CCM's Mainstage Series presents 'Hamlet' Sept. 28-Oct. 1. Photo by Mark Lyons.

CCM Behind-the-Scenes: Fight Choreography in ‘Hamlet’

 

Catch CCM’s 150th Anniversary Mainstage Series opening production of Hamlet at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 28. Presented in the newly renovated Patricia Corbett Theater, the Bard’s classic tragedy runs through Sunday, Oct. 1. Tickets available through the CCM Box Office.

Set in the 1920s, CCM’s production of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet tells a story of lost romance, betrayal, murder and madness. Hamlet Fight Choreographer Gina Mechley gives audiences an inside look at how she prepared students to illustrate the play’s conflict with stage combat.

This is Mechley’s first show at CCM as a fight choreographer, but she is no stranger to the realm of stage combat. She is currently teaching at CCM as an adjunct instructor. One of the few female certified teachers in the country with the Society of American Fight Directors, Mechley has served as the fight director at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, Cincinnati Ballet Company and the Cincinnati Opera, among others. Get a sneak peek at CCM’s Hamlet in the photo gallery below:

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Working on CCM’s production of Hamlet has been “the icing on the teaching cake,” Mechley says. She adds that her job was made easier because CCM Acting students are heavily trained in stage combat.

The intensive training in CCM’s Acting program is designed to prepare students for careers on stage, film, television and in the creation of new works. The curriculum includes training in various acting techniques, dialects, voice-over work, as well as armed and unarmed stage combat.

CCM's Mainstage Series presents 'Hamlet' Sept. 28-Oct. 1. Photo by Mark Lyons.

Hamlet Director Susan Felder set CCM’s production of the play in the 1920s, but the contemporary setting does not dramatically change the tragedy’s violent climax that occurs when Hamlet confronts his enemies in Act II.

“Being set in the 1920s did not have a huge impact on the final duel,” Mechley says. “We are still using rapiers as a part of the sport or game that will unfold. Textually, it is set up as a contest and the use of swords would remain the same no matter what year it takes place.”

Mechley’s favorite moments in Hamlet’s fight choreography are when the fights get “close, personal and sloppy.” She looks forward to seeing how the audience will react to certain moments in the stage combat.

The most challenging aspect of the fight choreography was transferring what was learned in the rehearsal hall to the stage, Mechley adds. Hamlet‘s set includes steps and a trap door that opens to a 3-to-4-foot hole at center stage, which is used during the fight scenes.

“Fight direction is about storytelling — physically expanding on an emotional journey,” Mechley says. “The fights in Hamlet are so heavily based in character-driven emotion, that it just didn’t feel right to create a fight from only my viewpoint. It had to be created from the eyes of the director, the heart of Laertes and Hamlet, the physical souls of the actors and the skills of a fight director.”

“Collaboration created what I believe to be an extraordinary journey!”

CCM’s Mainstage Series presents Hamlet through Oct. 1, 2017 in Patricia Corbett Theater. Tickets are $27-31 for adults, $17-20 for non-UC students and $15-18 for UC students with a valid ID. Additional student discounts are available through the CCM Box Office. 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/mainstage/hamlet.

Learn more about CCM’s Acting program at ccm.uc.edu/acting. Applications are now open for CCM’s fall 2018 class; apply online at ccm.uc.edu/info.html.

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Creative Team

  • Susan Felder, director
  • Logan Greenwell, scenic designer*
  • Oliver Tidwell Littleton, lighting designer*
  • Matthew Birchmeier, sound designer*
  • Ashley Berg, costume designer*
  • Meredith Keister, hair and make-up designer
  • Gina Mechley, fight choreographer
  • Anna Naderer, stage manager*

* CCM student

Cast List

  • Chandler Bates as Bernardo/Ensemble
  • Jeremy Maislin as Francisco/Priest/Ensemble
  • Gabriella DiVincenzo as Horatio
  • Will Clark as Marcellus/Ensemble
  • Carter LaCava as Ghost/Gravedigger/Ensemble
  • Landon Hawkins as Claudius
  • Ella Eggold as Gertrude
  • Briley Oakley as Lord Voltemand/Ensemble
  • Madison Pullman as Cornelius/Messenger/Ensemble
  • Rupert Spraul as Hamlet
  • Isaac Hickox-Young as Lord Polonius
  • Nicholas Heffelfinger as Laertes
  • Kenzie Clark as Ophelia
  • Josh Reiter as Rosencrantz
  • Matt Fox as Guildenstern
  • Mafer Del Real as Player King/Ensemble
  • Sarah Durham as Player Queen/Ensemble
  • Abby Palen as Gravedigger/English Ambassador/Ensemble
  • Jacqueline Daaleman as Osric/Ensemble
  • Lauren Carter as Fortinbras/Ensemble

Performance Times

  • 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 28
  • 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 29
  • 2 and 8 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 30
  • 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 1

Location
Patricia Corbett Theater, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

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

Student rush tickets will be sold one hour before each performance to non-UC students for $12 or $15, based on availability. UC students can receive one free student rush ticket with a valid ID, based on availability.

