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

CCM’s Studio Production of ‘Blood Brothers’ Receives a 4.5 Star Rating from the League of Cincinnati Theatres

From left to right: Karl Amundson, Hannah Kornfeld and Thomas Knapp in CCM's Studio Series production of BLOOD BROTHERS, running Oct. 9 - 11 in the Cohen Family Studio Theater. Photography by Adam Zeek.

From left to right: Karl Amundson, Hannah Kornfeld and Thomas Knapp in CCM’s Studio Series production of BLOOD BROTHERS, running Oct. 9 – 11 in the Cohen Family Studio Theater. Photography by Adam Zeek.

We are thrilled to report that panelists for the League of Cincinnati Theatres (LCT) have recognized CCM’s Studio Series production of Blood Brothers with a 4.5 star rating.

Blood Brothers is the haunting story of the Johnson twins, separated at birth and brought together by the power of friendship. A tale of superstition, class distinction and adolescent love loosely based on The Corsican Brothers by Alexandre Dumas, Blood Brothers was the winner of the Olivier Award for Best New Musical in 1983.

Panelists praised faculty director Vince DeGeorge “for his tight direction and bare-bones concept – he showed that one needs not have a big set and scenery to put together a powerful production.”

Faculty member Steve Goers received strong kudos for his rearrangement of the score for voices: “the vocal ensemble provided the full harmonic textures of the score that Goers’ lone piano could not. His overture had the ensemble sing the string, brass and wind parts to create a very evocative opening.”

The entire cast was commended: “a bonded ensemble that was used expressively and expertly… every performer was beautifully cast and resonated with me.” In particular, leads Thomas Knapp as Mickey, Karl Amundson as Eddie, and Hannah Kornfeld as Mrs. Johnstone were singled out for touching and believable performances.

Overall panelists found Blood Brothers “an outstanding production of a weird and wonderful show… smashing!”

League of Cincinnati Theatre panelists evaluate productions on a 5 star scale and recommend shows at either a 4 star or 5 star level. Nominations for LCT awards will be determined and announced at the end of the season and winners awarded at the annual LCT gala in the spring.

CCM News Faculty Fanfare Student Salutes
From left to right: Karl Amundson, Hannah Kornfeld and Thomas Knapp in CCM's Studio Series production of BLOOD BROTHERS, running Oct. 9 - 11 in the Cohen Family Studio Theater. Photography by Adam Zeek.

CCM’s Studio Series Opens Next Week With Award-Winning Musical ‘Blood Brothers’

Karl Amundson as Eddie and Thomas Knapp as Mickey in CCM's Studio Series production of BLOOD BROTHERS, playing Oct. 9 - 11 in the Cohen Family Studio Theater.

Karl Amundson as Eddie and Thomas Knapp as Mickey in CCM’s Studio Series production of BLOOD BROTHERS, playing Oct. 9 – 11 in the Cohen Family Studio Theater.

CCM kicks off its 2014-15 Studio Series with Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers. Opening Thursday, Oct. 9 and running through Saturday, Oct. 11 in CCM’s Cohen Family Studio Theater, Blood Brothers will enthrall audiences with four performances.

Like all Studio Series productions, admission to Blood Brothers is free, but reservations are required. Tickets become available at noon on Monday, Oct. 6.

Visiting Professor Vince DeGeorge returns to the Studio Series stage as both choreographer and director of this much-anticipated musical. Last season, DeGeorge’s studio production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee received numerous accolades, including nominations for three League of Cincinnati Theatre Awards: Best Musical, Best Director of a Musical and Best Ensemble in a Musical.

Blood Brothers, winner of the 1983 Olivier Award for Best New Musical, is loosely based on the 1844 novella The Corsican Brothers by famed author Alexandre Dumas. DeGeorge describes it as “an epic story of nature versus nurture and class distinction.” It tells the tale of twin brothers separated at birth, but DeGeorge explains that it is also “the personal narrative of two women and the extremes that they’ll go to in order to keep their children safe.”

