CCM Studio Acting Series Presents Premiere of ‘The Earth is Flat’

This work by alumnus Todd Almond is a coming-of-age tale set at UC. Admission is free but reservations are required; tickets become available at noon on Monday, Oct. 30.

This work by alumnus Todd Almond is a coming-of-age tale set at UC. Admission is free but reservations are required. Tickets become available at noon on Monday, Oct. 30.

CCM opens its Studio Acting Series with the premiere of Todd Almond’s The Earth is Flat at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 2. Directed by CCM Acting Professor and Department Chair Richard Hess, the play runs through Saturday, Nov. 4 in CCM’s Cohen Family Studio Theater.

The Earth is Flat follows the story of a UC freshman named Ethan and his journey to self-discovery. Set in a UC dormitory, the play explores the universal awkwardness of the American college experience. The search for identity by those least prepared with answers resonates with unexpected comedy in this new play, which was commissioned by CCM Acting as part of the Cincinnati Playwrights Conference in 2016.

“Ethan struggles to discover what it means to step into a new life far from home as he enters college, after a personal family tragedy almost derails his life,” Hess says. “This bittersweet comedy will make your heart smile.”

“This play is important to UC and CCM because it follows a student’s journey to discover truth in a world that has fallen flat,” says CCM Acting student Olivia Passafiume, who plays the role of Jennifer in The Earth is Flat. “It explores grief, and what it means to have the rug pulled from under you during some of the most formative years of your life.”

“Most importantly, Todd Almond’s words give hope that no matter what you may believe, the power of human connection is eternal,” she adds.

Almond (BM Vocal Performance, BFA Acting 1999) is a composer, performer, lyricist and playwright. He starred alongside Courtney Love in the rock opera Kansas City Choir Boy, for which he also wrote the original book, music and lyrics. His original theatrical works include Girlfriend, Melancholy Play and musical versions of The Tempest and The Winter’s Tale, among others. Since graduating, Almond has returned to CCM to hold master classes and participate in the annual Cincinnati Playwrights Conference. Learn more about Almond on his professional website: toddalmond.com.

The Earth is Flat runs Nov. 2-4 in CCM’s Cohen Family Studio Theater. Admission is free, but reservations are required. Tickets become available at noon on Monday, Oct. 30. They often sell out quickly, so visit our guide to Studio Series tickets for tips and tricks to secure your seats.
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Performance Times

  • 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 2
  • 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 3
  • 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 4
  • 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 4

Location
Cohen Family Studio Theater, CCM Village,
University of Cincinnati

Cast List

  • Jack Steiner as Ethan
  • Graham Lutes as Derek
  • Carissa Cardy/Meg Olson as Shelly
  • Olivia Passafiume/Madeleine Page-Schmit as Jennifer
  • Carter LaCava as Guy Who Looks Like Jeremy
  • Graham Rogers as Man Various
  • Paige Jordan as Woman Various

Tickets
Admission is free. Reservations are required. Tickets become available at noon on Monday, Oct. 30. Please 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 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 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: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation

Studio Drama Series Sponsor: Ms. Margaret L. Straub & Mr. Neil R. Artman
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Story by CCM graduate student Alexandra Doyle

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CCM Studio Series Presents a Musical Celebration of Stephen Sondheim

CCM’s Musical Theatre department stages Sondheim on Sondheim, a documentary-meets-musical-revue, on Thursday, Oct. 5 through Saturday, Oct. 7. Admission is free but reservations are required; tickets become available at noon on Monday, Oct. 2.

CCM opens its Sesquicentennial Studio Series with Sondheim on Sondheim, a musical revue of Stephen Sondheim’s most beloved works, on Thursday, Oct. 5 through Saturday, Oct. 7 in the Cohen Family Studio Theater. The performance paints an intimate portrait of the songwriter, told through his music and through video clips of Sondheim himself.

Stephen Sondheim

Stephen Sondheim.

“Sondheim’s comments are amazingly candid, giving a unique and personal insight into the stories behind the songs, as well as the personal battles he has faced with his family, producers and fame,” says CCM Musical Theatre Professor and Department Chairman Aubrey Berg, director of the show.