Customizable subscription packages are also available for CCM’s 2017-18 Mainstage Series.

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/mainstage/hamlet.

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 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

Mainstage Season Production Sponsor: Macy’s

CCM News

CCM Faculty Member Heather Verbeck Honors Legacy of Jack Wellbaum in Concert

CCM Professor Heather Verbeck.

CCM Professor Heather Verbeck.

CCM faculty member Heather Verbeck commemorates the legacy of her former instructor, late CCM faculty member Jack Wellbaum, in a new work for piccolo and piano composed by internationally acclaimed flutist Timothy Hagen. Verbeck will perform the Cincinnati premier of In a Yellow Wood during her faculty artist recital on Thursday, September 28.

Wellbaum had a legendary Cincinnati presence as a musician, arts administrator and teacher. He graduated from the Cincinnati College of Music in 1948 and began his tenure with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in 1950 as its principal piccolo player — a position he held for 38 years. Wellbaum also worked as the CSO’s personnel manager from 1972-1990.

Jack Wellbaum taught at CCM from 1960 until his retirement in 2008.

In 1960, after his alma mater merged with the Conservatory of Music to become the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Wellbaum began teaching flute and piccolo at CCM. He instituted a weekly piccolo class on Monday nights, which continued through his retirement in 2008. Wellbaum passed away in December 2011, at the age of 89.

Now Verbeck, who once sat in Wellbaum’s weekly piccolo class, proudly teaches it.

“Those who knew Jack Wellbaum understood him to be a straightforward man of great character and integrity, someone you could depend on for steadfast friendship and honest but gentle counsel,” Verbeck says.

“He was a treasured mentor and colleague to me and to many others. His piccolo playing, like his teaching style, was a thing of beauty — refined but uncomplicated. The successes of his many past pupils, who were inspired to play better and to work harder in his presence, stand as evidence of his profound influence.”

Wellbaum included his sage and succinct advice as commentary in Orchestral Excerpts for Piccolo, a resource of 36 common orchestral piccolo audition excerpts.

With the permission of Wellbaum’s family, Verbeck organized a consortium of 42 commissioners to raise the funds for In A Yellow Wood, composed by Timothy Hagen. The consortium includes Wellbaum’s former students, colleagues from his time at the CSO, piccolo makers and other professional musicians who recognize the contributions Wellbaum made to the arts world.

“Like many other professional flutists, I have found Jack Wellbaum’s Orchestral Excerpts for Piccolo to be an indispensable resource, full of generous wisdom,” wrote Hagen.

“In writing this piece, I have found myself inspired to be the best composer I could be and, more importantly, the best person I could be….I hope In a Yellow Wood brings joy to all those who play and hear it and keeps alive the legacy of Jack Wellbaum, a truly marvelous human being.”

In a Yellow Wood is a single-movement, 10-minute piece for piccolo and piano. Verbeck performed the piece at the National Flute Association’s Annual Convention in August. She will give the Cincinnati premier of the new work during her faculty artist recital at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 28 in CCM’s Watson Recital Hall.

“This Commissioning Project was inspired by a desire to continue to celebrate the legacy of Jack Wellbaum,” Verbeck says. “Seeing this project come to fruition has been a career highlight for me. It is my hope to introduce future generations of piccolo players to Mr. Wellbaum through this new work.”

CCM News Faculty Fanfare
CCM Village at night. Photo by Jay Yocis.

CCM Celebrates 150th Anniversary With Must-See Mainstage Series

The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) marks the 150th anniversary of its founding with a year-long Sesquicentennial Celebration beginning in the fall of 2017. Commemorating a tradition of innovation and excellence dating back to the founding of the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music in 1867, CCM’s Sesquicentennial programming includes eight must-see masterworks presented as part of the 2017-18 Mainstage Series.

Click the graphic for more information.

Click the graphic for more information.

Between Sept. 27, 2017, and April 14, 2018, CCM’s stars of tomorrow and world-class faculty and staff members will stage eight diverse productions. This year’s Mainstage Series includes cherished classics like William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Leonard Bernstein’s Candide and Andrew Lloyd Weber and Tim Rice’s Jesus Christ Superstar.

