A photo of the entrance to the CCM Atrium on UC's campus. Photo/UC Creative + Brand.

CCM Alumna Karen Zhang Wins Prestigious MTNA Teacher Fellowship

CCM alumna Karen Zhang (BM Piano Performance, ’16; MM Piano Performance, ’18) is the 2020 recipient of the Music Teachers National Association’s MarySue Harris Studio Teacher Fellowship. This $3,000 grant, funded by the MarySue Harris Endowment Fund, is presented annually to a recently graduated independent studio music teacher who demonstrates commitment to the music teaching profession and outstanding studio development.

Karen ZhangDuring her time at CCM, Zhang studied with CCM Professor of Piano Eugene Pridonoff and Associate Professor of Piano Soyeon Kate Lee. Zhang was a winner of CCM’s Van Cliburn Scholarship Competition and the Glenn Miller Society Scholarship Competition, as well as the first-place winner of the $9,400 prize at Three Arts Scholarship Competition. She also participated in the 2017 Pianofest, held in Hampton, New York. As a CCM master’s degree student, she was a graduate assistant in secondary piano.

After graduation, Zhang and her husband Jaesung Kim founded their Cincinnati-based piano studio, Musical Moments. Her students have been winners of numerous competitions, including the University of Kentucky’s Nathaniel Patch Piano Competition, OhioMTA Auditions Festival and the 88 Tri-State Piano Concerto Competition. Many of her students have also been recognized with Distinction-level certificates from the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. Zhang has been invited to teach and perform in numerous pre-colleges and venues in Asia, including those in Seoul, Chengdu, Chongqing, Taishan and Beijing.

Zhang has also taught through the City Gospel Mission’s Whiz Kids Music Program, an after-school program that gives music classes and lessons to students in the Cincinnati area whose schools do not offer music classes. CCM Preparatory and Community Engagement connects collegiate students with teaching and mentoring opportunities through the CCM AfterSchool program, which has partnered with Whiz Kids, Cincinnati Public Schools and other education and community organizations.

About MTNA and MarySue Harris

MTNA is a nonprofit organization of some 20,000 independent and collegiate music teachers committed to furthering the art of music through teaching, performance, composition and scholarly research. Founded in 1876, MTNA is the oldest professional music teachers’ association in the United States.

MarySue Harris, a long-time MTNA member from Nebraska, has devoted her teaching career to nurturing young music students. Her commitment to pedagogy and the beginning music teacher led to her establishment of the MarySue Harris Endowment Fund.


Story by CCM Graduate Student Alexandra Doyle

Featured image at top: Memorial Hall, which is part of the CCM Village on UC’s campus. Photo/UC Creative + Brand.

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Long Beach Opera’s production of The Central Park Five. Photo credit: Long Beach Opera

CCM alumnus Leslie B. Dunner conducts Pulitzer Prize-winning opera ‘The Central Park Five’

Long Beach Opera’s production of The Central Park Five. Photo credit: Long Beach Opera

Anthony Davis’ opera won the prestigious prize after Dunner led the world premiere in June 2019

CCM graduate Leslie B. Dunner (DMA Orchestral Conducting, ’82) conducted the premiere of Anthony Davis’ The Central Park Five last June with California’s Long Beach Opera. In May, the opera won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize in Music.

Composed by Davis with a libretto by Richard Wesley, the opera was described by the jury of the prestigious award as, “a courageous operatic work, marked by powerful vocal writing and sensitive orchestration, that skillfully transforms a notorious example of contemporary injustice into something empathetic and hopeful.”

The Central Park Five’s musical style combines elements of jazz, hip-hop, blues and other historically African-American genres. The opera centers on the five African American and Latino teenagers who were unjustly convicted of a Central Park assault in the 1980s, but were exonerated through DNA evidence 13 years later.

CCM audiences may remember Dunner from his recent appearance on campus. In October 2019, Dunner returned to CCM to conduct the Philharmonia in its “CSI Halloween: Post-Mortem” performance. While on campus, Dunner connected with CCM conducting students over dinner and worked with them in studio class as well as in rehearsals to prepare for the performance.