Eight singers from CCM’s Musical Theatre program will perform some of Sondheim’s most popular tunes without amplification and accompanied only by piano. Audiences will recognize featured songs in the revue, such as “Comedy Tonight” from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, “Something’s Comin’” from West Side Story and “Send in the Clowns” from A Little Night Music.

The show also includes excerpts from Passion, Assassins and Bounce, as well as a brand-new song written just for Sondheim on Sondheim.

“The strength of the show comes from the brilliance of the music and lyrics and the accomplishments of the performers in interpreting the songs of the modern master of musical theatre,” Berg says.

CCM Musical Theatre has a long history with Sondheim musicals; the department has staged almost all of Sondheim’s major works over the years.

“His songs can be witty and ironic, but also heartfelt and deeply emotional,” Berg says. “They provide a tremendous challenge to young performers and serve as excellent training for our more advanced students.”

With this show, CCM Musical Theatre also welcomes the return of Katie Johannigman (BFA Musical Theatre, 2012) as a Visiting Adjunct Assistant Professor of Musical Theatre. Johannigman choreographs Sondheim on Sondheim, which features music direction and accompaniment by Stephen Goers.

“I have watched Katie grow up and remember her as a star-struck little girl attending productions at CCM,” Berg says. “The last performance she gave here was as Cinderella in Into the Woods (a favorite Sondheim work). I am delighted that she is visiting us this year as a teacher, choreographer and director. It gives us a wonderful sense of continuity.”

You can see Johannigman’s choreography in Sondheim on Sondheim in CCM’s Cohen Family Studio Theater from Oct.5-7. Admission is free, but reservations are required; tickets become available at noon on Monday, October 2. They often sell out quickly, so visit our guide to Studio Series tickets for tips and tricks to secure your seats.
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SONDHEIM ON SONDHEIM
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Conceived and directed on Broadway by James Lapine

Production Team

  • Aubrey Berg, director
  • Stephen Goers, music director and accompanist
  • Katie Johannigman, choreographer
  • Nicholas Smith, lighting designer
  • Margo Leist, stage manager

Cast list

  • Bryce Baxter
  • Aria Braswell
  • Emily Fink
  • Ciara Harris
  • Phillip Johnson
  • Alex Stone
  • Keaton Whittaker
  • Gabe Wrobel

Performance Times

  • 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 5
  • 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 6
  • 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7

Location
Cohen Family Studio Theater, CCM Village,
University of Cincinnati

Tickets
Admission is free. Reservations are required. Tickets become available at noon on Monday, Oct. 2. Please 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 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 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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Sondheim on Sondheim is presented through a special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI www.MTIShows.com.

CCM Season Presenting Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation

Studio Series Sponsors: Dr. & Mrs. Carl G. Fischer, Ms. Margaret L. Straub & Mr. Neil R. Artman
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Story by CCM graduate student Alexandra Doyle

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CCM Studio Dance Series Presents the Student Choreographers Showcase

Dance students at UC’s College-Conservatory of Music will present original choreography on Thursday, March 2 through Saturday, March 4 in the annual Student Choreographers Showcase in CCM’s Cohen Family Studio Theater. Admission is free but reservations are required; tickets become available at noon on Monday, Feb. 27 through the CCM Box Office.

The Choreographers Showcase is directed by Assistant Professor of Dance André Megerdichian. The featured student choreographers are Kiahna Saneshige, Dominique Neff, Sam Jones, Emma Webb, Molly-Grace Lewis, Erin Donnelly and Hope Friedman.

A panel of five faculty members from CCM’s Division of Theatre Arts, Production and Arts Administration chose the students from 11 applicants. Usually the showcase only features six works, but the choreography projects from the seven students was so convincing that the panel decided to present an extra work this year.

“Each applicant showed us three to six minutes of their proposed project, so, while the pieces were not complete, we were looking for a clarity of vision and potential based on what was presented,” Megerdichian said.