CCM’s Sesquicentennial lineup also includes an opera double-bill featuring Giacomo Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi and Suor Angelica, two mixed-repertoire ballet productions and the Mainstage Series debuts of Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens’ Seussical and Caryl Churchill’s Love and Information.

The Mainstage Series is just one part of the yearlong CCM Sesquicentennial Celebration, which will also include world premieres, guest artist performances, a series of off-campus concerts and a one-of-a-kind alumni showcase event. For an initial overview of CCM’s 150th anniversary programming, please visit ccm.uc.edu/about/villagenews/notations-ovations/sesquicentennial-celebration.

The complete 2017-18 Mainstage Series lineup is listed below. Titles and dates are subject to change – rights pending. For the most current calendar of events, please visit us online at ccm.uc.edu.

Additional Information
Single tickets go on sale beginning Sept. 5, 2017, but subscribing is the best way to guarantee your seats for CCM’s Mainstage Series! Fully customizable renewal subscriptions are on sale now with priority seating before July 7, 2017. Subscription packages for new subscribers go on sale July 10, 2017.

To order subscriptions, contact the CCM Box Office at 513-556-4183 or boxoff@uc.edu.
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CCM’S 150TH ANNIVERSARY MAINSTAGE SERIES
Acting, Musical Theatre, Opera, Dance

HAMLET
Written by William Shakespeare
Susan Felder, director

CCM’s anniversary season opens with one of Shakespeare’s most classic tragedies. Hamlet returns from college to find something rotten in his hometown. A deadly game of cat and mouse ensues between Hamlet and his uncle, the King. Shakespeare’s thriller plunges audiences into the madness of family disillusionment, lost romance, betrayal, murder, suicide and the existential question of what it means to be human. “What a piece of work is a man!”

Performance Dates: Sept. 27 (preview), Sept. 28-Oct. 1, 2017
Location: Patricia Corbett Theater
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SEUSSICAL
Book by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty
Music by Stephen Flaherty
Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens
Co-conceived by Eric Idle
Based on the works of Dr. Seuss
Vince DeGeorge, director and co-choreographer
Luke Flood, musical director
Christopher Kelley, co-choreographer

The CCM Sesquicentennial celebrates the work of distinguished alumnus Stephen Flaherty (BM Composition, 1982)! Now one of the most performed shows in America, Seussical is a fantastical, magical, musical extravaganza. The Tony Award-winning team of Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens (Anastasia, Once on This Island, Ragtime) have lovingly brought to life all of our favorite Dr. Seuss characters, including Horton the Elephant, The Cat in the Hat, Gertrude McFuzz, Lazy Mayzie and a little boy with a big imagination – Jojo. This colorful cast of characters transports us from the Jungle of Nool to the Circus McGurkus to the invisible world of the Whos.

Performance Dates: Oct. 19-22 and Oct. 25-29, 2017
Location: Patricia Corbett Theater
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CANDIDE
Music by Leonard Bernstein
Book by Hugh Wheeler, after Voltaire
Lyrics by Richard Wilbur, Stephen Sondheim, John La Touche, Lillian Hellman, Dorothy Parker and Leonard Bernstein
Mark Gibson, conductor
Emma Griffin, director

Now lauded as one of Bernstein’s most characteristic theatrical creations, CCM’s stars of tomorrow proudly present Candide as part of a world-wide celebration leading up to Leonard Bernstein’s 100th birthday. CCM’s highly innovative staging of the opera utilizes a stark, one-room set design that leans into the theatricality of the show. The artistry of CCM students and Leonard Bernstein’s extraordinary score will guide audiences’ imagination as they journey through Voltaire’s “best of all possible worlds” with verve and satirical humor. Presented in conjunction with the official Leonard Bernstein at 100 centennial celebration.

Performance Dates: Nov. 16-19, 2017
Location: Patricia Corbett Theater
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THE ART OF MOTION
Jiang Qi and Deirdre Carberry, co-directors
Alexandria Black, conductor

CCM’s Department of Dance opens this anniversary season with a concert of mixed repertoire featuring the enchanting The Little Mermaid choreographed by guest artist and Missouri Ballet Theatre director Adam Sage with music by Léo Delibes and Antonín Dvoràk. The concert also showcases Paquita (Act II) with music by Ludwig Minkus, restaged by Deirdre Carberry. Additional highlights include the world premiere of Shaker Loops, choreographed by André Megerdichian and featuring music by John Adams performed by CCM’s Café MoMus ensemble. This premiere will also include an illuminated collaboration with DAAP faculty member Henry Hildebrandt.

