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 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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CCM Acting Alumnus Takes New Musical ‘Bandstand’ to Broadway

Five alumni from UC’s College-Conservatory of Music are involved in a swing-filled, all-American musical that opens on Broadway on April 26. Bandstand: The New American Musical features alumni from CCM’s Acting, Musical Theatre and Orchestral Conducting programs.

Bandstand, set in 1945, tells the story of Donny Novitski, a World War II veteran who decides to enter a national contest seeking America’s newest musical sensation. He quickly assembles a ragtag jazz band of fellow veterans, along with a beautiful young war widow to be the band’s lead singer, and enters the contest. It’s a post-war Cinderella story told in an era when young Americans were fighting for their identity in the face of a dramatically changed world.

Richard Oberacker (BFA Acting, 1993) wrote the music, book and lyrics for Bandstand. While Oberacker received his undergraduate degree in acting, he has become a successful conductor, composer and lyricist. He is currently the conductor of Cirque du Soleil’s in Las Vegas, and he composed the score for a new musical version of The Great Gatsby, which will premiere in Tokyo later this year.

Oberacker returned to CCM in 2015 to teach a "Singing Actor" master class.

Oberacker returned to CCM in 2015 to teach a “Singing Actor” master class.

“Richard Oberacker was born to make music. He is a storyteller by nature, and now America will get to enjoy just how good he is when Bandstand opens on Broadway,” said Richard Hess, Professor of Acting and the A.B., Dolly, Ralph and Julia Cohen Chair of Dramatic Performance.

“He has such a big heart, and he inspires excellence in everyone around him. Cincinnati taught Richard how to fly; now he’s ready to soar.”

Greg Anthony Rassen (MM Orchestral Conducting 2003) is co-orchestrator, music supervisor and music arranger for Bandstand.  During his time on Broadway, he has conducted An American in Paris, The Little Mermaid, The Book of Mormon and Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. He is also an accomplished pianist and was featured on the Grammy-nominated cast recording of An American in Paris. He currently holds a position with the New York Pops.

The vocal music arranger for the show is David Kreppel (BFA Musical Theatre, 1992), who is currently the Associate Music Supervisor for The Lion King worldwide and has conducted Aladdin, Sister Act, Rock of Ages and A Chorus Line on Broadway.

Two CCM alumni have roles on stage in this production. Geoff Packard (BFA Musical Theatre, 2004) plays Wayne Wright, the trombonist in the band. His Broadway credits include Matilda, Rock of Ages and Phantom of the Opera, and he has participated in national tours of Wicked and Phantom of the Opera.

Max Clayton (BFA Musical Theatre, 2014) is in the ensemble and is also an understudy for Donny Novitski, the male lead. On Broadway, he has been seen in Something Rotten!, On the Town and Gigi.

Bandstand opens on April 26 at Broadway’s Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, 242 West 45th Street in New York City.  You can learn more about the show at bandstandbroadway.com.

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Story by CCM graduate student Alexandra Doyle

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CCM’s Moveable Feast: Plan Your Artistic Menu

Here is your first look at this year’s artistic menu for CCM’s annual Moveable Feast. Create your own schedule of 20-minute samplings of student entertainment, along with Backstage tours and much more before Friday’s event!

This year’s “opening course” offers a preview of songs from Broadway’s Anastasia, composed by CCM graduate Stephen Flaherty (BM Composition, 1982). Cast as Anya in the new musical, alumna Christy Altomare (BFA Musical Theatre, 2008) returns to the Corbett Auditorium stage to sing “Journey to the Past” with the CCM Philharmonia. View the Moveable Feast program online or scroll below for a complete list of performances.

A map of CCM Village is below, including food stations with dinner by-the-bite from Jeff Thomas Catering. Be sure to visit the CCM Box Office during Moveable Feast for special discounts on spring concerts and Mainstage performances.

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Moveable Feast Schedule

Corbett Auditorium
Philharmonia Orchestra featuring Anastasia – 7:30 p.m.
Jazz Orchestra & Musical Theatre Finale – 10 p.m.

Patricia Corbett Theater
Dance
– 8 p.m., 9 p.m.
Opera – 8:30 p.m., 9:30 p.m.

Cohen Family Studio Theater
Musical Theatre
– 8 p.m., 8:30 p.m., 9 p.m., 9:30 p.m.

Robert J. Werner Performance Hall
Chamber Choir
– 8 p.m., 9 p.m.
Ariel Quartet – 8:30 p.m.
Piano – 9:30 p.m.

CCM Atrium
Backstage Tours – 8 p.m., 8:30 p.m., 9 p.m., 9:30 p.m.
Lighting Demonstrations – 8 p.m., 8:30 p.m., 9 p.m., 9:30 p.m.

