recipe for comedy in dark and disturbing moments of angst,” Hess explains.

Sophomore Katie Langham discusses her experience playing the irreverent Diwata, a young woman who envisions her future on Broadway but can’t seem to get a part in the school play: “She keeps me on my toes and constantly surprises me. Playing this character is delightfully freeing because she’s so experimental in her own artistic life.”

“Each rehearsal is a time to play and explore, maybe regress back to the days of high school and re-discover adolescent feelings of precociousness, uncertainty and insecurity,” says Langham. It’s this attitude of discovery that makes the characters of Speech and Debate so authentic and engaging.

The play will take advantage of technology to enhance the storytelling. “A crucial plot element in the play is revealed in the very first scene,” Hess explains, “A computer conversation told entirely through projections when an 18 year old high school senior begins cruising on a gay chat line. This event sets the play in motion.”

About Richard E. Hess
Richard E. Hess has been the Chair of CCM Drama for the past 20 years. Recent directing credits at CCM include The CrucibleThe Laramie ProjectCoram BoyRENTYou Can’t Take It With You (ACCLAIM Award winner Outstanding University Play), Anon(ymous) (ACCLAIM Award winner Outstanding Play), Brigadoon (Cincinnati Entertainment Award for Outstanding Musical) and Tony Kushner’s Angels in AmericaPart One: Millennium Approaches (Cincinnati Entertainment Award for Best Ensemble Acting).

He made his New York directing debut at the Laurie Beechman Theatre on 42nd Street directing AN EVENING OF (Mostly) TRUE SONGS (with Andrea Burns), a new incarnation of Don’t Look Down, the music and lyrics of Adam Wagner, first seen in the Cincinnati Fringe Festival. Favorite directing credits at the Human Race Theatre Co., where he has been a resident artist since 1996, include RaceRedDoubtProofI Am My Own Wife and A Delicate Balance. He directed Miracle on South Division Street for the Human Race in September 2014.

Other credits include the Los Angeles staging of the one-woman show Besame MuchoO.K. That’s Enough (with Diana Maria Riva) and the smash hits The Pages of My Diary I’d Rather Not Read and The Catholic Girl’s Guide to Losing Your Virginity, both of which enjoyed sold out runs at the Hudson Theatre in Los Angeles. For five years Hess was the artistic director of Hot Summer Nights in Cincinnati, where he directed Violet (with Ashley Brown), Hello, Dolly! (with Pamela Myers), Godspell (with Shoshana Bean and Leslie Kritzer) and the premiere of We Tell The Story: The Songs of Ahrens and Flaherty, in collaboration with Stephen Flaherty.

He studied with the internationally acclaimed director Anne Bogart and members of the Saratoga International Theatre Institute (SITI Co.) in New York and Los Angeles for the past decade. He has worked with the KNOW Theatre, the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, the Chautauqua Institution, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Pops and Cincinnati Opera Education. He is proud of fostering the new work of playwrights and has directed first productions of Richard Oberacker and Rob Taylor’s Don’t Make Me Pull This Show Over: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Parenting, Mark Halpin’s The Kid in the Dark, Ben Magnuson’s Four Minutes and Tom Korbee’s Will It Ever Stop Raining?

He made his debut as a playwright/creator in the Cincinnati Fringe Festival with (UN)Natural Disaster created with 13 actors and performed in an abandoned building in Over-the-Rhine. (UN)Natural Disaster was named the Producer’s Pick of the Fringe and subsequently re-mounted on the 2010 New York International Fringe Festival.

In June of 2011, Hess directed The Collapsible Space Between Us with the Dadaab Theater Project, comprised of five CCM Drama students, which was presented with eight refugees from the Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya for World Refugee Day sponsored by the United Nations in Nairobi, Kenya. He returned to Kenya as a Fulbright Scholar in 2014 and taught acting and directing at Kenyatta University in Nairobi and researched the creation of original works by creating KUMI NA MBILI (12), a stage show and a short film.