An award-winning conductor with a glowing international reputation, Dunner is the Music Director of the South Shore Opera Company in Chicago and serves as the conductor of the Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra, the World Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Interlochen Arts Camp.

Dunner began rehearsals for The Central Park Five shortly after his teaching and conducting work at the Interlochen Arts Academy ended for the 2018-19 school year. In an interview for Interlochen’s website, Dunner commented on the importance of telling the stories and struggles of black Americans through the lens of opera.

“Anthony Davis said something very interesting,” Dunner tells Interlochen. “He had an interview where he was asked what he thought was relevant with opera. Because the interviewer said, ‘Opera was becoming a dead medium.’ And Anthony replied, ‘No. It’s not a dead medium. It’s a dead medium for your stories. It’s not a dead medium for our stories because our stories have not been told in opera.’”

For Dunner, the story of the Central Park Five is very personal. “I grew up in the area where all of this took place,” Dunner tells Interlochen. “I lived eight blocks away. I used to go to that part of Central Park as a kid. All of what went on during that time I have been through.”

From the Central Park Five to today’s #BlackLivesMatter movement, stories of cultural, racial and socio-economic injustices regularly make headlines across the country. “The cycle is still being perpetuated,” Dunner tells Interlochen. “What happened to them should not be happening anymore. Yet it is still happening. That is the relevance. That’s why this was important.”

One month after Dunner led the world premiere of The Central Park Five at Long Beach Opera, another opera focused on wrongful convictions premiered at Cincinnati Opera. The stories of six people who were wrongfully imprisoned and then freed were told in Blind Injustice, a collaboration with CCM, UC’s Ohio Innocence Project (OIP) and the Young Professionals Choral Collective. Based on casework by the OIP and the book “Blind Injustice” by UC law professor and OIP Director Mark Godsey, the highly acclaimed opera was directed by CCM Professor of Opera Robin Guarino and featured several current and former CCM students in the cast.

Efforts to share diverse stories through the performing arts is not limited to tales of wrongful convictions and struggle. In February, Dunner conducted the Toledo Symphony in a program that highlighted classical musicians of color. Selections included excerpts from Nkeiru Okoye’s opera Harriet Tubman: When I Crossed That Line to Freedom, Duke Ellington’s The River Suite, André Previn’s Honey and Rue and William Grant Still’s Symphony No. 1, among other pieces. As Music Director and Interim Artistic Director of Chicago’s South Shore Opera, Dunner furthers the company’s mission to provide greater opportunities for professional artists of color, especially local black artists, in performances of classic and contemporary operas.

“We are just now coming to the foreground,” Dunner tells Interlochen. “So we are using this medium to tell our stories, and we are modifying the medium so that it’s relevant to our population, and that’s what’s interesting, and that’s what’s exciting, and that’s what I want to be a part of.”

Read Dunner’s full interview on Interlochen’s website.

Learn more about Pulitzer Prize-winning opera, The Central Park Five.

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A photo of the entrance to the CCM Atrium on UC's campus. Photo/UC Creative + Brand.

CCM Acting Faculty, Alumni and Students Embrace Local and National Digital Theatre

A photo of the entrance to the CCM Atrium on UC's campus. Photo/UC Creative + Brand.

Cincinnati Playhouse and the One-Minute Play Festival share creative monologues and short-plays featuring CCM Acting faculty, alumni and students

The pandemic isn’t stopping theatre artists from connecting and sharing their work. Although they can’t gather on stage or perform in front of an in-person audience right now, actors and directors are creating digital spaces to share theatre online.

CCM Acting Professor Brant Russell recently participated in two digital theatre efforts through Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park’s Monologues of Hope series and the national One-Minute Play Festival (1MPF).

“A bunch of us have refused to allow the lack of sanctioned or safe traditional theatre methods to hamper our practice. We can’t gather, we can’t even be near each other, but the need to make work still exists, and the audiences for it are there,” Russell says. “Zoom/digital theatre is a burgeoning practice, and I’m proud CCM is in the mix.”

