A screenshot from 'Standard Definition' featuring CCM Musical Theatre graduates Ben Biggers and Chris Collins-Pisano.

UC Student Film Accepted into Cleveland International Film Festival

Electronic Media majors Tim Young and Elliot Feltner filmed Standard Definition with their classmates for a school project last spring. Now it will be shown alongside 216 short films from around the world.

Last spring, former University of Cincinnati students Tim Young and Elliot Feltner created a short film for their capstone class that any aspiring filmmaker can relate to. The comedic story focuses on two Cincinnati-based film students who argue about the necessity of spending money on film projects — until they find a magical camera that makes everything it captures appear beautiful.

Nearly a year later, Young and Feltner’s Standard Definition is set to be screened at the 2017 Cleveland International Film Festival.

“It is unreal that our film was chosen to be screened at the Cleveland International Film Festival,” Young said. “When we first started shooting and cutting it together, we had no plans to enter it into any festivals. We just wanted to make something that we could be proud of and show to our friends and families.”

The 41-year-old film festival will screen 200 feature films and 216 short films from 71 countries between March 29 and April 9. Standard Definition will play at the festival on April 6.

Roommates Young and Feltner were enrolled in the Electronic Media program at UC’s College-Conservatory of Music when they filmed Standard Definition for Kevin Burke’s “Advanced Video Production” capstone course. They both graduated with bachelor of fine arts degrees in 2016.

They had to present Burke with a pre-production plan and a list of group members before the class began, which helped ease the filming process. “Once the class started in January, we had all of the tools necessary to start filming,” said Young, director and co-producer of Standard Definition.

The two film students enlisted help from fellow e-media majors Fritz Pape, Katie Laird and Yiyang Xu, and from other programs across CCM. Lead actors Chris Collins-Pisano, Ben Biggers and Raven Thomas are all 2016 graduates of the Musical Theatre program.

Young was the teaching assistant in Biggers and Collins-Pisano’s “Acting for the Camera” class, taught by Robert Pavlovich. The group applied the acting techniques they learned in class while working on the film, Young said.

From left to right: 'Standard Definition' filmmakers Yiyang Xu, Katie Laird, Tim Young, Elliot Feltner and Fritz Pape.

From left to right: ‘Standard Definition’ filmmakers Yiyang Xu, Katie Laird, Tim Young, Elliot Feltner and Fritz Pape.

“I couldn’t have made the film without the help of our other group members,” Young said. “This project was a collaborative effort, and the film would not exist without them. We had a small crew to make this film compared to others, but the people in our group are so skilled and multi-talented that we were able to pull it off.”

The short film debuted at Tangeman University Center’s MainStreet Cinema last spring and received an “incredible response from the audience,” Young said. They worked with Burke as well as professors Kristyn Benedyk and Matt Irvine from UC’s Digital Media Collaborative program to submit Standard Definition to a handful of festivals and will continue to do so throughout the coming months.

Not everything came easy for the filmmakers, though. In August 2016, Feltner was in a severe car crash on Interstate 75, caused by a man who was later indicted on a charge of driving under the influence of illegal drugs.

Feltner, who had been an avid amateur inline skater as well as a filmmaker, barely escaped the ordeal with his life. He was injured so badly that he technically died twice, and police were dispatched to his parents’ home to notify them of their son’s death. However, due to quick medical care from nurses who happened to witness the crash, Feltner was resuscitated and airlifted to a nearby hospital. He suffered brain trauma and multiple spinal cord injuries.

For months, he has been in rehabilitation at Craig Hospital in Denver, which specializes in treating spinal cord injuries. He recently returned to Cincinnati and will continue outpatient rehabilitation here.

Young said Feltner is getting better every day. Before the car crash, the roommates saw each other every day and worked on Standard Definition together. After the crash, they were separated as Feltner focused on rehabilitation.

“I basically wrote the film about the two of us, or film students just like us,” said Young, reflecting on how the crash impacted his perspective of the time they spent creating Standard Definition. “Every day after shooting we would come home and stay up late editing together rough cuts of the scenes. It was so exciting and rewarding to see all of our hard work turning into something tangible that we could be proud of.”

“After his accident I only saw Elliot a few times over the course of months as he dealt with his injuries. Going from spending every day and night together to not speaking for weeks at a time was really difficult and really made me appreciate how special our time making Standard Definition together really was.”