Junior Emma Webb’s dance is a barefoot contemporary ballet piece titled Ephemeral. Webb was inspired to create movement based on famous sculptures and paintings; the work incorporates pedestals to further display the dancers themselves as works of art.

Moonlight
, another student work in the showcase, was choreographed by sophomore Erin Donnelly. This narrative piece, set to music by The Piano Guys, follows a soloist lost in a forest and depicts her conflicting emotions of fear, intrigue and fascination.

“The Choreographers Showcase is a very exciting program,” Megerdichian said. “It really represents the future of dance by presenting the next generation of choreographers. The students have the unique perspective of speaking in the context of their time, and this batch of choreographers is really going to give us a great show.”

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Performance Times

8 p.m., Thursday, March 2
8 p.m., Friday, March 3
2 and 8 p.m., Saturday, March 4

Location
Cohen Family Studio Theater, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

Admission
Admission is free. Reservations are required. Tickets become available at noon on Monday, Feb. 27. Please 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 information on parking rates.

For detailed maps and directions, please visit uc.edu/visitors. Additional parking is available off-campus at the 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

The Dance Department gratefully acknowledges the support of the Corbett Endowment at CCM.

Student Salutes

Know Theatre Co-production “Runaways” Opens CCM’s Studio Series

Students from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music are taking over the stage at the Know Theatre for a free public preview performance of Elizabeth Swados’ Runaways at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21.

Runaways, created in the 1970s, is based on hundreds of interviews with teenagers who had run away from home, from predators or from themselves. It blends musical styles from pop to hip-hop, jazz to reggae, while asking why children can’t remain children.

CCM Musical Theatre students in "Runaways", co-produced by the Know Theatre.

CCM Musical Theatre students in “Runaways”, co-produced by the Know Theatre.

Co-produced by CCM and Know Theatre, Runaways is directed and choreographed by CCM Professor Vince DeGeorge with musical direction from first-year Masters of Music student, Luke Flood. The cast is made entirely of CCM Musical Theatre students and the stage management team is comprised of students from CCM’s Theatre Design and Production Department. It will run at the Know Theatre Wednesday, Sept.21-Sunday, Sept. 25.

The Know Theatre and CCM have worked to co-produce multiple productions that give students opportunities to perform on a professional stage and showcase their talents outside of the CCM campus community. This partnership began shortly after CCM alumnus Andrew Hungerford (MFA Lighting Design and Technology, 2005) became the Producing Artistic Director at the Know.

“I am continually amazed at how invested the students are in this very unique musical,” DeGeorge said of the Runaways cast. “Every rehearsal these young actors are challenging themselves to physically, psychologically and emotionally live through the songs and monologues of this show – telling stories that, for the most part, may be very far away from their own personal experiences.”

“The challenging and life-affirming work that is being done in this show is testament to the genius of Elizabeth Swados and the courage of the students that we have here at CCM.”

To prepare for their performances, students have received additional training from Maria Fernanda Del Real, a junior in CCM’s Acting Department who is working as the Spanish-language coach for the production. Additionally, Elizabeth Jean-Baptise, an assistant professor in field service at UC, has taught sign language to student Kyle Pollack, who plays a deaf character named Hubble in the musical.

“Learning the ins and outs of a deaf character has strengthened my understanding of the text, the use of my body in space, my relationships with others in the show, and the way I view, accept and understand others in daily life,” Pollack said. “Runaways has continued to challenge me as an actor and instill even more love for our craft with each day.”

Student Tyler Sodoma added: “Runaways was written almost 40 years ago and contains social issues and material that are still such a huge part of society today. The fact that this work of art still speaks to us young adults and audience members today proves how brilliant the writing is.  I am so excited to open this production and bring it to Cincinnati, especially in the heart of downtown, OTR.  The Know Theatre is the perfect venue for this intimate and extremely personal show.”

CCM's Studio Series opens with Elizabeth Swados' RUNAWAYS, co-produced with Know Theatre of Cincinnati.

CCM’s Studio Series opens with Elizabeth Swados’ RUNAWAYS, co-produced with Know Theatre of Cincinnati.