The Playhouse’s series commissioned 10 local playwrights to write monologues on the theme of hope during the pandemic. Each monologue is performed by a local actor and shared on the Playhouse’s website and social media accounts. So far, the Monologues of Hope Series has shared nine new works, including Russell’s Play for Our Time and Hope Deconstructed by CCM Acting alumna Torie Wiggins (BFA, ’02).

In Play for Our Time, Russell travels back in time to the Yellow Fever outbreak of 1878 to get some advice from Cincinnati Chief Health Administrator Dr. Thomas C. Minor, portrayed by actor Barry Mulholland. The 19th-century doctor is a bit uncomfortable with Russell’s “rectangle device” (smart phone), but he manages to share some timely words of wisdom.

Wiggins’ Hope Deconstructed features actor Ernaisja Curry in a comedic monologue that examines how “we’ve been getting hope all wrong” by associating it with negativity. “Hope should be hopeful. It should sound hopeful; it should look hopeful. It should start in the eyes like smizing, then the rest of the face follows suit, then the tone of voice, then the positive words with a burst of energy,” the actor exclaims in the monologue.

Hope and creativity fuel these digital theatre projects and various online performances across the country. It is evident in the commitment of these teachers, students, actors, directors and theatre companies who are determined to stay connected and share their work in new ways.

“Theatre develops and strengthens community,” says CCM Acting student Anastasia Jacques. “Digital theatre and live performances over Zoom have made me feel so connected to people very far away.”

Jacques participated in the One Minute Play Festival’s (1MPF) Coronavirus Plays Project, which presented 625 plays via Zoom over 11 days. Russell directed 62 of the one-minute plays, which ranged in topic from “old married couples dealing with quarantine to pigeons deciding on whom they should poop,” he says.

Dominic D’Andrea is the Founder and Producing Artistic Director of the 1MPF, which is the country’s largest and longest consistently running community-engaged theatre project. Russell directed 1MPF plays when it came to Chicago in 2011 and wrote/directed for the IMPF when it came to Cincinnati in 2015. He cast CCM students for the project and passed his directing duties to a CCM Acting student the next year. A CCM Acting student has been directing for the Cincinnati 1MPF each year ever since, and Russell continues to write plays for it.

“We produce about 1,000 plays a year in 15-20 cities and communities, in real life. We just moved what we do online, so it wasn’t that hard for us,” D’Andrea says of the 1MPF Coronavirus Plays Project. “In this case we did a partnership with The Dramatists Guild of America and, for the first time ever, did an open call. We had about 1,300 emails and 625 useable plays from that. We offered the work up to our partnering orgs and alumni directors to stage some of it. So we built a little online coalition.”

Brant Russell directs CCM Acting students, alumni and other actors through Zoom in the 1MPF's Coronavirus Plays Project. Photo/1MPF

Brant Russell directs CCM Acting students, alumni and other actors through Zoom in the 1MPF’s Coronavirus Plays Project. Photo/1MPF

Russell and D’Andrea have known each other for around 15 years, dating back to when they met at the Lincoln Center Director’s Lab. When D’Andrea launched 1MPF’s Coronavirus Plays Project, he enlisted Russell to direct 62 of them.

D’Andrea estimates that a couple thousand audience members watched the plays through Zoom, and the project involved about 14 directors, 120 actors and 625 writers from 14 different countries.

Russell’s casts included Jacques as well as CCM Acting alumni Ella Eggold (BFA, ’19), Gabriella DiVincenzo (BFA, ’19) and Paige Jordan (BFA, ’20).

Jacques played various roles during the 1MPF project including a loving spouse, a poetic farmer and — her favorite — a doting New Jersey mother. This was the first digital theatre project she has worked on, but it won’t be the last. Jacques is planning to be a guest speaker on “Reliving Childhood,” a YouTube channel launched by CCM Acting students Carlee Coulehan, Sierra Coachman and Noah Buyak. “Reliving Childhood” centers around re-watching TV shows from the students’ youth, and the idea was brought to life when students were separated during quarantine.