Standard Definition plays at the Cleveland International Film Festival on Thursday, April 6 at 9:35 p.m. at Tower City Cinemas, 230 West Huron Road in Cleveland.
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Story by CCM Graduate Student Alexandra Doyle

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Lotte Lenya Competition Graphic.

Alumni and Students Named Finalists in 2017 Lotte Lenya Competition

Three current and former CCM students are among 14 young artists selected as finalists in the 20th Lotte Lenya Competition. Those include Jasmine Habersham (AD Opera, 2015; MM Voice, 2013), DMA Voice candidate Paulina Villarreal (MM Voice, 2015) and first-year voice masters student Lisa Marie Rogali.

This isn’t the first time Habersham has advanced in the Lotte Lenya Competition. In 2015, Habersham competed in the competition’s semifinal round. At CCM she appeared as Norina in Don Pasquale, Mrs. Julian in Owen Wingrave and Pearl in Ricky Ian Gordon’s Morning Star.

Villarreal, who began her DMA studies at CCM in 2015, was a Young Artist at Cincinnati Opera. CCM patrons may have seen her perform in Ricky Ian Gordon’s Bright-Eyed Joy in November. She has also appeared in Some Light Emerges, Il signor Bruschino, Hansel and Gretel and William Bolcom’s Cabaret Songs.

Rogali began her studies at CCM in the fall of 2016. She appeared in the ensemble and as an assistant costume “spirit” in the CCM Mainstage production of Cendrillon in November.

All 14 contestants range in age from 19 to 32 and hail from across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, France and Israel. They were chosen from a pool of 266 preliminary audition videos — the most applications ever received in competition history. Thirty-two of those applicants moved on to the semifinal round, where they auditioned live in New York for judges Judy Blazer and Ted Sperling.

“Working with these singers is an enlightening and thrilling experience and whether they win the brass ring or not they all win in a sense for having done it,” Blazer said of her experience coaching the semifinalists.

Kurt Weill Foundation President Kim H. Kowalke stated, “This year’s semifinals were more competitive than some of our finals in previous years; the judges in Rochester are going to have their work cut out for them, especially with the stakes increased this year to a top prize of $20,000.”

The finalists will sing a program of four selections from the operatic, Golden Age, contemporary musical theatre repertoires and the music of Kurt Weill to compete for prizes totaling more than $75,000.

In celebration of the 20th competition, top prizes have increased to $20,000, $15,000 and $10,000. Judges may also bestow additional discretionary awards of $3,500 each for outstanding performances of individual numbers. The new Kurt Weill Award for $5,000, established this year, will recognize an outstanding performance of two contrasting Weill selections. All finalists receive a minimum cash award of $1,000.
The finals take place Saturday, April 22 at Kilbourn Hall at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. Each finalist will present his or her entire program in the daytime round, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. An evening concert, in which contestants sing only a portion of their programs, follows at 8 p.m. The concert concludes with the announcement of awards and prizes. Both the daytime round and evening concert are free and open to the public.

This year’s judges’ panel brings together three internationally recognized artists. Renowned stage director Anne Bogart brings diverse theatrical and operatic credits to the jury. In January 2017, she directed the highly acclaimed production of Lost in the Stars with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. Tony Award-winning actor Shuler Hensley has demonstrated his versatility as an actor on Broadway in roles as wide-ranging as Pozzo in Waiting for Godot, The Monster in Young Frankenstein and a Tony and Olivier Award-winning performance as Jud Fry in Oklahoma!. Bogart and Hensley, both first-time judges, join veteran judge Rob Berman, who returns to the competition for a seventh time. Berman has been seen on Broadway most recently as music director for Bright Star and Dames at Sea; he is music director for the popular Encores! series at New York City Center.

Over the last 20 years, the Lotte Lenya Competition has grown from a small contest exclusively for students of the Eastman School of Music, to one of the widest-reaching international vocal competitions. Past prize winners have gone on to appear on major theater, opera and concert stages around the world. This season, LLC laureates can be seen in seven Broadway shows, at the Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera House, Komische Oper, in concert with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, on national and international theatrical tours and heard on two Grammy Award-winning recordings. See why Opera News said of the competition, “[N]o vocal contest better targets today’s total-package talents, unearthing up-and-coming singers who are ready for their close-ups.”

