CCM launches its 2011-12 Mainstage Series with a powerful tale of a bygone era, Helen Edmundson’s Coram Boy. This fascinating intertwining of drama and music runs from Oct. 26 (preview) through Oct. 30 in Patricia Corbett Theater on the University of Cincinnati campus.
Coram Boy is based on a children’s novel of the same name written in 2000, but its scope is more reminiscent of Charles Dickens’ storytelling: it is an insightful, sweeping, heart-piercing view of the 18th century. This epic thriller centers upon the Coram Foundling Hospital, an orphanage created at the dawn of entitlements in the Age of Enlightenment. The hardships of the children of the time, the deceit of the men who attempt to take advantage of the system, and the love and compassion of a society all combine to create the epic adventure that is Coram Boy. The play also utilizes excerpts from Handel’s Messiah, features 16 children from the Cincinnati Children’s Choir and requires every actor onstage to sing.
Director Richard E. Hess is excited to tackle the many challenges that come with Coram Boy. “I love big sprawling stories, and this title is perfect for a conservatory. It is impossible to stage, full of challenges and should not be approached by the faint of heart theatrically— and we’re doing it anyway,” says Hess. “There’s music, dancing, births and deaths, rich and poor, orphans and families, all in juxtaposition.” However, this friction is exactly what makes this play interesting. “It is a bit of a mash-up in styles. When you read it, it feels like a Dickens thriller. And yet, it’s set in 1750, not 1880. Then we add Handel’s music, a hero, a heroine, a villain, trials and tribulations, danger, violence, and redemption, and you have the perfect recipe for a melodrama. Coram Boy is unlike anything else.”
Although this vast play was nominated for six Tony Awards, for many in the Greater Cincinnati area, this is the first encounter with Coram Boy. Hess finds this exhilarating. “We love seeing stories we already know and we love sequels because the familiar is comfortable. However, isn’t it exciting to sit down with an audience and hear about a time, a place and a story you’ve never encountered?”
Coram Boy is written by Helen Edmundson with music by Adrian Sutton, adapted from the novel by Jamila Gavin. Produced by arrangement with Nick Hern Books.
- Wednesday, Oct. 26, 8 p.m. (preview)
- Thursday, Oct. 27, 8 p.m.
- Friday, Oct. 28, 8 p.m.
- Saturday, Oct. 29, 2 & 8 p.m.
- Sunday, Oct. 30, 2 p.m.
Patricia Corbett Theater, CCM Village
Tickets & Parking Information
Tickets to Coram Boy are $27 matinee/$29 for adults, $17 matinee/ $19 for students, and $11 for all audiences for the preview performance on October 26. Parking is available in the CCM Garage (at the base of Corry Boulevard off of Jefferson Avenue) and additional garages throughout the UC campus. For complete ticket and parking information, visit ccm.uc.edu or call the CCM Box Office at 513-556-4183.
Coram Boy Cast List:
- Bennett Bradley as “Mrs. Lynch” (Senior from Morehead, Kentucky)
- Bailie Breault as “Isobel Ashbrook” (Sophomore from Salt Lake City, Utah)
- William Brown as “Meshak Gardiner” (Sophomore from Asheville, NC)
- Zach Crowley as “Doctor Smith” (Sophomore from Batavia, Ohio)
- Cameron Jamaar Davis as “Doctor Smith” (Senior from St. Louis, Missouri)*
- Mack Harden as “George Frederick Handel” (Senior from Denver, Colorado)
- Claron Hayden as “Otis Gardiner” (Senior from Owensboro, Kentucky)
- Brynn Langford as “Mrs. Hendry” (Junior from The Woodlands, Texas)
- Graydon Long as “Sir William Ashbrook” (Senior from Perrysburg, Ohio)
- John Patrick Maddock as “Thomas Ledbury” (Sophomore from Arlington, Texas)
- Molly Massa as “Mrs. Milcote” (Junior from Baltimore, Maryland)
- Clifford Nunley III as “Mr. Claymore” (Junior from Houston, Texas)
- Ty Olwin as “Alexander Ashbrook” (Junior from Boulder, Colorado)
- Callie Schuttera as “Melissa Milcote” (Junior from Maineville, Ohio)
- Hope Shangle as “Lady Ashbrook” (Senior from Grand Rapids, Michigan)
- Shaun S. Sutton as “Toby” (Freshman from Overland Park, Kansas)
- Sarah Vargo as “Miss Price” (Sophomore from Mansfield, Ohio)
- John Garrett Walters as “Aaron Dangerfield” (Sophomore from Frankfort, Kentucky)
* 8 p.m. Sat., Oct. 29 performance only
CCM Season Presenting Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation
Mainstage Season Production Sponsor: Macy’s