Room 3650
Preparatory & Community Engagement – 8 p.m., 8:30 p.m., 9 p.m., 9:30 p.m.

Room 3250
Classical Guitar – 8 p.m.
Acting – 8:30 p.m., 9:30 p.m.
World Music – 9 p.m.

Room 3240
Theatre Design and Production Exhibit – 8 p.m., 8:30 p.m., 9 p.m., 9:30 p.m.

Room 3140c
Electronic Media – 8 p.m., 8:30 p.m., 9 p.m.

The festivities begin at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 20. Tickets to this year’s event are moving fast, so don’t delay – get yours before they’re gone and experience an unforgettable evening of artistic and culinary delights! Call CCM at 513-556-2100 to order.

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CCM Moveable Feast. Photo by Joseph Fuqua II

Moveable Feast Returns to CCM Village on Jan. 20, 2017

Cincinnati’s premier fundraiser returns in early 2017 when the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) presents its annual “Moveable Feast.”

Hosted by the CCMpower volunteer group of fans, advocates and alumni, this unique benefit event features students from all corners of the college in an evening of live entertainment and by-the-bite cuisine. Funds raised by Moveable Feast enable CCMpower to award student scholarships and grants. The festivities begin at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017.

A stunning showcase of CCM’s world-class performing and media arts programs, Moveable Feast gives guests a chance to sample artistic and culinary delights throughout the college’s state-of-the-art facilities. Attendees roam through the expansive CCM Village at their leisure, socializing and enjoying dinner-by-the-bite while creating their own menu of artistic experiences.

Guests plan their own schedule of 20-minute samplings of student and faculty entertainment, including Jazz, Choral, Musical Theatre, Piano, Opera, Acting, Dance and Orchestra performances, along with tours of CCM’s Electronic Media facilities, Lighting Design labs and other backstage areas.

Christy Altomare

Christy Altomare

New for 2017! Each year, CCM’s Moveable Feast provides Cincinnati audiences with an opportunity to see the performing and media arts “stars-of-tomorrow” before they’re famous. This year’s program also features a performance by one of CCM’s acclaimed “Broadway babies,” as alumna Christy Altomare (BFA Musical Theatre, 2008) returns to CCM to provide a preview of her next Broadway role! Recently cast as Anya in the new Broadway musical production of Anastasia, which features music by acclaimed composer and fellow CCM graduate Stephen Flaherty (BM Composition, 1982), Altomare will perform the Oscar-nominated song “Journey to the Past” with the CCM Philharmonia Orchestra as the “opening course” on this year’s artistic menu.

Anastasia’s promotional team will be on campus to film Altomare’s Moveable Feast performance, which will then be used to promote the show’s Broadway run. Anastasia opened to rave reviews at the Hartford Stage; the show comes to Broadway’s Broadhurst Theatre on March 23, 2017.

Altomare’s performance kicks off three hours’ worth of fully customizable arts experiences. Cocktails and dinner-by-the-bite provided by Jeff Thomas Catering will be served throughout the evening.

Event Time
6:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 20

Location
CCM Village, University of Cincinnati

Purchasing Tickets

Tickets to “Moveable Feast” are on sale now and can be purchased online at ccm.uc.edu/support/events or over the telephone at 513-556-2100.

  • Celebrate CCM Package: $500 (package price includes two tickets to Moveable Feast and two tickets to CCM Musical Theatre’s 25th Annual “Not Famous Yet” Showcase in March, name on Moveable Feast invitation and program, valet parking for Moveable Feast and parking voucher for Showcase)
  • Host Package: $200 (package price includes one ticket to Moveable Feast and one ticket to CCM Musical Theatre’s 25th Annual “Not Famous Yet” Showcase in March, name on Moveable Feast invitation and program, valet parking for Moveable Feast and parking voucher for Showcase)
  • Host Ticket: $125 (ticket price includes valet parking, name listed on Moveable Feast invitation and program)
  • General Public Tickets: $75 (ticket price includes a discounted CCMpower membership)
  • CCM Alumni and Young Professional (40 and under) Tickets: $50 – discounted ticket price only available until Dec. 15, 2016.

Seating is limited. Event proceeds raised by CCMpower support student scholarships for CCM’s “stars of tomorrow” and also help fund student and ensemble travel, master class opportunities and collaborative projects.

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 campus of the University of Cincinnati. 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.

ccmpowerAbout CCMpower
The result of a merger of the Friends of CCM and the CCM Alumni Governing Board, CCMpower is a volunteer group of fans, advocates and alumni dedicated to empowering students and fueling the future of the arts through scholarship opportunities and more. This new organization is a combination of people who love and support the arts along with graduates of CCM investing back in their school. To learn more, visit ccm.uc.edu/ccmpower.