About the Kurt Weill Foundation
The Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, Inc. is dedicated to promoting understanding of the life and works of composer Kurt Weill (1900-50) and preserving the legacies of Weill and his wife, actress-singer Lotte Lenya (1898-1981). The Foundation administers the Weill-Lenya Research Center, a Grant Program, the Kurt Weill Book Prize and the Lotte Lenya Competition, and publishes the Kurt Weill Edition and the Kurt Weill Newsletter. Learn more by visiting www.kwf.org.

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Voice Alumni Compete in 2017 Met Opera National Council Auditions Semi-Final

Four UC College-Conservatory of Music alumni will compete in the Semi-Final round of the 2017 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, which will take place in New York on Sunday, March 12.

The prestigious competition for young singers has four rounds: District, Regional, Semi-Final and Final. Ten of the semi-finalists will move on to the final round, where five of them will be pronounced winners. Each winner receives $15,000, and the other finalists receive $5,000 each. This year’s final round will take place on Sunday, March 19 on the stage of the Met Opera.

The four CCM alumni who will participate in the Met Council Semi-Finals are Jessica Faselt, soprano (MM Voice, 2016); Summer Hassan, soprano (MM Voice, 2014); Andrew Manea, baritone (MM Voice, 2016); and Cody Quattlebaum, bass-baritone (BM Voice, 2015). Read their bios below to learn more about these outstanding young musicians.

Known for her “keen expression and impressive delivery” (Music in Cincinnati), soprano Jessica Faselt hails from Iowa. Faselt completed her master’s degree at CCM, where she was the recipient of the Corbett Award, and she earned her Bachelor of Music from the University of Iowa. Faselt has sung with the Institute for Young Dramatic Voices, studying with mezzo-soprano Dolora Zajick, and will return there in 2017. She was a Gerdine Young Artist with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis in 2015 and was engaged there in 2016 to cover the role of Ariadne in Ariadne auf Naxos. Other roles include: Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, Hanna in The Merry Widow, Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus, Vitellia in La Clemenza di Tito and Mrs. Grose in The Turn of the Screw.

Soprano Summer Hassan is a member of LA Opera’s Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program. She made her company debut in 2014 as the Second Lady in Dido and Aeneas and returned as the Ghost Quartet Soprano in The Ghosts of Versailles in 2015. Her LA Opera appearances in the 2015/16 season include the Second Lady in The Magic Flute.  Recent performances include Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle under the baton of Placido Domingo, as well as Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 and Strauss’s Four Last Songs with the Colburn Orchestra. She was featured as Musetta in Wolf Trap Opera’s 2016 production of La Bohème and in recital with Steven Blier at The Barns at Wolf Trap. Ms. Hassan made her Carnegie Hall debut as Second Niece in Britten’s Peter Grimes with the St. Louis Symphony, and in 2014 she made her debut as the Second Lady in The Magic Flute with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis where she was a Gerdine Young Artist. Other roles have included Mimì in La Bohème, Betty in The Threepenny Opera and Vitellia in La Clemenza di Tito. She received her Master of Music from CCM and her Bachelor of Music from the Oberlin Conservatory.

Lauded for his, “charming…robust baritone…,” Romanian-American baritone Andrew G. Manea has been continually rising to the top of the opera world at an impressively young age. Andrew’s recent roles include Marcello in La Bohème, No. 7 in Transformations, Forester in The Cunning Little Vixen, Escamillo in Carmen, Danilo in The Merry Widow and the Father in Hansel and Gretel. In a very successful 2016 season, Andrew was awarded first place and audience favorite in the Mary Jacobs Smith Singer of the Year Competition with Shreveport Opera, second place and audience favorite in the Opera Columbus Cooper-Bing International Vocal Competition, Finalist in the Jensen Foundation Vocal Competition and he was a Career Grant recipient in the Giulio Gari Foundation Competition. Continuing to rise to success, Andrew has been awarded a position as a new member of the San Francisco Opera’s Adler Fellowship program. This coming season at San Francisco Opera, he will be performing Marullo in Rigoletto, covering Marcello in La Bohème, performing Marchese d’Obigny in La Traviata, performing in a world premiere of John Adams’ Girls of the Golden West and performing a Schwabacher Debut Recital with esteemed pianist Warren Jones. Andrew holds a bachelor’s degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music and a master’s degree from the CCM, where he studied with Bill McGraw.

