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

CCM at 150 celebrates Leonard Bernstein at 100! 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. Crossing the boundaries between opera, operetta and stage musical, Bernstein’s Candide journeys through Voltaire’s “best of all possible worlds” with verve and satirical humor. Highlights include the energetic overture and the aria “Glitter and Be Gay.” 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 and Musical Theatre Program Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation

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CCM Alumni in Seven Tony-Nominated Productions

Tony Awards LogoCCM alumni are involved with at least seven productions that have been nominated in the 71st Tony Awards, which air live on CBS at 8/7 central on Sunday, June 11. This year’s nominees include two Broadway musicals that were not only written by CCM alums, but also feature the work of alumni on stage.

Nominated for two Tony Awards, Anastasia features music and lyrics by alumnus Stephen Flaherty (BM Composition, 1982) and his long-time writing partner Lynn Ahrens. Alumna Christy Altomare (BFA Musical Theatre, 2008) performs the title role in the production. Musical Theatre alumni Kathryn Boswell (BFA, 2013) and Kyle Brown (BFA, 2008) perform in the show’s ensemble. In addition to the Tony Award nominations, Anastasia has been nominated for one Chita Rivera Award, two Drama League Awards, 9 Drama Desk Awards and 13 Outer Critics Circle Awards.

Also nominated for two Tony Awards is Bandstand: The New American Musical, with music, book and lyrics by Richard Oberacker (BFA Acting, 1993). Greg Anthony Rassen (MM Orchestra Conducting, 2003) is the co-orchestrator, music supervisor and music arranger of the show. He and co-orchestrator Bill Elliott were nominated for Tony Awards and won a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Orchestrations in Bandstand. David Kreppel (BFA Musical Theatre, 1992) is the vocal music arranger of the production. Two musical theatre alumni have roles in BandstandGeoff Packard (BFA, 2004) as Wayne Wright and Max Clayton (BFA, 2014) as an ensemble member. Clayton, who is also the understudy for Bandstand’s lead role Donny Novitski, received a Chita Rivera Award nomination for Outstanding Male Dancer in a Broadway Show. Bandstand has been nominated for six Chita Rivera Awards, two Drama League Awards, seven Drama Desk Awards and three Outer Critics Circle Awards.

Sharon Wheatley (BFA Musical Theatre, 1990) and Josh Breckenridge (BFA Musical Theatre, 2007) perform in Come From Away, which was nominated for seven Tony Awards, two Chita Rivera Awards, one Drama League Award, nine Drama Desk Awards and seven Outer Critics Circle Awards.

Sean Montgomery (BFA Musical Theatre, 2007) and Joseph Medeiros (BFA Musical Theatre, 2006) are in Groundhog Day, nominated for seven Tony Awards, one Chita Rivera Award, two Drama League Awards, one Drama Desk Award and five Outer Critics Circle Awards.

Nicholas Belton (BFA Musical Theatre, 2002) plays Bolkonsky/Andrey in Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812. Blaine Krauss (BFA Musical Theatre, 2014) performs in the show’s ensemble. Hair and wig design for the show is by Leah Loukas (BFA Make-Up & Wig Design, 2004). The musical has been nominated for 12 Tony Awards, one Chita Rivera Award, three Drama League Awards, four Drama Desk Awards and three Outer Critics Circle Awards.

Eric Santagata (BFA Musical Theatre, 2004) is the associate director of Falsettos, which features Betsy Wolfe (BFA Musical Theatre, 2004) as Cordelia. The musical has been nominated for five Tony Awards, two Drama League Awards, three Drama Desk Awards and three Outer Critics Circle Awards.

Stephanie Jae Park (BFA Musical Theatre, 2014) and Angel Reda (BFA Musical Theatre, 2003) perform in War Paint. The musical has been nominated for four Tony Awards, three Drama League Awards, seven Drama Desk Awards and four Outer Critics Circle Awards.

