Karl Amundson and Phillip Johnson in CCM's 'Big River.' Photo by Adam Zeek.

CCM’s 2015-16 Studio Series Opens with Award-Winning Musical ‘Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,’ Oct. 8 – 10

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 ccm.uc.edu/about/villagenews/did-you-know/how-to-studio-series.

Learn more about this year’s Studio Series lineup by visiting ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice/studio.

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

Location
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 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 new 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

Community Partner: ArtsWave

CCM News
Scenes from CCM’s Mainstage Series production of ‘Peter Pan.’ Photos by Mark Lyons.

CCM Slideshows: Peter Pan – The Musical

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CCM’s 2014-15 Mainstage Series continues TONIGHT with the timeless fairytale musical Peter Pan, playing through Sunday, March 8, in Corbett Auditorium. See a complete list of performance times below.

Directed and choreographed by guest artist Joe Locarro, with musical direction by CCM Professor of Musical Theatre Roger Grodsky, this production promises to whisk audiences away to a place where dreams are born and no one ever grows up! Peter Pan features spectacular flying effects provided by ZFX, Inc.

Listen to cast member Tom Meglio give Cincinnati Public Radio’s Mark Perzel a preview of the high-flying musical by visiting wvxu.org/post/ccms-peter-pan.

Performance Times

  • 8 p.m. Friday, March 6
  • 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, March 7
  • 2 p.m. Sunday, March 8

Location
Corbett Auditorium, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

Purchasing Tickets
Tickets to Peter Pan are $31-35 for adults, $20-24 for non-UC students and $18-22 UC students with a valid ID.

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/peter-pan-mainstage.

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 new 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

Mainstage Season Production Sponsor: Macy’s

Mainstage Production Sponsor: Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC

Community Partner: ArtsWave

Peter Pan is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI. 421 West 54th Street, New York, NY 10019 | Phone: 212-541-4684 | Fax: 212-397-4684 |http://www.MTIShows.com.

CCM News CCM Slideshows Student Salutes
Senior musical theatre major Lawson Young as Elle in CCM's production of LEGALLY BLONDE, playing Oct. 23 - Nov. 2, 2014. Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM Slideshows: Legally Blonde – The Musical

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CCM’s 2014-15 Mainstage Series continues TONIGHT with the all-singing, all-dancing romantic comedy Legally Blonde – The Musical, playing through Sunday, Nov. 2, in Patricia Corbett Theater. See a complete list of performance times below.

Based on the novel by Amanda Brown and the MGM motion picture of the same name, Legally Blonde is a modern-day coming of age tale featuring perky and lovable sorority girl Elle Woods. Elle enrolls in Harvard Law School in an attempt to win back her lost love, Warner. In order for Elle to make it at Harvard she must prove to everyone, including herself, that she has what it takes. When her resolution is tested, Elle discovers what she is truly made of, surpassing her own wildest expectations and finding her inner strength and intelligence.

Legally Blonde is a lively musical romp with a touching lesson. Audiences will thoroughly enjoy this production and may even learn not to judge a book by its cover!

Performance Times

  • 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 23
  • 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 24
  • 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25
  • 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 26
  • 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 30
  • 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 31
  • 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 1
  • 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 2

Location
Patricia Corbett Theater, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

Purchasing Tickets

Tickets to Legally Blonde are $31-35 for adults, $20-24 for non-UC students and $18-22 UC students with a valid ID, with $12-$15 student rush tickets available for both of the Saturday matinees beginning at 1 p.m. on Oct. 25 and Nov. 1.

Customizable subscription packages are also available. 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/legally-blonde-mainstage.

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 new 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

Mainstage Season Production Sponsor: Macy’s

Mainstage Production Sponsor: Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC

Community Partner: ArtsWave

Legally Blonde: The Musical is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI. 421 West 54th Street, New York, NY 10019 | Phone: 212-541-4684 | Fax: 212-397-4684 | http://www.MTIShows.com

CCM News CCM Slideshows
Senior musical theatre major Lawson Young as Elle in CCM's production of LEGALLY BLONDE, playing Oct. 23 - Nov. 2, 2014. Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM’s Mainstage Series Proudly Presents ‘Legally Blonde – The Musical’

Senior Lawson Young as Elle and junior Chris Collins-Pisano as Emmett in CCM's production of LEGALLY BLONDE, playing Oct. 23 - Nov. 2, 2014. Photography by Mark Lyons.