Bass-baritone Cody Quattlebaum from Ellicott City, Maryland, is currently earning a Master of Music in Voice Performance at the Juilliard School. He received his bachelor’s degree from CCM. He has performed Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro, Lautsprecher in Der Kaiser von Atlantis, Der Fischer in Matsukaze, Melisso in Alcina and Colonel in a premier workshop of Daniel Catán’s Meet John Doe. He recently performed Guglielmo in Così fan Tutte with Merola Opera. He won the Seybold-Russell Award in the 2015 Corbett Opera competition, first place and “Audience Favorite” award at the 2016 James Toland competition and second place in the 2016 Gerda Lissner Liederkranz competition. He recently performed Claudio in Handel’s Agrippina in Alice Tully Hall and Wilson Theater in New York City. He will also perform under the baton of Maestro Michael Morgan with the Oakland Symphony next season.

About the Metropolitan Opera’s National Council Auditions
The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions is a program designed to discover promising young opera singers and assist in the development of their careers. Known as the venue for the world’s greatest voices, the Metropolitan Opera holds National Council Auditions throughout the United States and Canada each year. The goal of the National Council Auditions is to discover promising young singers, give singers from around the country a chance to be heard by the major opera companies of the U.S. and Canada, and find potential participants for the Lindemann Young Artist Development program, an opera training program sponsored by the Met.

For more than six decades, this competition for exceptionally talented singers from across the country has helped launch the careers of some of opera’s greatest stars, including Stephanie Blythe, Renée Fleming, Susan Graham, Thomas Hampson, Ben Heppner, Patricia Racette and Deborah Voigt — as well as, more recently, Lawrence Brownlee and Angela Meade.

View a full list of this year’s National Council Auditions Grand Finals Winners at www.metopera.org/about/auditions/nationalcouncil.

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CCM Acting Holds Annual Senior Showcase and Dolly Awards on March 24

CCM Acting Class of 2017.

CCM Acting Class of 2017.

Graduating students from UC College-Conservatory of Music’s Department of Acting present the annual Senior Showcase at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Friday, March 24, in Werner Recital Hall. The annual DOLLY Awards ceremony follows the evening showcase performance and includes the recognition of an outstanding alumnus of the program. These events are free and open to the public. Reservations are not required.

The showcase performance consists of a variety of scenes by graduating seniors in CCM’s Acting program, demonstrating the depth and breadth of the acting skills they have honed during their undergraduate training at CCM. The Senior Showcase is the first presentation of a performance that the students will take on the road to exhibit their talent in New York and Los Angeles in March and April.

The evening performance is followed by the annual DOLLY Awards, hosted by Professor Richard E. Hess, CCM’s A.B., Dolly, Ralph and Julia Cohen Chair of Acting. The awards recognize the outstanding student achievements and performances in the 2016-17 CCM Acting Season, which includes the productions of TRANSMIGRATION 2016, Very Dumb Kids, Romeo and Juliet, Middletown and Her Naked Skin. Awards are given for Excellence in Performance and Excellence in Ensemble Performance.

The highlight of the DOLLY Awards ceremony is the presentation of the 2016 Julia Winter Cohen Career Excellence Award to a graduate of CCM Acting. This year’s honoree is alumna Julianna Bloodgood (BFA Dramatic Performance, 2005).

Bloodgood began her work with Poland’s multi-award winning and critically acclaimed theatre company Teatr Pies´n´ Kozla (Song of the Goat Theatre) in 2009. In addition to her studies at CCM, she holds an MA from Manchester Metropolitan University in conjunction with Song of the Goat Theatre and she is a graduate of California’s Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts. At Song of the Goat Theatre, Bloodgood has developed and performed in Songs of Lear, Portraits of the Cherry Orchard, Return to the Voice, Dead Walk Love and Crazy God. She is currently rehearsing and developing a work based on Hamlet. Bloodgood has traveled and performed throughout Europe, Asia, South and North America.

Bloodgood’s work also consists of community-based projects and artistic outreach, using art as a vehicle for healing and change. She is a founding member of the Great Globe Foundation, an organization devoted to increasing cultural exchange and empowering voices through the arts, and is the proud co-founder of the Dadaab Theater Project, a youth based theater project in Dadaab, Kenya, the world’s largest refugee camp.

CCM ACTING SENIOR SHOWCASE

Performance Times
2 p.m. & 7 p.m.* Friday, March 24
*The DOLLY Awards ceremony takes place after the 7 p.m. performance.

