CCM opens its 2015-16 Mainstage Series with David Edgar’s captivating drama Pentecost, playing Oct. 1 – 4 with a special preview performance on Wednesday, Sept. 30. The worlds of art and politics violently collide in this award-winning thriller, which the New York Times calls “a smashing ideological epic.”

Directed by CCM Drama Chair Richard Hess, Pentecost brings art, language, conflict and current events to life in Patricia Corbett Theater.

PENTECOSTwebflyerPentecost details the discovery of a painting stunningly similar to Giotto di Bondone’s The Lamentation of Christ in an abandoned church in Eastern Europe. If proven to pre-date the master’s work, the fresco will revolutionize Western Art and the Renaissance as we know it. A dramatic power struggle ensues, as representatives from the worlds of art history, religion and politics stake their claims for the ultimate prize. The unexpected arrival of 12 asylum seekers speaking eight different languages sets events spiraling toward an explosive climax.

Edgar’s 1994 play remains remarkably relevant in the current political and cultural climate. “I never would have guessed that the daily headlines during every day of the rehearsal process would be filled with stories of the greatest wave of asylum seekers that the world has witnessed since World War II,” says Hess. “To be confronted each day with harrowing images of individuals so desperate for a new life was  a sobering reminder that not only does life imitate art, but our art must also imitate life.”

A bureaucratic and humanitarian debate is written into the very fabric of the play, one that raises challenging questions about moral and legal obligations presently confronting the world’s leaders today. On the one hand Pentecost is a fascinating tale of art, intellect and history, but on the other hand it is also a stimulating commentary on sociopolitical realities that transcend historical context.

Learn more about CCM’s Mainstage Series production of David Edgar’s Pentecost, courtesy of the Cincinnati Enquirer, by visiting

Learn more about the cast and production team by visiting

This production contains mature subject matter.

About Richard Hess
Richard E. Hess has been Chair of CCM Drama for the past 20 years. Recent directing credits at CCM include The Crucible, The Laramie Project, Coram Boy, RENT, You 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 America, Part 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 Race, Red, Doubt, Proof, I Am My Own Wife, A Delicate Balance and Miracle on South Division Street. Other credits include the Los Angeles staging of the one-woman show Besame Mucho, O.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 Know Theatre of Cincinnati, 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, performed in an abandoned building in Over-the-Rhine, and named the Producer’s Pick of the Fringe. (UN)Natural Disaster was 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 and 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 named the ACCLAIM Award Theatre Trailblazer in 2009. He is an associate member of the Society of Directors and Choreographers (SDC).

Performance Times

  • 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sep. 30 (preview)
  • 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1
  • 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2
  • 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3
  • 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 4

Patricia Corbett Theater, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

Purchasing Tickets
Tickets to Pentecost are $27-31 for adults, $17-20 for non-UC students and $15-18 UC students with a valid ID. Tickets to the Sept. 30 preview performance are just $15.

Tickets can be purchased in person at the CCM Box Office, over the telephone at 513-556-4183 or online at

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 for more information on parking rates.

For detailed maps and directions, please visit 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 Season Presenting Sponsor and Musical Theatre Program Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation

Mainstage Season Production Sponsor: Macy’s

Community Partner: ArtsWave

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