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CCM Professor Emeritus Oscar Kosarin.

In Memoriam: Emeritus Faculty Member Oscar Kosarin

CCM Professor Emeritus Oscar Kosarin.

CCM Professor Emeritus Oscar Kosarin.

We are saddened to report the passing of Professor Emeritus Oscar Kosarin, who served as Associate Professor of Musical Theatre at CCM from 1971 through 1985. Kosarin passed away on Saturday, Oct. 1, at the age of 98. He is survived by his wife, Dianne, daughter, Carli, and sons Kim and Oscar.

Initially taught piano by his mother, Kosarin also studied harmony and counterpoint with Boris Levenson, studied composition with Anis Fuleihan and Isadore Freed, and attended Leon Barzin’s conducting classes.

Kosarin began playing piano professionally at the age of 19, first performing with dance bands in night clubs before making the move to Broadway, where he also gained experience as a conductor, arranger and vocal coach. On Broadway, he conducted musicals such as Happy Time with Robert Goulet, Oh, Captain with Tony Randall, Fade Out, Fade In with Carol Burnett and Mr. Wonderful with Sammy Davis, Jr.

Kosarin was named to CCM’s faculty in the fall of 1971 as part of the expansion of the school’s still-nascent musical theatre degree program. Kosarin inaugurated his time at CCM by conducting productions of Bye, Bye Birdie, Brigadoon and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum during the 1971-72 season. He cited Sweeney Todd, West Side Story and Sugar as three of his favorite musicals from his 14-year tenure at CCM.

Kosarin retired from CCM in the spring of 1985. During a farewell banquet held in his honor, CCM Drama Professor Diane Kvapil observed:

“He’s much loved by the students. He teaches them what’s special about them and how to use it. His colleagues will miss him because we worked well together.”

At the time of his retirement, Kosarin referred to his decision to teach at CCM as the smartest move he ever made, commenting:

“I had a great advantage in that [the students] were a group of people who really wanted to study. We had a wonderful relationship.”

In addition to his appointment at CCM, Kosarin also taught and directed musical theatre workshops at New York’s American Academy of Dramatic Arts and coached opera and musical comedy privately. He composed the ballet music for A Tree Grows in BrooklynPal Joey, Hazel Flagg and Canterbury Tales. He also composed music for films, including Virginia—Pursuit of Happiness, which won first prize at the Virgin Islands International Film Festival in 1975. In 1983, Prentice Hall published his book The Singing Actor: How to Be a Success in Musical Theatre and Night Clubs.

CCM’s upcoming production of A Chorus Line will be dedicated to the loving memory of Professor Kosarin. Our thoughts are with his family and friends during this time.

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CCM Alumni in Broadway’s “Cats” and “Hamilton”

We are thrilled to report that ten CCM alumni are involved in Broadway productions this season!

Christine Cornish Smith (BFA Musical Theatre, 2013) makes her Broadway debut this fall as Bombalurina in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats. The Broadway revival of the Tony Award-winning musical opened at the Neil Simon Theatre in New York on July 31. Other alums in the production are: Kristen Blodgette (BM, 1976), Cats musical supervisor/director; Aaron J. Albano (CCM, 2001-2003), chorus; and  Jessica Hendy (BFA Musical Theatre, 1993), chorus and Grizabella understudy. Hailei Call, who earned a BFA from CCM’s Theatre Production and Design program in 2011, is working on the creative team in Cats.

According to Hendy’s interview with WCPO, this is her second time performing in the feline production. She made her Broadway debut in the original cast of the Cats chorus and as understudy for Grizabella, belting the character’s iconic ballad “Memory” in 1999.

Recent CCM graduate Samantha Pollino (BFA Musical Theatre, 2016) returns to Broadway in the Chicago cast of Hamilton. Performances begin Sept. 27 at the PrivateBank Theatre in Chicago. Two other CCM musical theatre alums, Andrew Chappelle (BFA, 2009) and Alysha Deslorieux (BFA, 2012) are members of the original Hamilton cast, which earned 11 Tony awards at the 2016 ceremony.

CCM also has alums in Something Rotten, produced by Kevin McCollum (BFA, 1984). Leslie Kritzer (BFA Musical Theatre, 1999) plays Bea in the musical. Musical theatre alums Max Clayton (BFA, 2014) and Eric Sciotto (BFA, 1997) are in the ensemble.

The 2016 Tony Awards included six productions that had CCM alums as cast or crew members. You can read more about their work here.

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

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Story by CCM graduate student Charlotte Kies

Cats production photo by Matthew Murphy

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