“We are taught that live theatre is magical because the audience and the actors are in the same room breathing the same air, but I think it is important to recognize that storytelling is the best medicine — period,” Jacques says. “If we can’t breathe the same air at least we can see each other’s faces and see each other’s hearts.”


Featured image at top: The entrance to the CCM Atrium on UC’s campus. Photo/UC Creative + Brand.

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CCM Village at night

CCM E-Media professor and student help UC Emeriti Center launch new website

CCM Village at night

The University of Cincinnati Emeriti Association and Center, headed by College-Conservatory of Music E-Media Professor Peter DePietro, unveiled a new website in April that showcases the work of recent graduate Jonathan Kilberg (BFA E-Media, ’20). As the center’s multimedia intern, Kilberg’s work included web design/development, user experience design, videography and audio production — a grouping of disciplines that are unique to CCM’s E-Media program.

Assistant Professor of E-Media Peter DePietro.

Peter DePietro.

DePietro is the first non-interim executive director of the Emeriti Center, which advocates for the interests of emeriti, provides intellectual and social opportunities and strengthens ties between emeriti and the university, local, national and international communities. The new website includes videos from the Center’s YouTube channel as well as helpful resources for the university’s retired faculty members.

Since having a major role in the Center, DePietro has worked on creating connections between UC and community leaders as well as connecting deans from different colleges across campus. He is also focused on growth and expanding membership. At CCM he continues to educate his students through experience-based learning, which is why he recruited a student to help build the Center’s new website. DePietro enlisted the help of Kilberg because he believes that engaging students in practical learning is important.

“It was an amazing opportunity to be able to work for the Center,” Kilberg says. “I jumped at the opportunity. Every single member is supportive and kind and sociable. It was amazing to meet all these people from campus life and beyond campus life.”

Creating the UC Emeriti website was no small feat. The task required both Kilberg and DePietro to take classes and tests in order to train on the university’s web content management system and to meet the standards of UC’s Digital Communications office. In addition to the website, Kilberg and DePietro created a YouTube channel with original video content. The crown jewel of the YouTube channel is the EmeriTALKS series which Kilberg noted as one of the best parts of working on this project. The EmeriTALKS videos include a joint-venture between the Center and CCM, featuring the leadership of Cincinnati’s Playhouse in the Park, and another featuring former UC President Nancy Zimpher.

As an E-Media student at CCM, Kilberg has enjoyed multiple opportunities to participate in hands on learning experiences. In October 2019, Kilberg traveled to Germany and Poland with CCM E-Media Professor Hagit Limor’s multi-disciplinary Media Topics class. The group of 15 students set out to create “Hope After Hate,” an immersive play and virtual reality experience that shares Limor’s father’s experience during the Holocaust with lessons to inspire action against future acts of hatred.

CCM’s BFA E-Media program encompasses the integrated media arts of film and digital cinema, television and broadcast media news, audio production and new media design. Students are given the opportunity to study in the track of their choosing, including Broadcast and Media Production, Multimedia Production and Film and Television Production. Internships are a key part of the curriculum and take advantage of the professional resources in Cincinnati and other areas across the country. With its emphasis on experiential learning, students acquire the hands-on skills and a digital portfolio necessary to transition successfully into the professional world.

Kilberg plans on going into the film industry and feels that one of the biggest skills E-Media has taught him is how to effectively work with a team. “E-Media pushed me to work with other people, which is so necessary in the field that I want to go in. The program taught me the importance of working as a team.”

“The professors are talented and they work hard at creating community,” Kilberg says. “They also offer great resources and there is support from the alumni of E-Media. Going forward they are going to continue to do an amazing job preparing students.”


Story by CCM Graduate Student Kelly Barefield

Featured image at top: An aerial view of CCM Village. Photo/Jay Yocis

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Leo De La Cruz

CCM student oboist wins NFMC’s prestigious Carolyn Nelson Double Reed Award

Leo De La Cruz

CCM graduate student Leo De La Cruz turned heads in a variety of competitions during the 2019-20 season. Most recently, he won the National Federation of Music Clubs’ Carolyn Nelson Double Reed Award, which includes a $1,250 cash prize.