Location
Werner Recital Hall, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

Admission
Admission to the CCM Acting Senior Showcase and DOLLY Awards Ceremony is FREE and open to the general public. Reservations are not required.

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 information on parking rates.

For detailed maps and directions, please visit uc.edu/visitors. Additional parking is available off-campus at the U Square complex on Calhoun Street and other neighboring lots.

For directions to CCM Village, visit ccm.uc.edu/about/directions.
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CCM Season Presenting Sponsor and Musical Theatre Program Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation

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CCM Musical Theatre Presents 25th Annual Senior Showcase

Cincinnati audiences will get a sneak peak of an original showcase created by the 2017 graduating class from the UC College-Conservatory of Music’s (CCM) Department of Musical Theatre during the annual “Not Famous Yet” Showcase on March 8 (CCMpower benefit performance), 10 and 11 in Patricia Corbett Theater.

The March 8 benefit performance starts at 7 p.m. and features a reception prior to the show with CCM Musical Theatre Young Alumni Award recipient Betsy Wolfe. Tickets include wine and dinner-by-the-bite after the showcase in the CCM Atrium. For tickets and additional information, visit ccm.weshareonline.org/ws/opportunities/NotFamousYetShowcase2017.

In addition to the benefit performance, the musical theatre students also present the showcase at 8 p.m. on Friday, March 10 and 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 11. These two performances are free, but reservations must be made in advance. Tickets become available at noon Monday, March 6.

Each year, seniors from CCM’s musical theatre program travel to New York to present a showcase for the leading agents, casting directors and managers in the business. The show takes the format of a Broadway audition, with the actors showing off their solo and ensemble skills through song and dance numbers. The work is created by the students themselves under the supervision of program chair Aubrey Berg and with the assistance of musical director Julie Spangler.

This year’s performance is the 25th edition of the CCM “Not Famous Yet” showcase. The annual showcase began with the establishment of the Patricia A. Corbett Distinguished Chair of Musical Theatre in 1991. At the time of its inception, it was the only academic chair of its kind in the United States. Learn more about the Musical Theatre Class of 2017 here.

CCMpower Benefit Performance    

The opening performance of the Musical Theatre Senior Showcase is part of a benefit for CCMpower. The Host Reception beings at 6 p.m. in CCM’s Baur room before the performance at 7 p.m. The event is followed with wine and dinner-by-the-bite in CCM’s Atrium.

Betsy Wolfe. Photo by Matt Murhpy.

Betsy Wolfe. Photo by Matt Murhpy.

This event also includes the presentations of the Musical Theatre Young Alumni Award, which recognizes professional achievement by graduates of CCM’s Musical Theatre Program from the past two decades. This year’s recipient is Betsy Wolfe, who graduated in 2004. Wolfe has been seen in many productions on Broadway and Off-Broadway, including her current role as Cordelia in the Broadway revival of Falsettos, as well as performing as a soloist in over 35 orchestral concerts. She also appeared in Die Fledermaus with the Metropolitan Opera and in the film version of The Last Five Years. Wolfe will be on campus on March 8 to present a master class for CCM’s Musical Theatre students.

Tickets for the March 8 Benefit are:

  • Host Ticket – $100 (Includes reception prior to the performance with Young Alumni Award Recipient Betsy Wolfe, general performance seating, wine, dinner-by-the-bite and garage parking.)
  • General Admission – $75 (Includes general performance seating, wine and dinner-by-the-bite.)
  • Young Professional (40 years and under) – $50 (Includes general performance seating, wine and dinner-by-the-bite.)
  • CCM Alumni – $50 (Includes general performance seating, wine and dinner-by-the-bite.)

Proceeds benefit student career development grants and scholarships. Seating is limited. To reserve a ticket, call CCM External Relations at 513-556-2100 or visit ccm.weshareonline.org/ws/opportunities/NotFamousYetShowcase2016.

CCM Hosts FREE Performances of the Showcase on March 10 and 11
Admission to the Musical Theatre Showcase at 8 p.m. on Friday, March 10 and 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 11, is FREE. Seating is limited and reservations are required. Tickets become available at noon on Monday, March 6; please visit the CCM Box Office or call 513-556-4183 to make a reservation. Limit two tickets per order.