The Tony Awards, hosted by Kevin Spacey, will be broadcast live on CBS at 8/7 central on Sunday, June 11. Find out more by visiting www.tonyawards.com/en_US/nominees/.

Are you a CCM Alumnus with news? Stay in touch by sharing your story with us!

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CCM staff member Dave Colussi with E-Media alumna Melissa Hopkins, professor Kevin Burke and alumnus Tavi Wolf.

E-Media Launches ‘Give One Day’ Campaign for Student Equipment

CCM staff member Dave Colussi with E-Media alumna Melissa Hopkins, professor Kevin Burke and alumnus Tavi Wolf.

CCM staff member Dave Colussi with E-Media alumna Melissa Hopkins, professor Kevin Burke and alumnus Tavi Wolf.

CCM graduate Tavi Wolf (BFA E-Media, 1999) is leading a new alumni giving campaign for the Division of Electronic Media, which encourages graduates to “give one day” to CCM in order to keep current students supplied with industry-level production equipment.

The Give One Day donation campaign launched at the 2017 E-Media Excellence Awards Ceremony in April. The Division hopes it will raise $33,000 by next spring’s Excellence Awards Ceremony.

The campaign challenges CCM alumni and friends to donate, whether it be one day’s wage or $25, so E-Media can keep up-to-date with professional-quality production equipment for students including cameras, lights, lens and tripods.

“As the owner of a small production company, I need to hire crew with the experience needed for time-sensitive productions,” says Wolf. “We don’t have time to train new hires on the job, so I want to help ensure that the current students in E-Media have their hands on the equipment the professionals are using.”

“Lets raise the funds necessary to keep our program competitive, not only with other schools but with the industry work force.”

Wolf says he was motivated to start the Give One Day campaign about a year ago, when E-Media alumni, faculty and community members united to raise $5,000 in one week for an alumnus in need.

Wolf saw how quickly alumni raised money for a fellow E-Media family member and wanted to channel that passion into a campaign that will benefit the entire Division.

One donation helps E-Media students get one step closer to becoming future directors, cinematographers or film-makers.

You can make a donation to the Give One Day: Electronic Media Alumni Campaign online at ccm.weshareonline.org/ws/opportunities/E-Media

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CCM Director of Development Sarah Mizelle

UC Alumna Sarah Mizelle Joins CCM’s Office of Development and External Relations

University of Cincinnati alumna Sarah Mizelle has been named CCM’s new Director of Development and External Relations. A graduate of UC’s Carl H. Lindner College of Business (MBA, 2011) and College-Conservatory of Music (MA Arts Administration, 2013), Mizelle begins her new position on Monday, May 22.

“We are thrilled to welcome Sarah back to the UC Foundation and CCM,” says Karen Tully, CCM’s Senior Director of Development and External Relations. “I had the pleasure of getting to know Sarah while she served as a graduate assistant in CCM’s Development and External Relations Office from 2009 to 2011. She quickly became a valuable member of our team, coordinating many of the outreach and special events sponsored by CCMpower, our volunteer fundraising organization. We are delighted to have her rejoin the CCM family.”

Mizelle returns to CCM with a decade’s worth of leadership experience in building strong school communities through student, alumni and donor engagement. She most recently served as Executive Director of the Madeira Schools Foundation, where she successfully oversaw a $600,000 capital campaign to build a new fitness center at Madeira High School. During her tenure, the Madeira Schools Foundation’s annual auction also achieved the highest gross profit since its inception in 1985.

Prior to her position at the Madeira Schools Foundation, Mizelle was Executive Director of the Friends of the School for Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA), an organization dedicated to securing resources that enhance SCPA’s creative environment and enable the development of each student’s artistic potential.

Mizelle worked in CCM’s Development Office during her time as a student in CCM’s Arts Administration graduate program. She also served as manger of social media marketing and public relations for a CCM summer festival in Spoleto, Italy, in 2011.

