CCM continues its 2014-15 Mainstage Series with the classic fairytale musical Peter Pan. Directed and choreographed by guest artist Joe Locarro, with musical direction by CCM Professor of Musical Theatre Roger Grodsky, this production promises to whisk audiences away to a place where dreams are born and no one ever grows up! Peter Pan makes its CCM debut at 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 5, in Corbett Auditorium and plays through March 8, 2015. Tickets are on sale now.
Based on J.M. Barrie’s classic tale and featuring an unforgettable score by Morris “Moose” Charlap and Jule Styne with lyrics by Carolyn Leigh and Betty Comden and Adolph Green, Peter Pan is one of the most beloved family favorites of all time. This high-flying Tony Award-winning musical has been performed around the world and delighted audiences for 60 years.
Peter Pan’s enduring status comes as no surprise to Locarro, who brings years of Broadway experience to CCM’s production. In addition to providing perspective on the end of the Victorian Era, Locarro explains that Barrie’s fairy tale is also “a story of longing and the continuum of life. Although Peter Pan is the catalyst, it is really Wendy’s journey through adolescence and subsequently the journey of her daughter Jane and Jane’s daughter after that. Having a 20-year-old daughter of my own, I too see the importance of this journey for all of our children and understand why Peter Pan is popular to this day.”
While CCM is widely known for its remarkable stage productions, audiences can expect something truly remarkable for this production of Peter Pan. This is thanks to Locarro’s unique vision and also to an exciting collaboration between CCM’s faculty, student and staff talent and the expertise of theatrical flying effects and equipment industry leaders, ZFX, Inc. CCM Professor of Drama and Peter Pan fight choreographer k. Jenny Jones explains, “ZFX Flying Effects and I are creating sword fights with aerial dynamics that have never been tried before. Several years ago, I commissioned ZFX for a study of the variables of fighting while flying, and how flying may enhance the action of staged combat. The duel between Peter and Hook in this production is a perfect representation of this research and it will make CCM’s Peter Pan quite special.”
ZFX is one of the many professional industry leaders in theatre technology that will be in Cincinnati for the 55th annual United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) Conference and Stage Expo, which comes to the Duke Energy Convention Center March 18-21, 2015. Expo attendees will have the opportunity to visit CCM Village to see Peter Pan‘s groundbreaking flying effects set up for themselves even after the production has closed.
Hannah Zazzaro, a senior from Clearwater, Florida, is one of two CCM students playing the demanding part of Peter Pan. She shares the role with junior musical theatre major Clara Cox. The role of Peter Pan will alternate between Cox (March 6; March 7 matinee) and Zazzaro (March 5; March 7; March 8 matinee).
Zazzaro’s preparation began back in November when she read and re-read the script and watched every version of Peter Pan that she could find. Her goal was to understand her part in the storytelling and to know the text forward and backward. “Peter Pan is a demanding role in every way,” says Zazzaro. “I have to run, jump, fly, dance, sing while flying, do cartwheels, and sword fight both in the air and on the ground. I started a 60-day physical training program called ‘Insanity’ that I will continue to do regularly through the end of the show… and maybe even after because I like it so much!”
In addition to her copious musical theatre experience, Zazzaro is a classically trained singer, which makes her a perfect choice for this role. “My favorite part of the show is when Peter Pan turns into a ‘lady’ and sings a short aria with Captain Hook. This show has given me the opportunity to finally show off my low notes, my high belt and my high soprano! It’s so much fun,” she says enthusiastically.
Under Jones’ guidance, Zazzaro has also learned to sword fight. “Three things that I know I have to focus on are: trusting my wrists and allowing my sword to swing rather than forcing it to, having a spacial understanding with whomever I’m swinging at, and communicating with them through body language in order to be successful and safe,” Zazzaro explains. Mastering all of these things at once has been challenging, but Zazzaro states it’s been “completely worth it.”