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Performance Times
7 p.m. Wednesday, March 8 (benefit performance)
8 p.m. Friday, March 10
4 p.m. Saturday, March 11

Location
Patricia Corbett Theater, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

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 information on parking rates.

For detailed maps and directions, please visit uc.edu/visitors. Additional parking is available off-campus at the U Square complex on Calhoun Street and other neighboring lots.

For directions to CCM Village, visit ccm.uc.edu/about/directions.
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CCM Season Presenting Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation

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Production photo of 'Something Rotten!' by Joan Marcus. Provided by Gabriel Firestone.

Making A Scene: Q&A with Alumnus Gabriel Firestone, Scenic Designer

Cincinnati audiences may remember Gabriel Firestone (BFA Stage Design, 2014) for his scenic designs in CCM Opera’s Mainstage production of Owen Wingrave in 2013. After graduating from CCM’s acclaimed Theatre Design and Technology program, Firestone went on to design scenery for Broadway, Off-Broadway, regional and international theatre productions. Working alongside award-winning scenic designer Scott Pask, Firestone most recently served as the associate scenic designer for the first National Tour of Tony-nominated musical Something Rotten!.

Gabriel Firestone. Photo by Emilio Madrid-Kuser

Gabriel Firestone. Photo by Emilio Madrid-Kuser.

Firestone isn’t the only CCM alumnus involved in the national tour. Something Rotten! is produced by Kevin McCollum (BFA Musical Theatre, 1984), and onstage performers include alumni Joel Newsome (BFA Musical Theatre, 1989) and Pierce Cassedy (BFA Musical Theatre, 2012). A fun fact from Firestone’s time at CCM: the house he lived in on Wheeler Street in Clifton was actually passed down to him from Cassedy, along with his sofa set. “CCM really is an extended family,” Firestone says.

We caught up with Firestone to talk about his experience working on Something Rotten! and what life has been like for him since he graduated from CCM.

What is it like working in scenic design for the first National Tour of Something Rotten? What does a typical day look like for you at work?
As Associate Scenic Designer for the Something Rotten! first National Tour, my job was to work along-side Scott Pask, who designed the highly successful Broadway production, and effectively translate the original design of the scenery and props into one that could be taken out on tour. There are many different physical and logistical constraints when a production is playing a wide variety of venues, and making sure the set will look just as good on the road as it did on the stage at the St. James Theatre in New York was critical.

I don’t believe there is such thing as a “typical day at work” — my responsibilities with the tour changed as the design progressed. The beginning stages involved lots of modeling and sketching. Later, I was drafting and documenting how all of the scenic pieces moved onstage. I spent a few weeks running back and forth between the scenic shops who built and painted the scenery and drops, giving notes and making sure everything was looking and functioning as it should. Finally, I spent a month out on the road with the show, overseeing as the various elements finally came together in the theater, and reacting to any last-minute changes. Each day was a different and exciting challenge.

What has been your most challenging scenic design project and why?
While every design presents its own set of challenges, one of the more interesting ones I’ve encountered involved transferring a design I did for Red Light Winter in New York City to the National Theatre in Warsaw, Poland. The set in New York was a small, drab room with three crumbling plaster walls and the suggestion of a ceiling — all grounded in realism. Due to limitations for the re-mounted production, we couldn’t use our scenery overseas. Although it might not seem like a huge challenge, the creative team had to reconcile the telling of this story, where the constricted environment itself becomes a major player, with the comparatively spacious bounds we were given in which to work. We reconfigured the staging and design in a pretty remarkable way that didn’t detract from the story, but rather added to the audience’s understanding of what happens to the characters in the brief moments after they leave the room we no longer represented so literally. The sometimes one-dimensional characters suddenly became multi-faceted, and what was lost in the way of aesthetic realism was replaced by much more emotionally driven performances. It was a fascinating production to have been a part of.

Do you have a specific CCM memory or experience that you would like to share?
A favorite memory of mine was going through the design process for CCM Opera’s Owen Wingrave as part of the year-long centenary celebration of Benjamin Britten’s career. Due to a directorial change, all the work had to be scrapped and we started over from the beginning. It was exciting to re-envision the piece under the lens of a different director, and to figure out what changed and evolved from the previous iteration. Although we as a creative team were working within a truncated amount of time, I think the design ended up being every bit as bold and grand as we had imagined. The first time you see the scenery, which takes months to realize, assembled on-stage is always a magical experience; it never grows old.