It was the emotional strength of this story that initially drew DeGeorge to the title. “This is an incredibly well crafted musical with book, music and lyrics by Willy Russell. Every character, scene and song in this piece pushes the narrative forward to its inevitable, tragic conclusion,” he says.

Brianna Barnes, a junior in the musical theatre program at CCM, will play the role of Mrs. Lyons, a major character in Blood Brothers. Barnes talks about developing her character: “playing a character that is significantly older than your actual age is always a challenge, [especially] grasping that level of maturity and wisdom. Love, however, is a universal feeling everyone can relate to. And that’s what is at the core of these two women, their unconditional and relentless love for their children.”

Barnes has immensely enjoyed working with DeGeorge. “Vince undoubtedly has an incredible vision for the production, and really collaborates that vision with our specific abilities.”

The CCM production of Blood Brothers is elegant in its simplicity. The staging serves to emphasize the musical’s raw emotion and the choreography plays a part in setting the stage. Audiences will enjoy movement inspired by the swing era of the mid 40s and 50s. Musical director Steve Goers supports the purity of the performance with his effortless arrangements and graceful piano accompaniment. Blood Brothers is a performance that will deeply affect audiences through its emotional delivery and masterful artistry.

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.

Cast List
Mrs. Johnstone……………………………………………………………. Hannah Kornfeld
Mrs. Lyons………………………………………………………………….. Brianna Barnes
Mr. Lyons……………………………………………………………………. John Battaliegse
Mickey Johnstone………………………………………………………… Thomas Knapp
Edward Lyons……………………………………………………………..  Karl Amundson
Sammy……………………………………………………………………….. Zach Erhardt
Linda………………………………………………………………………….. Kaela O’Conner
Narrator………………………………………………………………………. Tyler Huckstep
Ensemble……………………………………………………………………. Alec Cohen, Emily Fink, Louis Griffin, Jackson Mattek, Emily Royer, Keaton Whittaker, Hannah Zazzaro

Performance Times

  • 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 9
  • 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 10
  • 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 11

Location
Cohen Family Studio Theater, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

Reserving Tickets

Admission 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

CCM Announces Fall 2014 Calendar of Major Events

CCMFall2014EventCalendarCover

Click on the image above to view CCM’s Fall 2014 Calendar Booklet.

This fall, CCM will present more than 100 public performances, ranging from faculty and guest artist concerts to fully staged opera, musical theatre, drama and dance productions. You can learn more about our performance schedule below or you can stop by the CCM Box Office and pick up a copy of our Fall 2014 Calendar of Major Events!

Download a copy of CCM’s Fall 2014 Calendar of Major Events today. Physical copies are also available at the CCM Box Office.

Single tickets for CCM’s Mainstage and Concert Series performances go on sale today! Subscription and flex ticket packages are also still 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.

Event Information
All events listed below take place on the campus of the University of Cincinnati unless otherwise indicated. Please see individual event information for single ticket prices and ordering information. All event dates and programs are subject to change.

Parking and Directions
Parking is available in the CCM Garage (located at the base of Corry Boulevard off Jefferson Avenue) and additional garages throughout the UC campus. Please visit uc.edu/parking for information on parking rates.

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

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

CCM News
CCM's Cohen Family Studio Theater.

CCM Announces 2014-15 Studio Series of Opera, Musical Theatre, Drama and Dance

With free admission and limited seating, CCM’s innovative and award-winning Studio Series remains one of the hottest tickets in Cincinnati.

This season’s Studio Series includes eight exciting productions showcasing CCM’s “rising stars.” The series opens in October with the energetic musical Blood Brothers and concludes in April with the profoundly funny drama You’re Welcome (A Cycle of Bad Plays).

Other highlights include Monteverdi’s masterful opera The Coronation of Poppea in February and the Dance Department’s annual Student Choreographer’s Showcase in March.

CCM News