Broadway's Cinderella.

CCM Alumna Stephanie Jae Park Performs in National Tour of ‘Cinderella’

CCM alumna Stephanie Jae Park.

CCM alumna Stephanie Jae Park.

We are thrilled to report that CCM alumna Stephanie Jae Park (BFA Musical Theatre, 2014) has been cast in the national tour of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, which is due at Cincinnati’s Aronoff Center early next year!

The Tony Award-winning Broadway musical from the creators of Oklahoma! and The King and I will delight local audiences Jan. 6 – 18, 2015.

Park’s previous credits include Tuptim in The King and I at the St. Louis Muny. At CCM, she played the role of Cosette in the acclaimed Mainstage Series production of Les Misérables. She also played Marcy Park in the Showboat Majestic’s production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.

Learn more by visiting www.stephaniejaepark.com.

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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

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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 Alumnus Max Clayton Cast in Broadway-Bound Revival of ‘Gigi’

CCM alumnus Max Clayton.

CCM alumnus Max Clayton.

We are thrilled to report that CCM alumnus Max Clayton (BFA Musical Theatre, 2014) has just been cast in the Broadway-bound revival of Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe’s Oscar and Tony Award-winning musical Gigi.

Gigi is set to play a pre-Broadway engagement in the Eisenhower Theater at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. The show will officially open on Jan. 29, 2015, and will play a limited engagement through to Feb. 12, before moving on to the Great White Way later next year.

Clayton has kept busy since graduating just last spring. He was recently seen as Gabey in On the Town at the Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre in Chicago and as Slim in Lyric Opera of Chicago’s production of Oklahoma! The Chicago Tribune hailed Clayton’s performance in On the Town, calling him “an excellent lead.”

CCM audiences last saw Clayton as Don Lockwood in Singin’ in the Rain and as Macheath in The Threepenny Opera.

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Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM’s ‘Legally Blonde’ Receives Rave Reviews

Photography by Mark Lyons.The critics are praising CCM’s current production of Legally Blonde – The Musical, which plays through a matinee performance on Sunday, Nov. 2!

In his review for the Sappy Critic, Kirk Sheppard writes, “Legally Blonde – The Musical is an energetic, satisfying show and CCM has brought all of the elements together continuing their reputation as one of the best musical theatre programs in the country.” Sheppard singles out the performance of senior Lawson Young (one of two CCM students playing Elle Woods in this double-cast production), going so far as to say, “Of the five [different] productions I’ve seen, she’s by far the best and that includes the national tour and the [Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera] last summer.”

David Lyman has similar praise for the production and for senior Sarah Bishop in his review for the Cincinnati Enquirer. “What’s really refreshing about this production,” he observes, “is that, as Elle, Sarah Bishop gives a measure of humanity that we rarely get to see. We see Elle develop a conscience and compassion and – heaven forbid – come to love a man to whom she never would have given the time of day at the outset of the show.”

The News Record‘s review praised the entire company, with Aidan Smith writing, “The humor offered by every cast member made this musical stand out, and it showed in the audience’s constant giggling.”

“Featuring strong performances, fun choreography, and a superb set design, this mounting is a true crowd pleaser,” Scott Cain observes in his review for Talkin’ Broadway.

In his review for Behind the Curtain Cincinnati, Rob Bucher calls CCM’s production, “a very fun and entertaining show. Excellent work.”

Rick Pender profiles Legally Blonde director/choreographer and CCM Professor of Musical Theatre Diane Lala in his “Curtain Call” column for Cincinnati CityBeat, observing that “the evidence of her success is currently onstage at CCM’s Patricia Corbett Theater.”

You have five more chances to catch this all-singing, all-dancing production… and tickets are still available!

Performance Times

  • 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 the Saturday matinee beginning at 1 p.m. on 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

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Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM’s Mainstage Production of ‘Legally Blonde’ Receives a 4.5 Star Rating from the League of Cincinnati Theatres

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.

We are tickled pink to report that panelists for the League of Cincinnati Theatres (LCT) have recognized CCM’s Mainstage Series production of Legally Blonde – The Musical with a 4.5 star recommendation.

Panelists loved the CCM production, with one individual reporting: “Going back to college for the opening night of CCM‘s Legally Blonde did not disappoint! The stage becomes a powerhouse of song and dance… Ohmigod you guys, just go see this show and have a lot of fun.”

Panelists praised Diane Lala’s “well designed and executed” choreography (“the highlight of the show”) and guest scenic designer/CCM alumnus Joe Leonard’s “spectacular” scenic design: “Sophisticated…transforms constantly and seamlessly.”

Lead actress Lawson Young as Elle, lead actor Chris Collins-Pisano as Emmett, and supporting actress Madeline Lynch as Paulette were all singled out for their outstanding performances, but panelists gave kudos to all the performers: “The real strength of this musical was the total ensemble singing and dancing their hearts out for the pure joy felt by the audience.”

Legally Blonde plays tonight through next Sunday, Nov. 2, in Patricia Corbett Theater. Tickets are on sale now. Learn more by visiting ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice/legally-blonde-mainstage.

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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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.

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CCM Spring Dance Concert

CCM Dance Invited to Perform at the Beijing Dance Academy’s 60th Anniversary International Gala Celebration This Month

Photo copyright Luke Isley.

Choreography by guest artist Michael Bearden. Photo copyright Luke Isley.

We are delighted to report that CCM’s Department of Dance has been invited to perform at the Beijing Dance Academy‘s 60th anniversary international gala celebration later on this month.

Twenty schools from around the world have been invited to participate in this event, including just two other representatives from the United States: SUNY Purchase College’s Conservatory of Dance and Brigham Young University’s Department of Dance.

This celebration runs Oct. 10 – 16 and includes performances, lectures and exchange classes in Beijing. Five dance majors will be participating in this celebration: Luca De-Poli, Regina DuPont, Gabrielle Gulan, Dominic Barrett and Claire Bergman. They will be performing Simpatico, choreographed by guest artist Michael Bearden. This piece will also be presented locally in CCM’s Fall Dance Concert later on this semester (Dec. 5 – 7).

These students will gain international performance and study abroad experience during this trip, while also strengthening  CCM’s relationship with the world-renowned Beijing Dance Academy, paving the way for future exchange programs and job opportunities. CCM Dance Chair Jiang Qi and CCM Dean Peter Landgren will also be traveling to China for this celebration.

This invitation is just the latest example of CCM Dance’s ever-rising profile. Earlier this year, Dance Magazine named CCM one of “three top programs to consider.” Read the full report here.

The Dance Department gratefully acknowledges the support of the Corbett Endowment at CCM.

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