CCM opens its 2015-16 Studio Series with a new production of Roger Miller and William Hauptman’s Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, playing Oct. 8 – 10, 2015, in CCM’s Cohen Family Studio Theater. Directed by Vince DeGeorge with musical direction by Steve Goers and choreography by Patti James, Big River will keep audiences’ toes tapping for four performances.

Like all Studio Series productions, admission to Big River is free, but reservations are required. Tickets become available at the CCM Box Office at noon on Monday, Oct. 5.

Winner of three Tony awards, including Best Musical, Big River is an irrepressible adaptation of Mark Twain’s timeless tale. The show brings to life all of the characters from the original novel: Widow Douglas, the King and Duke, Pap Finn, Tom Sawyer and – of course – Huck and Jim.

Vince DeGeorge, newly appointed Assistant Professor and Joseph Weinberger Chair of Acting for the Lyric Stage at CCM, returns to the Cohen Family Studio Theater to direct Big River. Formerly a Visiting Professor at CCM, his Studio Series productions of Blood Brothers and 110 in the Shade last season proved a smash with critics and audiences alike, so anticipation is high for his latest production in the Studio Theater. “I love to take things that are very large and distill them down to what is most elemental about them,” DeGeorge says of directing in CCM’s intimate black box performance space.

Last seen at CCM in an “expansive” 1994 Mainstage production, Big River will be very different this time around. “It’s an exciting challenge for me and it’s exciting for the students as well, because when you really distill things down, it allows the actors and the story to shine,” says DeGeorge of adapting a large musical for a small space. This applies to the music as well; the orchestrations are new for this production and will utilize a bluegrass quartet.

In addition to the cast and music, the technical elements will play a vital role in telling the story, “The show is very organic, very ‘of nature,’ and most of it takes place on the river. Lighting and sound are extremely important to place the audience in that world. Also, what’s brilliant about the set is that the designer kept stripping it down until we found a simple, clear language that supports the whole story,” DeGeorge explains.

A crucial piece of the story is the river itself. Over the last century, commentators have described the river in Twain’s novel as a powerful symbol of freedom and possibility for Huck and Jim. Accordingly, it is on the river where much of the musical’s action takes place. How will this iconic symbol be portrayed in such an intimate space? “Oh, I can’t give that away!” laughs DeGeorge.

DeGeorge’s production of Big River will enthrall audiences with its clarity and simplicity, and allow CCM’s “stars of tomorrow” to shine.

With free admission and limited seating, CCM’s Studio Series productions remain one of the hottest tickets in town. Learn more about how secure your tickets by visiting

Learn more about this year’s Studio Series lineup by visiting

Big River Cast List

  • Karl Amundson as Huckleberry Finn
  • Phillip Johnson as Jim
  • Madeline Lynch as Widow Douglas/Ensemble
  • Hannah Kornfeld as Miss Watson/Sally Phelps
  • Jackson Mattek as Judge Thatcher/Counselor Robinson/Ensemble
  • Zach Erhardt as Tom Sawyer
  • Kyle Pollack as Ben Rodgers/Overseer/Hank/Sheriff Bell/Ensemble
  • EJ Dohring as Dick/Laf/Man in the Crowd/Ensemble
  • Tyler Sodoma as Jo Harper/Andy/Man in the Crowd/Ensemble
  • Derek Kastner as Simon/Man on a Skiff/Silas Phelps/Ensemble
  • Gabe Wrobel as Pap Finn/Harvey Wilkes
  • Shauna Topian as Strange Woman/Joanne Wilkes/Ensemble
  • Jenny Mollet as Female Slave/Alice
  • Ciara Harris as Slave/Alice’s Daughter
  • Eric Hernandez as Slave/Man on a Skiff
  • Tyler Johnson-Campion as Slave
  • Donelvan Thigpen as Slave
  • Nick Pelaccio as Man on a Skiff/Young Fool/Doctor/Ensemble
  • Kevin Chlapecka as The King
  • Adam Zeph as The Duke
  • Gina Santare as Mary Jane Wilkes
  • Emily Meredith as Susan Wilkes/Ensemble
  • Jordan Miller as Servant

Performance Times

  • 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8
  • 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 9
  • 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 10

Cohen Family Studio Theater, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

Reserving Tickets
Admission to Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is free, but reservations are required. Tickets become available at noon on Monday, Oct. 6. 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 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

Community Partner: ArtsWave

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