Leo De La Cruz rehearsing with CCM Chamber Winds. Photo/Provided.

Leo De La Cruz rehearsing with CCM Chamber Winds. Photo/Provided.

De La Cruz also won the CCM Wind Studies concerto competition, which culminated in a performance of Weber’s Concertino for Oboe and Wind Band with the CCM Chamber Winds on February 9, and he achieved an honorable mention at the 2020 Yamaha Young Performing Artists Competition.

To apply for the Carolyn Nelson Double Reed Award, De La Cruz submitted a 15-minute performance video, including the Weber Concertino he performed in February. His other selections were Dutilleux’s Oboe Sonata and Robert Schumann’s Three Romances, which he performed in chamber music recitals at CCM.

“I think the part that I’m most proud of about those recordings isn’t necessarily my own playing, but rather the back and forth between my partners and me,” De La Cruz says. “Both of them were fantastic collaborators and musicians, and I’m positive that my own playing improved drastically just through the work we did together.”

Before coming to CCM, De La Cruz attended high school in Spring, Texas (a suburb of Houston) and earned bachelor’s degrees in oboe performance and music theory from Furman University.

“I gravitated toward the oboe because it was unique; I was the only one in my middle school band who played it,” he remembers. “I never really planned on making music for a living, so I didn’t really take it very seriously until the end of high school, when I took a music theory class and really fell in love with the orchestral repertoire.”

De La Cruz is also working on two degrees at CCM — master’s degrees in oboe performance and music theory. In his oboe studies, he receives guidance from both of CCM’s oboe faculty, Professor of Oboe Mark Ostoich and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Oboe Dwight Parry, principal oboe at the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

“I’m not quite sure what I want to do in the future quite honestly, because both of my interests bring me so much satisfaction,” De La Cruz says. “I can’t get enough of making music with other people, so if I could find a way to incorporate both chamber music and music theory into a career, I’d be happy.”


Story by CCM Graduate Student Alexandra Doyle

Featured Image at top: Leo De La Cruz. Photo/Provided.

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Playbill Streams Broadway’s ‘Bandstand’ Musical Film on April 10

Playbill will stream the 2017 Broadway musical Bandstand, written by CCM Acting alumnus Richard Oberacker (BFA, ’93) and Robert Taylor, beginning tonight, April 10, 2020. The Tony Award-winning musical tells the story of World War II veteran Donny Novitski, who forms a band with fellow veterans and enters a national contest to become America’s newest musical sensation.

Richard Oberacker with CCM Acting Professor Richard Hess at a preview performance of “Bandstand” on Broadway.

The first Playbill Playback, a new series in which old and recent favorite musicals can be streamed on Playbill.com, Bandstand will be streamed for the first time on April 10 and will be available through April 17. A portion of the proceeds raised with the stream will go to The Actors Fund.

The Bandstand stream will also feature an interview with co-stars Laura Osnes, Corey Cott and Beth Leavel as well as director-choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler and co-creators Oberacker and Taylor.

In addition to Oberacker, alumni from across CCM are involved in this award-winning musical. Geoff Packard (BFA Musical Theatre, ’04) plays Wayne Wright, a trombonist in the veteran band; Max Clayton (BFA Musical Theatre, ’14) is in the ensemble; Greg Anthony Rassen (MM Orchestral Conducting, ’03) is the co-orchestrator, music supervisor and music arranger; and David Kreppel (BFA Musical Theatre, ’92) is the vocal music arranger.

Bandstand was the first theatrical production in history to be certified authentic by Got Your 6, an organization that advocates for authentic portrayal of the military across entertainment.

Learn more about the Bandstand stream on Playbill.

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CCM Acting Class of 2020 Presents Virtual Senior Showcase

Watch a collection of five scenes showcasing the talents of CCM Acting’s Class of 2020

The Acting Department at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM Acting) proudly presents its first Virtual Senior Showcase. Although the COVID-19 novel coronavirus prevented CCM Acting from holding its customary Senior Showcases for agents and casting directors in New York and Los Angeles this spring, the program’s new Virtual Senior Showcase allows industry insiders and the general public to see this year’s seniors in action.