Runaways will run at the Know Theatre, located at 1120 Jackson St. in Over-the-Rhine, with performances at 8 p.m. on Sept. 21-24. The musical has additional performances at 3 p.m. on Sept. 24-25 and a final 7:30 p.m. show on Sept. 25. Tickets range from $15 to $25 and are available on Know Theatre’s website, https://knowtheatre.vbotickets.com/event/Runaways/15327.

Runaways Creative Team:
Vince DeGeorge, director
Luke Flood, music director*
k. Jenny Jones, fight director
Foster Johns, dialect coach
Maria Fernanda Del Real, Spanish-language coach*
Elizabeth Jean-Baptiste, ASL coach
Jenny Mollet, assistant director/choreographer*
Scott Slucher, production stage manager*
Courtney Hickenlooper, assistant stage manager*
Kate Pozner, production assistant*
Kat Miller, props master/coordinator
* CCM Student

Runaways Cast:
Delaney Guyer
Ciara Harris
Marissa Hecker
Kendall McCarthy
Emily Ashton Meredith
Jenny Mollet
Gabriela Rodrigues
Emily Royer
Shauna Topian
Amanda Valenzuela
Bryce Baxter
Dylan Dougal
Zach Erhardt
Louis Griffin
Tyler Jent
Jordan Miller
Dylan Mulvaney
Kyle Pollak
Tyler Sodoma
Alex Stone
Donelvan Thigpen
Zack Triska

The KNOW Staff:
Andrew Hungerford, Producing Artistic Director
Tamara Winters, Associate Artistic Director
Emily James, Resident Stage Manager
Nick Koehlke, Technical Director
Alice Flanders, Managing Director
Sarah Beth Hall, Production and Design Associate

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Very Dumb Kids

CCM Presents Free Workshop Production of Gracie Gardner’s ‘Very Dumb Kids’

Gracie Gardner

New York playwright Gracie Gardner, commissioned to write ‘Very Dumb Kids.’

CCM’s Studio Series comes to a dramatic conclusion with a workshop production of Very Dumb Kids (formerly titled The Great Majority) by rising New York playwright Gracie Gardner. We invite you to join us Thursday, April 21 – Saturday, April 23 in the Cohen Family Studio Theater for a sneak-peek at this developing drama, which is part of CCM’s new play commissioning initiative. Assistant Professor of Drama Brant Russell directs.

One of the perks of producing a work-in-progress play is observing it evolve over time. Since its genesis, the title of this play has changed from The Great Majority to Very Dumb Kids. According to Gardner, she referred to the production as “the play about the very dumb kids” for quite some time, so this title change was a natural result of the creative process.

This action-packed drama tells the tale of an adventurous woman named Sarah who is tragically murdered while working as a correspondent in New Delhi. While Sarah was busy confronting the world, her college friends sat calmly at home in the U.S., streaming TV shows on the internet and peddling their esoteric skill sets. One year after her funeral, Sarah’s friends meet for their annual Fourth of July reunion.

The play explores entitlement and its effects are on the disenfranchised as well as the privileged in the millennial era. How can we live responsibly in an irresponsible universe?

Very Dumb Kids is the inaugural production of CCM Drama’s new play-commissioning initiative, which focuses on plays that speak to the unique experience of being young in America. The plays, written for and about our students, will enrapture a new generation of artists and audiences. They will go on to be produced by educational institutions and professional theatre companies all over the country to expand CCM’s reach and reputation as a preeminent institution for the performing arts. And you will be able to say you were there when it all started!

We invite you to join us April 21-23 for the workshop production of Very Dumb Kids and ask you to return next year for the full production!

Performance Times

  • 8 p.m. Thursday, April 21
  • 8 p.m. Friday, April 22
  • 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, April 23

Location
Cohen Family Studio Theater, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

Reserving Tickets
Admission to Very Dumb Kids is free but reservations are required.

Tickets become available at noon on Monday, April 18. 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/park 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 & Musical Theatre Program Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation

Community Partner: ArtsWave

Drama Studio Series Sponsor: Neil Artman and Margaret Straub

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Story by CCM graduate student Charlotte Kies

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