Mizelle received her BM in Music Education from Miami University, Oxford, in 2004. She has continued her involvement in music and the performing arts throughout her career, volunteering for such organizations as People Working Cooperatively (PWC) Ohio and Cincinnati Music Theatre. At Cincinnati Music Theatre, Mizelle served as vocal director for productions of The Music Man and Sunset Boulevard and artistic director for Crazy For You, each of which won an Orchid Award for Excellence from the Cincinnati Association of Community Theatres.

“The arts have been an enormous part of my life and have shaped who I am today,” says Mizelle. “I am beyond thrilled to return to CCM, an institution where the arts thrive everyday. I am proud to have the opportunity to further the mission of such a truly special place.”

Please join us in welcoming Sarah Mizelle back to the CCM family!

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Alumnus Christopher Allen Receives $30K Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award

The Solti Foundation U.S. recently announced that CCM Alumnus Christopher Allen (MM Orchestral Conducting, 2011) is the recipient of the $30,000 Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award — the largest grant awarded to young American conductors in the U.S.

“We are most pleased to announce Christopher Allen will receive this year’s Solti Conducting Award,” stated Penny Van Horn, Board Chair of the Solti Foundation U.S. “Christopher, previously recognized with a Career Assistance Award in 2016, exemplifies our objective of supporting talented young American Conductors as they continue to develop their orchestral and operatic conducting skills. His exceptional young career promises to fulfill our goal and extend Sir Georg’s legacy.”

This year, the Solti Foundation U.S. increased the monetary value of the Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award from $25,000 to $30,000 to help “ensure that our young conductors have the opportunity to demonstrate their musicianship, leadership and full potential to the broadest possible audience,” Van Horn said.

Recipients may use the financial grant in various ways to further his or her career, whether it be further studies, purchases of scores, travel, etc. The Award also brings door-opening introductions within the industry and valuable access to mentors. The Foundation’s Board of Directors comprises experts from all areas of the classical music industry.

Christopher Allen.

Recently named the John L. Magro Resident Conductor for Cincinnati Opera, Allen is rapidly gaining attention as a rising conductor on the operatic and symphonic stages. His 2016-17 season highlights include debuts with the Washington National Opera conducting Donizetti’s La fille du regiment, with Florida Grand Opera conducting Cuban-American composer Jorge Martin’s Before Night Falls, and with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis leading the new revised version of Ricky Ian Gordon’s Grapes of Wrath. He also made his Atlanta Symphony Orchestra debut conducting a program of Wagner, Tchaikovsky and Beethoven, and guested at the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where he led Catan’s Florencia en el Amazonas. Recently, he made his UK debut conducting The Barber of Seville at the English National Opera.

Upcoming 2017 summer engagements include leading the Cincinnati Opera’s Washington Park concert for the second year in a row and conducting Barrie Kosky’s production of Die Zauberflote. Next season, Allen returns to Opera Theatre of Saint Louis to conduct a new production of La traviata directed by acclaimed soprano Patricia Racette. He will also conduct the North Carolina premiere of Jennifer Higdon’s Cold Mountain and make his Atlanta Opera debut conducting La fille du regiment.

Allen’s previous honors include a Bruno Walter Conducting Award and Memorial Career Grant, which launched his career. He was then fostered by Placido Domingo and James Conlon, who brought him to Los Angeles Opera as an Associate Conductor. He is also a recipient of a 2016 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award. As a CCM student, his production of Benjamin Britten’s Turn of the Screw was awarded a National Opera Association prize.

“It is with special joy that the Artistic Committee has chosen Christopher Allen for this year’s larger Solti Conducting Fellowship award,” said Elizabeth Buccheri, Artistic and Awards Committee Chair of the Solti Foundation U.S. “Christopher has already successfully begun his journey into both the operatic and symphonic worlds. Sir Georg Solti would indeed be pleased.”