The video showcase includes five scenes showcasing the talents of CCM Acting’s Class of 2020. Directed by Professor D’Arcy Smith, the A.B., Dolly, Ralph and Julia Cohen Chair in Acting at CCM, the showcase features students performing excerpts from TV programs, films and plays including “227,” “Pretty Little Liars,” “Pysch” and “Embers” along with an excerpt of “My So-Called Gay Life” written by CCM Acting student Abby Palen. A collaboration with CCM’s Electronic Media program, the CCM Acting Virtual Senior Showcase features the work of E-Media majors Caleb Smiley and Carlos Herriott II. Viewer discretion is advised; this video features strong language and mature content.

“Although we’ve transitioned to remote operations, we remain committed to our ongoing academic and artistic missions,” says Smith. “Our senior Acting students have put in countless hours preparing for their industry debuts in this year’s Senior Showcase and they deserve to have their time in the spotlight. They should be very proud of everything that they have accomplished, and we are happy to present this video snapshot of their talent for the entire world to enjoy.”

Get to know the graduating seniors by reading their professional summaries!

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CCM Voice Student Advances to Lotte Lenya Competition finals

CCM is delighted to announce that first-year artist diploma student Teresa Perrotta (MM Voice, ’19) reached the finals of the Lotte Lenya Competition, one of the most prestigious vocal competitions for young artists.

Composer John Corigliano and Teresa Perrotta at the French premiere of “The Ghosts of Versailles.” Photo/Gail Luna

A rising soprano, Perrotta won the Seybold-Russell Award at CCM’s 2019 Opera Scholarship Competition and advanced to the Upper Midwest Regional Auditions in this year’s Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. In December 2019, she made her international debut as Marie Antoinette in the French premiere of John Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles at the Château de Versailles Royal Opera. She studies with CCM Voice Professor Gwendolyn Coleman.

Perrotta is one of 12 finalists in the 2020 Lotte Lenya Competition. These finalists were selected out of 282 applicants from 24 states after a preliminary video round and a semi-finals round in New York City. The finals were initially scheduled for May 2 at the Eastman School of Music, but the Kurt Weill Foundation, which holds the competition, is exploring other options in light of the current global health crisis.

Teresa Perrotta. Photo/Caitlin and Kevin Photography

Teresa Perrotta. Photo/Caitlin and Kevin Photography

CCM is often well-represented at the Lotte Lenya Competition. In 2017, Paulina Villarreal (DMA Voice, ‘18; MM Voice, ’15) won third prize, while Jasmin Habersham (AD Opera, ‘15; MM Voice, ‘13) and Lisa Marie Rogali (MM Voice, ’18) each received prizes of $3000. Talya Lieberman (AD Opera, ‘16) took Third Prize in the 2016 installment of this prestigious international theatre singing contest, while Lauren Roesner (BFA Musical Theatre, ‘13) won Third Prize in 2013 and alumna Caitlin Mathes (AD Opera, ’10, MM Voice, ‘09) won First Prize in 2011.

About the Lotte Lenya Competition

More than a vocal competition, the Lotte Lenya Competition recognizes talented young singer/actors who are dramatically and musically convincing in repertoire ranging from opera/operetta to contemporary Broadway scores, with a focus on the works of Kurt Weill. Since its inception in 1998, the Lotte Lenya Competition has grown into an internationally recognized leader in identifying and nurturing the next generation of “total-package performers” (Opera News) and rising stars in both the opera and musical theater worlds. The roster of prizewinners has likewise grown to over 100, many of whom have gone on to major performing careers. Visit kwf.org for more information about the Kurt Weill Foundation or the Lotte Lenya Competition.


Story by CCM Graduate Student Alexandra Doyle

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CCM Named ‘Best of Cincinnati’ by CityBeat Readers and Staff

Three productions with CCM connections were voted “Best of Cincinnati” by CityBeat readers and staff. CityBeat’s Best of Cincinnati 2020 issue is available online now!