Performance Dates: Nov. 30-Dec. 3, 2017
Location: Patricia Corbett Theater
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LOVE AND INFORMATION
Written by Caryl Churchill
Brant Russell, directo
r

Described by the New York Times as “thought-churning” and “deeply poignant,” Love and Information premiered in London’s Royal Court Theatre in 2012. In this fast-moving kaleidoscope, more than 100 characters try to make sense of what they know. The play explores the prevalence of technology in today’s culture, the thirst for knowledge and the importance of human connection.

Performance Dates: Feb. 7 (preview), Feb. 8-11, 2018
Location: Patricia Corbett Theater
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JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR
Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Lyrics by Tim Rice
Diane Lala, director and choreographer
Roger Grodsky, musical director

What’s the buzz? The first musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice to be produced for the professional stage, Jesus Christ Superstar has wowed audiences for over 40 years. A timeless work, the rock opera is based on the last week of Jesus’ life. Set against the backdrop of an extraordinary and universally-known series of events, the story is told through the eyes of Judas Iscariot. A true global phenomenon, the iconic 1970s rock score contains such well-known numbers as “Superstar,” “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” and “Gethsemane.”

Performance Dates: Feb. 22-25 and Feb. 28-March 4, 2018
Location: Patricia Corbett Theater
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OPERA DOUBLE BILL: GIANNI SCHICCHI & SUOR ANGELICA
Music by Giacomo Puccini
Libretto by Giovacchino Forzano
Mark Gibson, conductor
Andreas Hagar, director (Gianni Schicchi)
Meredith Kitz, director (Suor Angelica)

The CCM Sesquicentennial pairs two of Puccini’s most popular operas for one can’t-miss Mainstage Series production! CCM’s stars of tomorrow present the farcical Gianni Schicchi and the moving Suor Angelica as a double-bill highlighting Puccini’s mastery of emotional storytelling.

Performance Dates: March 22-25, 2018
Location: Patricia Corbett Theater
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LEGENDS OF DANCE
Jiang Qi, director
Aik Khai Pung, music director and conductor

Celebrate spring’s arrival with the CCM Ballet Ensemble as they present an exciting mixed bill accompanied by the CCM Concert Orchestra. The program includes one of the most celebrated excerpts in all classical ballets, “The Kingdom of the Shades” from La Bayadére, staged by CCM faculty member Deirdre Carberry with music by Ludwig Minkus. In addition, guest artist Pablo Francisco Ruvalcaba will restage José Limón’s masterful A Choreographic Offering set to music by J. S. Bach. The program’s rousing finale features The Sleeping Beauty (Act III), after Marius Petipa’s classical ballet with music by Tchaikovsky.

Performance Dates: April 12-14, 2018
Location: Corbett Auditorium
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Mainstage Series Subscriptions
The 2017-18 CCM Mainstage Series of acting, musical theatre, opera and dance productions includes subscription packages for combinations of six-or-more shows, four-shows or three-shows.

Renewal subscription packages are on sale now. CCM’s fully customizable subscription packages range in price from $69 – $188. Subscribers to CCM’s 2016-17 Mainstage Series can receive priority access to seating by renewing their subscriptions by July 7, 2017.

Subscription packages for new subscribers go on sale July 10, 2017. Single tickets go on sale beginning Sept. 5, 2017.

To order subscriptions, contact the CCM Box Office at 513-556-4183.

CCM Sesquicentennial Performances and Concert Series Options

CCM will present additional special events and public performances celebrating its Sesquicentennial throughout the 2017-18 concert season. As the largest single source of performing arts events in Ohio, CCM will also present its typical lineup of chamber music, choral, jazz, orchestra, percussion, piano and wind ensemble concerts each season.

Beginning in January of 2018, the CCM Sesquicentennial will celebrate Leonard Bernstein’s centennial with a collection of performances by students and faculty artists from throughout the college. Subscribers get first access to the Leonard Bernstein Experience, which includes concerts and special events held in the spring and fall of 2018 as part of a world-wide celebration of Bernstein’s 100th birthday.

CCM’s Mainstage subscribers receive priority access to the Bernstein Experience, Ariel Quartet subscription packages, CCM Concert Series flex ticket packages, prepaid parking and other exclusive perks.

Full programming and package details for CCM’s Sesquicentennial Special Event Series, 2017-18 Ariel Quartet Series and Concert Series will be announced in July. Visit ccm.uc.edu for more information.
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Mainstage Season Production Sponsor: Macy’s

CCM Season Presenting Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation

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