About The Solti Foundation U.S.
Now in its thirteenth year of assisting outstanding young U.S. conductors to further develop their talent and careers, The Solti Foundation U.S. is the foremost organization in the United States dedicated exclusively to helping young conductors.

Established in 2000 to honor the memory of Sir Georg Solti by lending significant support to career-ready young American musicians, in 2004, the Foundation concentrated the focus of its award program to exclusively assist talented young American conductors early in their professional careers (its original mission was of a more general arts nature). Since then, it has awarded over $412,500 in grants to American conductors.

The Foundation endeavors to seek out those musicians who have chosen to follow a path similar to that followed by Sir Georg himself. In keeping with the spirit of Sir Georg’s active approach to his career, young conductors must apply to be considered for the awards.

While dedicated to identifying and assisting young conductors early on, the Foundation is also concerned with the long-term development of its award recipients, continuing to offer support and maintaining a constant interest in their growth and achievements.

The Foundation currently awards the following grants annually:

The Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award – The largest grant currently given to American conductors in the formative years of their careers, the prestigious $30,000 grant is given annually to a single promising American conductor 38 years of age or younger. The Award, also known as The Solti Fellow, includes door-opening introductions, ongoing professional mentoring, and introductions to two of Chicago’s most prestigious performing organizations: Lyric Opera of Chicago and Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Past recipients include Karina Canellakis, Vladimir Kulenovic, Cristian Macelaru, James Feddeck, Case Scaglione, Eric Nielsen and Anthony Barrese.

The Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award – The amount of the Career Assistance Awards varies.

Opera Residency Program – Introduced in the 2014-15 season, the program places former award recipients with a distinguished opera house for one-on-one mentoring and coaching of an opera during the company’s professional season. Conductors cannot apply, but are instead selected by the Artistic and Awards Committee.

The Foundation is currently the only American Foundation to grant these kinds of awards each year to young American conductors. Citizens or permanent residents of the United States who are career-ready artists in the field of conducting are eligible to apply.

For more information on the Solti Foundation U.S., visit soltifoundation.us.

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CCM Alumna Betsy Wolfe to Replace Sara Bareilles in Broadway’s ‘Waitress’

CCM Musical Theatre alumna Betsy Wolfe (BFA 2004) has made a name for herself by winning major roles, including Cordelia in the current Broadway revival of Falsettos, which was recently nominated for five Tony Awards. She will take on her next Broadway role as Jenna Hunterson in Waitress on June 13.

Waitress features music and lyrics by six-time Grammy Award nominee Sara Bareilles, who is currently playing Jenna on Broadway. Bareilles is leaving the show on June 11, and Wolfe will take her place.

The musical is about a waitress and excellent pie-maker (Jenna) who feels trapped in her loveless marriage and small town. A baking contest and the arrival of an attractive young doctor help her realize her dreams, giving her a chance at a fresh start. With a book by acclaimed screenwriter Jessie Nelson and direction by Tony Award-winner Diane Paulus, the musical is based on the 2007 film of the same name.

Wolfe was recently awarded CCM’s 2017 Musical Theatre Young Alumni Award, which recognizes the outstanding professional achievements of young graduates of the college’s Musical Theatre program. She returned to CCM in March for the annual Musical Theatre Senior Showcase and spoke to students about her career.

Local audiences may remember Wolfe from the enormously successful semi-staged version of The Music Man, which she starred in with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra in May 2015.

Since graduating from CCM, Wolfe has starred in 110 in the Shade, Everyday Rapture, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Bullets Over Broadway and Falsettos. She also starred in the off-Broadway revival of The Last Five Years and in Merrily We Roll Along at City Center Encores. She’s been a hot commodity on the concert circuit as well, having soloed with the Cincinnati Pops, New York Pops, New York City Ballet and more.

For more information about Wolfe visit broadwayworld.com/people/Betsy-Wolfe/.

For more information on Waitress visit waitressthemusical.com.