Senior Lawson Young as Elle and junior Chris Collins-Pisano as Emmett in CCM’s production of LEGALLY BLONDE, playing Oct. 23 – Nov. 2, 2014. Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM continues its 2014-15 Mainstage Series this week with the upbeat musical, Legally Blonde.

Directed and choreographed by Professor of Musical Theatre Diane Lala with musical direction by second-year graduate student Craig DaltonLegally Blonde makes its CCM debut Oct. 23 – Nov. 2 in Patricia Corbett Theater.

Based on the novel by Amanda Brown and the MGM motion picture of the same name, Legally Blonde is a modern-day coming of age tale featuring perky and lovable sorority girl Elle Woods. Elle enrolls in Harvard Law School in an attempt to win back her lost love, Warner. In order for Elle to make it at Harvard she must prove to everyone, including herself, that she has what it takes. When her resolution is tested, Elle discovers what she is truly made of, surpassing her own wildest expectations and finding her inner strength and intelligence.

Guest artist Joe Leonard provides the scenic design for this musical movie adaptation. A 1989 graduate of CCM’s Department of Theatre Design and Production, Leonard’s vision for Legally Blonde was incredibly dynamic. This result is a set in which everything moves, flips, turns and flies. “The positive energy of Elle’s story is carried through to every element of the production,” Lala explains.

Legally Blonde features 16 memorable musical numbers by the Drama Desk and Tony Award nominated composer and lyricist team of Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin, with a book by Heather Hach.

The role of Elle Woods is incredibly fun but is also very demanding. Because Elle appears in every scene of this high-energy musical, the role has been double cast and will be played by Sarah Bishop and Lawson Young, both senior musical theatre majors. Likewise, the role of Emmett will be played by senior Nathanial Irvin and junior Chris Collins-Pisano.

Legally Blonde also features two special performers who are brand new to the CCM stage. Jackson and Jilly will play the parts of Rufus and Bruiser, two of musical theatre’s most beloved dogs. Jilly is a Legally Blonde veteran, having played the part of Bruiser in Covedale Theater’s production of Legally Blonde last spring. Jackson is making his acting debut in this fun-filled production.

Legally Blonde is a lively musical romp with a touching lesson. Audiences will thoroughly enjoy this production and may even learn not to judge a book by its cover!

Read more about the production here.

CCM News

CCM Review Round-Up: ‘Les Misérables’ and ‘El Niño’

The critics can’t stop talking about CCM’s productions of Les Misérables and El Niño! Catch up with the latest “buzz” in today’s review round-up!

CCM proudly presents a new production of the iconic musical "Les Misérables," playing Feb. 27 - March 9, 2014. Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM proudly presents a new production of the iconic musical “Les Misérables,” playing Feb. 27 – March 9, 2014. Photography by Mark Lyons.

  • Rick Pender calls CCM’s new production of Les Misérables “magnificent” in his CityBeat review, concluding, “Peeled back to its raw essence, CCM’s staging of Les Misérables is powerful and memorable, one of the best musical theater productions on a Cincinnati stage this season.” Read the full review here.
  • Paige Malott reviews the production for iSPYCiNCY and observes, “Capturing the larger-than-life Les Misérables with perfection, CCM put on a better-than-Broadway performance that is guaranteed 2-4-6-0-fun.” Read the full review here.
  • In his Talkin’ Broadway review, Scott Cain explains, “Musicals presented at… CCM always feature splendidly talented student performers who rarely disappoint. Their current production, Les Misérables, is no exception and does showcase many stunning voices and meticulously detailed acting.” Read the full review here.
  • In his review for The Sappy Critic, Kirk Sheppard suggests, “I’ve seen a lot of shows in Cincinnati over the last couple of years… [and] CCM’s Les Misérables just might be the greatest production I’ve ever seen.” Read the full review here.
  • Rafael de Acha reviews the production for Seen and Heard International and writes, “Keeping the entire undertaking tightly reined in and mercifully devoid of any Broadway clichés, [Aubrey] Berg delivers a fresh and finely-wrought production.” Read the full review here.
  • Emily Begely reviews Les Misérables for UC’s News Record and concludes, “An exemplary cast, a familiar plot and simple props created an unforgettable work of art.” Read the full review here.
Earl Rivers leads the CCM Philharmonia in a rehearsal for John Adams' EL NINO. Photography by Lisa Ventre/University of Cincinnati.