Hess was named Ernest Glover Outstanding Teacher at UC in 1999 and again in 2012 and was also named the ACCLAIM Award Theatre Trailblazer in 2009. He is an associate member of the Society of Directors and Choreographers (SDC).

Cast List

Ryan Garrett as Howie
Owen Alderson as Solomon
Katie Langham as Diwata
Sarah Davenport as Teacher and others
Colleen Ladrick as Reporter and others

Performance Times

  • 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 6
  • 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 7
  • 2 & 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 8

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, November 3. 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

Drama Studio Series Sponsor: Neil Artman & Margaret Straub

CCM News

CCM Alumni Create Thrills and Chills in ‘Gone Girl’ Movie

CCM alumnus Cooper Thornton as Dr. Benson, leaning over Ben Affleck in the film 'Gone Girl.'

CCM alumnus Cooper Thornton as Dr. Benson, leaning over Ben Affleck in the film ‘Gone Girl.’

While movie audiences were gasping for the last few weekends, two CCM alumni were grinning. Not that the grads had morbid senses of humor, but they were appreciating the fact that their creative talents were partially responsible for Ben Affleck’s new thriller, Gone Girl, taking top box-office honors at $38 million during its Oct. 3-5 debut. Dawn Swiderski (BFA Theatre Design & Production, 1989) was the film’s art director and actor Cooper Thornton (MFA Dramatic Performance, 1992) played the role of Dr. Benson.

Affleck portrays a man whose beautiful wife goes missing on their fifth wedding anniversary. “ Under pressure from the police and a growing media frenzy, Nick’s portrait of a blissful union begins to crumble,” say Twentieth Century Fox’s promotional materials. “Soon his lies, deceits and strange behavior have everyone asking the same dark question.”

David Fincher directed the film, based upon Gillian Flynn’s bestseller.

Swiderski and Thornton both have a long list of movie and TV credits attached to their names. Some of Swiderski’s best known works are The Girl with the Dragon TattooX-Men: First Class and Angels & Demons, starring Tom Hanks — a film in which the Art Directors Guild nominated her for best production design.

Thornton, known as Ray Thornton in college, is an actor, writer and producer, who is best known for his appearances on a variety of TV shows, including Parks and Recreation in the recurring role of Dr. Harris, “NCISNCIS: Los Angeles and House.

Learn more via Deborah Rieselman and  UC Magazine here.

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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.
____

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's Cohen Family Studio Theater.

CCM Announces 2014-15 Studio Series of Opera, Musical Theatre, Drama and Dance

With free admission and limited seating, CCM’s innovative and award-winning Studio Series remains one of the hottest tickets in Cincinnati.

This season’s Studio Series includes eight exciting productions showcasing CCM’s “rising stars.” The series opens in October with the energetic musical Blood Brothers and concludes in April with the profoundly funny drama You’re Welcome (A Cycle of Bad Plays).

Other highlights include Monteverdi’s masterful opera The Coronation of Poppea in February and the Dance Department’s annual Student Choreographer’s Showcase in March.

CCM News
201415CCMSeasonBrochureCoverFINAL(crop)

CCM’s 2014-15 Season Brochure Now Available Online

201415CCMSeasonBrochureCoverFINALGet swept away by CCM’s 2014-15 Performance Season.

For nearly 150 years, our performing and media arts events have served as the first steps of a journey that eventually takes our students far beyond the CCM Village. You can be a part of that journey this year as our talented young artists and accomplished faculty members present nearly 60 major concert and theatre productions designed to move your senses, your sensibilities and your soul.

Join us for a season that will set our “rising stars” on a path to some of the most renowned stages in the world. The season is yours. Get swept away.

Download a digital copy of CCM’s 2014-15 brochure, and plan your journey today. Physical copies are also available at the CCM Box Office.

Subscription and flex ticket packages are on sale now. Single tickets go on sale Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014.

For more details about CCM’s 2014-15 performance schedule, contact the CCM Box Office at 513-556-4183 or visit ccm.uc.edu.

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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