CCMONSTAGE Play Series presented “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” in October 2019. Photo/Richard Hess

CCM’s production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time won “Best Play (Student/Community)” in the magazine’s readers poll. Directed by CCM Acting Professor Richard E. Hess, the play was presented in October as part of the CCMONSTAGE Play Series.

Blind Injustice, CCM’s co-production with Cincinnati Opera and UC College of Law’s Ohio Innocence Project, received a special Best of Cincinnati staff pick award as “Best World Premiere Opera to Open Your Eyes.” Directed by CCM Opera Professor Robin Guarino, the opera featured stories of six wrongly incarcerated people who were aided by the OIP.

Blind Injustice, CCM’s co-production with Cincinnati Opera and the Ohio Innocence Project, was presented in July 2019 at Music Hall’s Wilks Studio. Photo/Philip Groshong

CityBeat staff wrote: “Robin Guarino’s terrific staging of the sold-out series of shows in the Wilks Studio in Music Hall in July 2019 drew excellent performances from a gifted cast that included members of Cincinnati’s Young Professionals Choral Collaborative. The five performances sold out months in advance, as did a free presentation at Allen Temple A.M.E. Church in Bond Hill. Blind Injustice is proof positive that opera can bear powerful witness to the social issues of our time, as well as to the strength of the human spirit in the face of mindless injustice. May it be seen again and again and again, here and throughout the country.”

CCM students self-produced “The Flick” at Clifton’s Esquire movie theater in July 2019. Photo/Ella Eggold

CityBeat staff also recognized CCM students who produced and acted in a unique presentation of The Flick, a Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Annie Baker, at Clifton’s Esquire movie theater. The production was dubbed “Best Play Held in an Unconventional Setting.” CCM Acting alumni and current students Ella Eggold, Gabriella DiVincenzo, Graham Rogers, Leonard Peterson and Kristina Steinmetz acted and produced the play, which was stage managed by CCM Theatre Design and Production student Jennelle John-Lewis. CityBeat staff praised the production team’s efforts as “spectacular” and “outstanding.”

Congratulations to all of our friends and partners also featured in this special issue of CityBeat! Read more on CityBeat’s website or view a digital version of the issue.


Featured image at top: Best of Cincinnati graphic by Taylor Speed/CityBeat

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CCM Presents Enchanting Musical ‘The Secret Garden’ on March 5-8

 

The CCMONSTAGE Musical Series presents this enchanting musical based on the beloved children’s story on March 5-8, 2020. Tickets are on sale now.

CCM presents award-winning musical The Secret Garden on March 5-8, 2020, at Corbett Auditorium. This enchanting classic of children’s literature is reimagined in musical style by Lucy Simon and Marsha Norman, and brought to life at CCM by Broadway’s Connor Gallagher with musical direction by Jeremy Robin Lyons.

A 2006 graduate of CCM’s BFA Musical Theatre program, Gallagher most recently created choreography for Broadway’s Beetlejuice, currently playing in New York. He returns to his alma mater to choreograph and direct CCM’s production of The Secret Garden, working with CCM Musical Theatre’s student stars of tomorrow.

The compelling tale of forgiveness and renewal centers on 11-year-old orphan Mary Lennox, who moves from India to Yorkshire to live with her reclusive uncle Archibald and his ailing son Colin. The estate’s many wonders include a magic garden which beckons the children with haunting melodies and the “Dreamers,” spirits from Mary’s past who guide her through her new life.

Winner of a Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical and a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Book of a Musical, this “turn-of-the-century fairy tale” (Los Angeles Times) offers an enchanting evening of entertainment for the whole family! CCM’s production of The Secret Garden will last two hours, plus a 15-minute intermission.

The 2019-20 CCMONSTAGE Musical Series presents The Secret Garden on March 5-8, 2020, at Corbett Auditorium. Tickets are on sale now through the CCM Box Office; student and group discounts are available.