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Story by CCM graduate student Alexandra Doyle

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40 Years in the Making: Alumnus Returns to CCM for His Degree

In 1976 Randall Kent was in his senior year at the University of Cincinnati when he left school to focus on working full time at his own company Stagecraft Inc. Forty years later, he returned to UC’s College-Conservatory of Music to finish his studies and earn a BFA in Costume Design and Technology.

Randall Kent with his former students from McAuley High School.

Randall Kent with his former students from McAuley High School. Photo provided by Randall Kent.

Kent is the Technical Theater Director at McAuley High School and continues to serve as the president and CEO of Stagecraft Inc. With his company, Kent has created character costumes and mascots for amusement parks, sports teams, movies and universities. As a student, he created the UC Bearcat costume that was used from 1975 to 2006.

Kent’s passion for costume design began in the summer of 1972 at the Kings Island amusement park. He performed daily in the park’s classic Hanna-Barbera costumes, which were “old, hot and in disrepair,” Kent remembers.

He began studying technical theatre at CCM that fall and returned to Kings Island with the skills he learned in class. Kent took apart the park’s costumes and made new designs, turning 10 old costumes into 30 new costumes — from Scooby Doo and Yogi Bear to The Banana Splits.

As Character Supervisor at Kings Island, Kent repaired character costumes like Scooby Doo and Yogi Bear.

As Character Supervisor at Kings Island, Kent repaired character costumes like Scooby Doo and Yogi Bear. Photo provided by Randall Kent.

In 1975 former ice hockey team the Cincinnati Stingers reached out to Kings Island for a referral company that could design and build a new mascot. Kent created the Stinger Bee “Slapshot” mascot through Stagecraft Inc. and launched his professional career.

The business was so successful that Kent left CCM a year after Stagecraft Inc. began. The company created costumes for Disney, Six Flags, Universal Studios and multiple universities from Maryland to Oregon. Stagecraft’s mascot costumes were featured in films The Waterboy, The Program and Old School. Stagecraft most recently created character costumes for Mentos gum, Miami Savings Bank, Walnut Hills High School and Roger Bacon High School.

Kent’s passion led him to teaching when he followed his daughter to McAuley High School twelve years ago. He began volunteering as the high school’s Technical Theater Director, which later became an official paid position. Kent oversaw the costume design for the school’s productions of Beauty and the Beast and Mary Poppins, both shows won Cappie awards for best costumes.

Kent's costumes in McAuley High School's production of "Beauty and the Beast."

Kent’s costumes in McAuley High School’s production of “Beauty and the Beast.” Photo provided by Randall Kent.

Kent made an immediate connection with his students, who ultimately inspired him to go back to school. He returned to CCM to finish the degree he left behind 40 years previously and graduated with a BFA in Costume Design and Technology in December, 2016.

Three of his students from McAuley High School joined Kent in his last semester; two are in CCM’s costume design program and one is in the stage design program. Ironically, they were in the same technical theatre class together at CCM.

“It seemed quite natural that we be in class together and quite rewarding for me that I could have that kind of effect on my students,” Kent says. “I hope to send more to CCM in the future.”

Randall Kent and his students at the Cappie Awards.

Randall Kent and his students at the Cappie Awards. Photo provided by Randall Kent.

After he graduated from CCM, Kent jumped into his role as Technical Theater Director at McAuley High School. He and his students designed and built everything from the costumes to the set for the school’s spring musical All Shook Up, which ran April 7-9. The show was nominated for 24 Cappie awards, including best costumes.

Kent plans to continue to grow his passion for theatre at the high school and Stagecraft Inc.

“Getting that piece of paper was very rewarding and made me feel like I had come full circle,” Kent says of his degree from CCM. “It validated me as a artist and business man. It also ensured that I could teach as the teacher of record.”

Congratulations to all of CCM’s 2016-17 graduates! Photos from this year’s Graduation Convocation Ceremony will be posted to the CCM Village News later this week.

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