Earl Rivers leads the CCM Philharmonia in a rehearsal for John Adams’ EL NINO. Photography by Lisa Ventre/University of Cincinnati.

  • Janelle Gelfand reviews CCM’s “powerful” performance of John Adams’ El Niño for the Cincinnati Enquirer, and observes, “[Earl] Rivers balanced the work’s intimate emotions against powerful ones, propelled tempos well and drew excellent playing from the orchestra.” Read her full review here.
  • Mary Ellyn Hutton reviews El Niño for ConcertoNet and writes, “John Adams’ oratorio El Niño had its regional premiere in Cincinnati March 2, and it couldn’t have been in better hands. ” Read the full review here.

Performances of Les Misérables resume this evening (Tuesday, March 4) and run through Sunday, March 9. Learn more by visiting ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice/lesmiserables.

CCM News Faculty Fanfare Student Salutes

CCM’s Mainstage Production of ‘Les Miserables’ Receives 5-Star Rating from the League of Cincinnati Theatres

CCM proudly presents a new production of the iconic musical "Les Misérables," playing Feb. 27 - March 9, 2014. Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM proudly presents a new production of the iconic musical “Les Misérables,” playing Feb. 27 – March 9, 2014. Photography by Mark Lyons.

Panelists for the League of Cincinnati Theatres (LCT) have recognized CCM’s production of the long running musical classic Les Misérables with a Five Star Rating! Congratulations to everyone involved with the show!

Panelists praised the production as, “Spectacular… an outstanding and phenomenal production… Bravo for everyone involved for taking a musical I have seen multiple times and making it as fresh, exciting and powerful as the first.”

Director Aubrey Berg was praised for his “seamless” direction: “Aubrey Berg said he had waited over 20 years to direct this musical at CCM and he could not have done it more effectively, with some masterful choices.” Musical Director Steve Goers also was commended for his, “direction of these fine voices and in the outstanding orchestral accompaniment;” he did a, “wonderful job with taking a beast of a show and making it sing beautifully”.

The panelists were impressed by the entire ensemble: “the show absolutely showcased the incredible depth of CCM‘s students… the talent level continues to amaze.” Blaine Krauss, as Jean Valjean, “gave a sensitive, true portrayal of the character… his voice was moving… he should go directly to Broadway.”

Panelists also singled out Colin Kessler, as Javert, for his “outstanding” performance and “remarkable voice”, as well as Matthew Paul Hill’s portrayal of Thenardier: “hilarious in an evil and unctuous manner. He almost stole the show.”

Note: this review was based on the opening night cast. On alternate nights, the roles of Jean Valjean and Javert are also played by Julian Decker and Noah Ricketts, respectively.

Final LCT awards will be determined at the end of the season and announced at the LCT gala in the spring. You can learn more about CCM’s production of Les Misérables here.

About the League of Cincinnati Theatres
The League of Cincinnati Theatres was founded in 1999 to strengthen, nurture and promote Cincinnati’s theatre community. LCT provides its member companies and individual members with education, resources and services to enhance the quality and exposure of the theatre community in Cincinnati and increase community awareness, attendance and involvement. Learn more about the LCT here.

CCM News Faculty Fanfare Student Salutes

CCM Slideshows: Les Misérables

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Tonight through March 9, CCM’s Mainstage Series proudly presents production of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg’s Tony Award-winning musical Les Misérables. In honor of opening night, we present a stunning preview slideshow courtesy of photographer Mark Lyons!

Aubrey Berg, CCM’s Patricia A. Corbett Distinguished Chair of Musical Theatre, directs this new production.

CCM News CCM Slideshows