Senior Dallas Padoven plays the role of Cecco the pirate alongside Zazzaro, but he faces his own unique challenges. Padoven is also Captain Hook’s understudy, meaning he has to be prepared to take on the iconic villain’s role on short notice. “Preparing for two characters is extremely interesting,” says Padoven. “I have to be on my toes while working at all times. While I am learning the pirate role, I also have to keep one eye on Hook to make sure I know what he is doing. I am in the same scenes as two different characters.”
Both Zazzaro and Padoven agree that working with Locarro has been wonderful. “He has a lot of experience in the field,” says Padoven. “While we are working with him we are figuring out our blocking and choreography but he also tells us about various shows he’s been in. He really teaches through personal stories, so we’ve learned a lot, especially things like what to do and not to do in audition and rehearsal situations.”
Zazzaro particularly appreciates Locarro’s attention to detail. “One of the hardest things is the Corbett Auditorium. The stage is huge, but it has seemed almost effortless for Joe to create pictures that fill out the entire stage.”
CCM’s production of Peter Pan also features scenic design by Mark Halpin, costume design by Dean Mogle and Rebecca Senske, lighting design by Chris Carter, sound design by Jeremy Lee and wig and make-up design by Kelly Yurko. With the iconic songs “I’m Flying,” “I Gotta Crow,” “I Won’t Grow Up” and “Never Never Land,” and a rousing book full of magic, warmth and adventure, Peter Pan is the perfect show for the child in all of us who dreamed of soaring high and never growing up.
About Joe Locarro
Joe Locarro is a director, choreographer and producer who has directed for stage, film and television. His film Finding Billy was nominated for two New York Emmy Awards (for best direction and best documentary) and was an official selection of the 2012 Dance on Camera Festival. Finding Billy has also been broadcast nationally on PBS for the past five years.
Locarro’s recent directing credits include two seasons of the PBS National series Intelligence Squared Debates, productions of Les Misérables for the University of Michigan Musical Theatre Department (April 2014) and Music Theatre of Wichita (August 2013), and the PBS series Vine Talk starring Stanley Tucci. Some of his PBS specials include Remember Me with Parsons Dance Co & The East Village Opera Company, A Tale of Two Cities in Concert and three specials with Deepak Chopra.
Locarro specializes in filming and editing dance, theatre and music and is currently guest director for the live web broadcasts from Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Appel Room. He has also directed numerous stage productions including regional productions of Ragtime and Les Misérables.
Locarro began his career as a dancer and choreographer, dancing with the Boston, Joffrey and Hartford Ballet Companies creating and choreographing 30 works for dance companies across the U.S. After a career in ballet, he went on to perform on Broadway and first national tours in six musicals including the role of ‘Enjolras’ in Les Misérables (both on Broadway and in the first national tour), the original Broadway companies of Ragtime, Goodbye Girl and Merlin as well as the role of Munkstrap in Cats and West Side Story.
Locarro brings his many years of performance experience to his work with artists and arts organizations. He continues to film and edit for dance companies around the world, as well as create promotional videos and documentaries for arts organizations and individual artists.
About ZFX, Inc.
Founded in 1994, ZFX, Inc. is the complete service provider for Flying Effects. They don’t just handle the rigging or flying harnesses. They’re not just skilled at automation, choreography and flying design. ZFX covers every aspect of flying possibilities. From high schools to Broadway, churches to special events, ZFX zealously pursues its goal of worldwide domination of the performer flying industry. Their infectious enthusiasm comes at no additional charge. They don’t wake up and put their pants on one leg at a time like the other guys. They wrap themselves in kilts and stride boldly out into the world. ZFX offers performer flying, high speed hoists, flying of props, automated systems, stunt gags, truss equipment mounting, aerial acts, manually operated systems, corporate shows and events, custom harnesses, spectacle flying and safety consultation. Learn more by visiting www.zfxflying.com.
- 8 p.m. Thursday, March 5
- 8 p.m. Friday, March 6
- 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, March 7
- 2 p.m. Sunday, March 8
Corbett Auditorium, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati
Tickets to Peter Pan are $31-35 for adults, $20-24 for non-UC students and $18-22 UC students with a valid ID.
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/peter-pan-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
Mainstage Production Sponsor: Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC
Community Partner: ArtsWave
Peter Pan 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