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.

Cincinnati CityBeat Shows CCM Student, Alum and Upcoming Production Some Love in Latest Issue

CityBeat's "Love List" issue is on newsstands now.

CityBeat’s “Love List” issue is on newsstands now.

The Feb. 5 – 11 issue of CityBeat is on newsstands now and we are delighted to report that the magazine’s “Love List” features CCM alumnus Drew Klein and senior musical theatre major Blaine Krauss!

A graduate of CCM’s Electronic Media program, Klein has been making a name for himself as the Contemporary Arts Center’s first-ever performance curator. You can read his full profile here.

Krauss can next be seen as Jean Valjean in CCM’s upcoming Mainstage Series production of Les Misérables, playing Feb. 27 – March 9 in Patricia Corbett Theater. You can read his full profile here.

As if that wasn’t exciting enough, Rick Pender also previews this week’s production of Metamorphoses at CCM (also in Patricia Corbett Theater) and NKU’s upcoming production of Arabian Nights, both written by Mary Zimmerman.

Visit citybeat.com/cincinnati to view the full issue online.

CCM Performances and Collaborations Highlighted on Several “Best of 2013″ Lists

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As we ring in a new year, several local arts writers have released their “year in review” lists for 2013. Rafael de Acha, Mary Ellyn Hutton, Kirk Sheppard, Rick Pender and Janelle Gelfand help us take a look back at the year that was:

In his “best of” roundup for Music for All Seasons, Rafael de Acha commented, “(CCM) consistently achieves professional level in its numerous productions of operas, musicals and concerts which approached the four-digit mark this past year.” Last spring’s original production of Into a Lamplit Room: The Songs of Kurt Weill and the recent concert production of Verdi’s Don Carlos, along with CCM’s Mainstage Series productions of Singin’ in the Rain and Owen Wingrave, all received special mention in de Acha’s review.

Mary Ellyn Hutton presented her top 16 performances for Music in Cincinnati, which included three CCM productions: Verdi’s Don Carlos, Bach’s St. John Passion and Britten’s Owen Wingrave. Of Verdi’s Don Carlos, Hutton commented, “This gets my vote as perhaps the single finest concert of 2013 in Cincinnati.”

Compiled for The Snappy Critic, Kirk Sheppard‘s list of favorite theatre productions of 2013 included last spring’s Mainstage production of The Threepenny Opera and the Studio production of Parade produced in collaboration with the Carnegie in Covington. This past fall’s CCM productions of Carrie and Singin’ in the Rain also made Sheppard’s list.

Rick Pender included two CCM productions in his 2013 round up of theatre in Cincinnati for CityBeat. Last spring’s co-production of Parade with the Carnegie and the recent Mainstage production of Singin’ in the Rain received special attention.

Janelle Gelfand also included CCM’s massive concert production of Don Carlos in her list of “Top 13 Classical Music Shows in 2013″ for the Cincinnati Enquirer. In addition to her performance-specific list, she published a summary of “arts highlights” for the year, which included the work of the MYCincinnati after-school program in East Price Hill (learn more about CCM’s connection to the organization here) and the new partnership between Cincinnati’s World Piano Competition, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and CCM.

What were your favorite performances of 2013? What are you looking forward to most in 2014? Get a first look at what’s coming up at CCM in 2014 here!

Remembering the University of Cincinnati’s Wilson Auditorium

UC's Wilson Auditorium.

UC’s Wilson Auditorium.

This month, the University of Cincinnati says goodbye to the 81-year-old Wilson Auditorium, the debut venue for CCM’s Musical Theatre program (with the 1969 production of Sweet Charity) and the onetime home of CCM’s Department of Drama.

Originally opened in December of 1931, the building was constructed in remembrance of Obed J. Wilson, a local self-made businessman and arts advocate. At the time of its opening, the building featured then cutting-edge amenities including a projection room for “motion-and-sound pictures” with the capability of relaying radio broadcasts.

Vacant for the past decade and a half, Wilson Auditorium’s demolition was approved in 2006 and is scheduled to be completed this fall.

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To mark the end of an era, CCM Drama Chair Richard E. Hess looks back on the impressive legacy of Wilson Auditorium:

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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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CCM Productions Sweep Cincinnati Theatre Season Round-Ups

'Street Scene' photography by Mark Lyons.

‘Street Scene’ photography by Mark Lyons.

The League of Cincinnati Theatres (LCT) held its annual award ceremony on Monday, May 20, and we are happy to report that CCM productions took home an impressive six major awards for Excellence in Theatre! Continue reading

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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CityBeat’s Annual ‘Best of Cincinnati’ Issue Spotlights CCM

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We are delighted to be named “Best Place to Catch a Rising Star” in CityBeat‘s annual Best of Cincinnati issue, which is on newsstands (and available online) now! CityBeat‘s editors write:

UC’s College-Conservatory of Music is one of the top three musical theater programs in the nation. Every year hundreds of aspiring high school kids audition for one of 20 or so slots in the freshman class. (That’s more selective than most Division I sports teams.) Following graduation, they head straight for Broadway where multiple productions typically feature CCM alumni. It’s not unusual for one or two to be nominated for Tony Awards, such as Karen Olivo as Anita in the recent revival of West Side Story.

We are equally thrilled to report that CCM student Kris Rucinski was recognized for performing the year’s “Best Piano Concerto” during last November’s American Voices XV concert. Again, CityBeat‘s editors write:

At a November American Voices concert honoring great American Modernist composers, UC College-Conservatory of Music first-year graduate student Kris Rucinski wowed and thrilled an audience with his performance of Lou Harrison’s challenging, complicated Piano Concerto. The late Harrison wrote it for Keith Jarrett, an indication of just how demanding a work it is. By turns fiery and meditative, developing through four challenging movements, it is as much Cecil Taylor-ish eruptive Jazz as it is calm Classical, but Rucinski showed himself more than up for the task and ready to be Jarrett’s successor – or anyone’s. One only hopes there are more chances to see him while he is a student here and before he becomes an in-demand concert soloist.

We would like to congratulate all of our friends and partners also featured in this special issue of CityBeat, too!

High Praise for CCM’s Kurt Weill Festival

CCM presents 'The Threepenny Opera.' Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM presents ‘The Threepenny Opera.’ Photography by Mark Lyons.

This weekend is your last chance to catch CCM’s acclaimed productions of both The Threepenny Opera (March 8 – 10) and the brand-new Kurt Weill revue Into a Lamplit Room (March 10).

The critics have had high praise for both productions, with CityBeat’s Rick Pender calling The Threepenny Opera “authentic,” “compelling” and “visually stunning” and Seen and Heard International‘s Rafael de Acha calling Into a Lamplit Room “heavenly!”

See what the critics have said for yourselves here:

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CCM Slideshows: The Threepenny Opera

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CCM proudly presents The Threepenny Opera, running tonight, March 1, through Sunday, March 10, in UC’s Patricia Corbett Theater. Tickets are on sale now. This production contains mature subject matter.

Learn more The Threepenny Opera here.

“[Stage Director Robin] Guarino fearlessly goes back to the musical satire’s socio-political roots in 1920s Berlin,” Jackie Demaline writes in her review for the Cincinnati Enquirer. “Everything about The Threepenny Opera carries out Guarino’s vision, as the cast prowl scenic designer John Arnone’s industrial set of catwalks, with the small orchestra (in costume) perched at the top. Musical director Roger Grodsky as always asks much and gets all from singers and musicians.”

Read Demaline’s full review here.

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