About Connor Gallagher
A 2006 graduate of CCM’s Musical Theatre program, Connor Gallagher is thrilled to re­turn to CCM to direct The Secret Garden. He most recently created choreography for the worldwide Broadway phenomenon Beetlejuice, currently playing in New York at the Winter Garden Theatre. Gallagher works extensively with the Walt Disney Company, most recently directing and choreographing a new adaptation of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, based on the 2017 film. The production won the international Brass Ring Award and is currently running onboard the Disney Dream. He’s choreographed music videos for artists VINCINT, Stefan Benz and 2020 Best New Artist Grammy nominee Tank and the Bangas. Other selected credits include The Robber Bridegroom (Roundabout Theatre Company, 2016 Astaire Award), Found (Philadelphia Theatre Company), Camelot (Westport), the world-premiere stage adaptation of Disney’s Tangled (Disney Creative Entertainment), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Ogunquit Playhouse), The Twelve (Denver Center), The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Bucks County Playhouse), The Fabulous Lipitones (Goodspeed), Vanity Fair (Shakespeare DC and San Francisco ACT), Dancing at Lughnasa (Two River) and more than a dozen shows for Theatreworks USA. Gallagher choreographed the hit musical adaptation of Elf, which has had more than a dozen touring companies since 2012, with sit-down runs at Madison Square Garden and the Kennedy Center. Gallagher has created choreography for Glidden Paint, Luxxotica Eyewear, Hanky Panky underwear, the Writers Guild Awards and the HIFA Festival in Zimbabwe. Gallagher is currently developing the new musical It’s The Bear, two new works with Disney Creative and an international arena show that will debut in 2021. Gallagher made his Broadway debut as a performer in Beauty and the Beast. Visit connorgallagher.com for more information.

The Secret Garden Billing Credits

  • Book and Lyrics by Marsha Norman
  • Music by Lucy Simon
  • Based on the Novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Secret Garden” is presented by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH, INC.

Creative Team

  • Connor Gallagher, director and choreographer
  • Jeremy Robin Lyons*, musical director
  • Joshua E. Gallagher, scenic designer
  • Evan Carlson*, lighting designer
  • Zach Buscher* and Seth Howard*, prop masters
  • Andrew Volzer*, production stage manager
  • Dean Mogle, costume designer
  • Marnee Porter*, wig and make-up designer
  • Zachory Ivans*, sound designer

* CCM Student

Cast List

  • Zoe Mezoff as Mary Lennox
  • Delaney Guyer as Lily
  • Madison Hagler as Archibald Craven
  • Sam Pickart as Dr. Neville Craven
  • Anna Chase Lanier as Martha
  • Kurtis Bradley Brown as Dickon
  • Jenna Bienvenue as Colin
  • Britta Cowan as Mrs. Medlock
  • Jamie Goodson as Mrs. Winthrop/Jane
  • Nick Berninger as Ben
  • Christian Feliciano as Fakir
  • Sofie Flores as Ayah
  • Mikayla Renfrow as Rose Lennox
  • Matt Copley as Captain Albert Lennox
  • Michael Canu as Lt. Peter Wright
  • Elijah King as Lt. Ian Shaw
  • Hank Von Kolnitz as Major Holmes
  • Veronica Stern as Claire Holmes
  • Jack Brewer as Major Shelley
  • Zoë Grolnick as Mrs. Shelley
  • Bailee Endebrock as Alice
  • Chip Hawver as William
  • Cassie Maurer as Betsy
  • David Littlefield as Timothy
  • Swings: Sasha Spitz and Cole Harksen
  • Dance Captains: Michael Canu and Bailee Endebrock

Performance Times

  • 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 5
  • 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 6
  • 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 7
  • 2 p.m. Sunday, March 8

Location

Corbett Auditorium, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

Purchasing Tickets

Single tickets prices start at $35.50. Student discounts and group rates are also available.

Learn about additional ticket options for current CCM students.

Tickets can be purchased in person at the CCM Box Office, over the telephone at 513-556-4183 or online now through our e-box office.

Directions and Parking

CCM is located on the campus of the University of Cincinnati. Please visit ccm.uc.edu/about/directions for detailed driving directions to CCM Village.

Parking is available in UC’s 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.


CCMONSTAGE Production Sponsors: Macy’s, Dr. & Mrs. Carl G. Fischer and Graeter’s Ice Cream

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