Students from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music are taking over the stage at the Know Theatre for a free public preview performance of Elizabeth Swados’ Runaways at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21.
Runaways, created in the 1970s, is based on hundreds of interviews with teenagers who had run away from home, from predators or from themselves. It blends musical styles from pop to hip-hop, jazz to reggae, while asking why children can’t remain children.
Co-produced by CCM and Know Theatre, Runaways is directed and choreographed by CCM Professor Vince DeGeorge with musical direction from first-year Masters of Music student, Luke Flood. The cast is made entirely of CCM Musical Theatre students and the stage management team is comprised of students from CCM’s Theatre Design and Production Department. It will run at the Know Theatre Wednesday, Sept.21-Sunday, Sept. 25.
The Know Theatre and CCM have worked to co-produce multiple productions that give students opportunities to perform on a professional stage and showcase their talents outside of the CCM campus community. This partnership began shortly after CCM alumnus Andrew Hungerford (MFA Lighting Design and Technology, 2005) became the Producing Artistic Director at the Know.
“I am continually amazed at how invested the students are in this very unique musical,” DeGeorge said of the Runaways cast. “Every rehearsal these young actors are challenging themselves to physically, psychologically and emotionally live through the songs and monologues of this show – telling stories that, for the most part, may be very far away from their own personal experiences.”
“The challenging and life-affirming work that is being done in this show is testament to the genius of Elizabeth Swados and the courage of the students that we have here at CCM.”
To prepare for their performances, students have received additional training from Maria Fernanda Del Real, a junior in CCM’s Acting Department who is working as the Spanish-language coach for the production. Additionally, Elizabeth Jean-Baptise, an assistant professor in field service at UC, has taught sign language to student Kyle Pollack, who plays a deaf character named Hubble in the musical.
“Learning the ins and outs of a deaf character has strengthened my understanding of the text, the use of my body in space, my relationships with others in the show, and the way I view, accept and understand others in daily life,” Pollack said. “Runaways has continued to challenge me as an actor and instill even more love for our craft with each day.”
Student Tyler Sodoma added: “Runaways was written almost 40 years ago and contains social issues and material that are still such a huge part of society today. The fact that this work of art still speaks to us young adults and audience members today proves how brilliant the writing is. I am so excited to open this production and bring it to Cincinnati, especially in the heart of downtown, OTR. The Know Theatre is the perfect venue for this intimate and extremely personal show.”
Runaways will run at the Know Theatre, located at 1120 Jackson St. in Over-the-Rhine, with performances at 8 p.m. on Sept. 21-24. The musical has additional performances at 3 p.m. on Sept. 24-25 and a final 7:30 p.m. show on Sept. 25. Tickets range from $15 to $25 and are available on Know Theatre’s website, https://knowtheatre.vbotickets.com/event/Runaways/15327.
Runaways Creative Team:
Vince DeGeorge, director
Luke Flood, music director*
k. Jenny Jones, fight director
Foster Johns, dialect coach
Maria Fernanda Del Real, Spanish-language coach*
Elizabeth Jean-Baptiste, ASL coach
Jenny Mollet, assistant director/choreographer*
Scott Slucher, production stage manager*
Courtney Hickenlooper, assistant stage manager*
Kate Pozner, production assistant*
Kat Miller, props master/coordinator
* CCM Student
Emily Ashton Meredith
The KNOW Staff:
Andrew Hungerford, Producing Artistic Director
Tamara Winters, Associate Artistic Director
Emily James, Resident Stage Manager
Nick Koehlke, Technical Director
Alice Flanders, Managing Director
Sarah Beth Hall, Production and Design Associate