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Do you have any advice for current or soon-to-be graduating CCM students?
My advice to somebody who’s soon-to-be graduating is to be patient and not to believe he or she is above getting people coffee for a while, so-to-speak. As a young theatre arts professional, there are an endless number of opportunities to get one’s foot in the door, but the people who get those jobs, keep those jobs and grow in those jobs are the ones who have a great attitude every day, show up with a smile and don’t mind supporting the team in ways sometimes deemed menial. In an industry where we spend so much time working in large groups, you can quickly earn a lasting reputation as somebody who is passionate and dependable, and when it comes time to take on more advanced work, your name will be the first one considered. Don’t be disheartened if it takes a while to make the right connections.

And also, try to find some balance in life between success in a career and a personal life. Both are more fun and fulfilling when there is a sense of balance between them.

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Something Rotten! photo by Joan Marcus; provided by Gabriel Firestone.

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CCM Faculty Jazztet Concert features Ariel Quartet, World Premiere of new work from Grammy Award-winning Alumnus

For the first time, acclaimed artists in CCM’s Faculty Jazztet will collaborate with the college’s renowned String Quartet-in-Residence, the Ariel Quartet, in a free concert presented at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 15 in Patricia Corbett Theater. The concert features new compositions by the jazz faculty and the world premiere of Catching Light, by Grammy Award-winning composer Michael Patterson (BM Composition, 1978).

From left to right: Alexandra Kazovsky, Jan Grüning, Amit Even-Tov and Gershon Gerchikov are the Ariel Quartet.

From left to right: Alexandra Kazovsky, Jan Grüning, Amit Even-Tov and Gershon Gerchikov are the Ariel Quartet.

New works by faculty members Steve Allee, Craig Bailey and Kim Pensyl will feature the Ariel Quartet’s virtuoso string sounds and exciting improvisations. Performers will include Allee, piano; Bailey, saxophone and flute; Pensyl, flugelhorn; James Bunte, saxophone and flute; Rick VanMatre, saxophone and clarinet; Rusty Burge, marimba and vibraphone; Aaron Jacobs, bass and Art Gore, drums.

Grammy Award-winning New York composer and CCM alumnus Michael Patterson will also debut his new work, Catching Light, during the program. Featured on stage will be paintings by internationally recognized visual artist Anna Socha VanMatre. Inspired by Michael Patterson’s composition, she has created a large eight-paneled work, also titled Catching Light, which contrasts texture and color to capture the effect of varying sunlight and moonlight.

The concert will take place at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 15 in CCM’s Patricia Corbett Theater. Admission is free and reservations are not required. Before the concert Patterson will present a lecture on classical composition, jazz composition and film scoring from 4:30-6 p.m. in Room 2150 of CCM’s Mary Emery Hall.

About Michael Patterson
michael_patterson_1-1An alumnus of CCM’s composition department, Patterson is a Grammy and Emmy Award winner who has written concert works for the London Symphony Orchestra, the Rochester, Utah, and New Mexico orchestras, the Debussy Trio, Judy Kang, Novus, Eddie Daniels and Rick VanMatre. He has composed, arranged and produced records for jazz artists like Marc Copland, Gene Bertoncini, Hank Jones, James Moody, Calabria Foti and Bob McChesney. Patterson’s film work includes episodes of The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones, over 50 episodes of JAG (CBS-TV), Tiny Toon Adventures with Steven Spielberg, and feature film work on Lucasfilms’ Radioland Murders. He currently teaches composition and film scoring at NYU.
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Event Information

8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15
CCM FACULTY JAZZTET
Featuring CCM String Quartet-in-Residence, The Ariel Quartet

CCM’s acclaimed jazz faculty artists collaborate with CCM’s renowned String Quartet-in-Residence, the Ariel Quartet. World premieres by faculty members Steve Allee, Craig Bailey and Kim Pensyl will feature virtuoso string sounds combined with exciting improvisations. Grammy Award-winning New York composer and CCM alumnus Michael Patterson will also debut a new work. Featured on stage will be paintings by internationally recognized visual artist Anna Socha VanMatre.
Location: Patricia Corbett Theater
Admission: FREE

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 information on parking rates.

For detailed maps and directions, please visit uc.edu/visitors. Additional parking is available off-campus at the U Square complex on Calhoun Street and other neighboring lots.

For directions to CCM Village, visit ccm.uc.edu/about/directions.

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