The company of "Cats". Production photo by Matthew Murphy. http://www.broadway.com/shows/cats-broadway/photos/

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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CCM Students and Alumnae Advance to Semifinals of the 2015 Lotte Lenya Competition

We are delighted to report that four current and former CCM students have advanced to the semifinal round of the 2015 Lotte Lenya Competition! Those include Artist Diploma candidate Jasmine Habersham (also MM Voice, 2013), Artist Diploma candidate Talya Lieberman, first-year DMA candidate Reilly Nelson (also MM Voice, 2014) and alumna Christine Cornish Smith (BFA Musical Theatre, 2013).

This impressive showing gives CCM more semi-finalists than any other school in the 2015 competition!

Habersham, Lieberman, Nelson and Smith will join 24 other singer-actors from the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom to compete in the Lotte Lenya Competition Semifinals on March 13 and 14 in New York City.

A program of the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music now in its 18th year, the Lotte Lenya Competition is an international theatre singing contest that recognizes exceptionally talented young singer/actors, ages 19-32, who are dramatically and musically convincing in a wide range of repertoire, from opera and operetta to contemporary Broadway musicals, with a focus on the works of Kurt Weill.

CCM alumna Lauren Roesner (BFA Musical Theatre, 2013) took Third Prize in the 2013 installment of this prestigious international theater singing contest. CCM alumna Caitlin Mathes (MM Voice, 2009; Artist Diploma in Opera, 2010) earned First Prize in 2011 and fellow alumna Alisa Suzanne Jordheim (BM Voice, 2008; MM Voice, 2010; DMA candidate) progressed to the final round of the competition that same year.

The competition grants over $50,000 in prizes each year, and previous winners have gone on to forge prominent careers in opera houses and on Broadway. More information can be found at www.kwf.org/LLC.

About Jasmine Habersham
Jasmine Habersham returns to the Glimmerglass Festival this summer as Papagena in The Magic Flute. A member of the Glimmerglass Young Artist program in 2014, she also received the Central City Opera Guild Young Artist Award the previous year. The soprano holds a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from CCCM where she has appeared as Norina in Don Pasquale, Mrs. Julian in Owen Wingrave and Pearl in Ricky Ian Gordon’s Morning Star. The Georgian is a graduate of Shorter University with a Bachelor of Music degree and is currently working toward her Artist Diploma at CCM.

About Talya Lieberman
An alumna of San Francisco’s 2014 Merola Opera Program, Talya Lieberman returns this spring to the San Francisco Opera Center to make her debut as part of the Schwabacher Debut Recital series. This summer she will perform Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro at Wolf Trap Opera. While pursuing her Artist Diploma at CCM, the Italo Tajo Award recipient performed Gretel in Hansel and Gretel. She anticipates her first professional opera engagement in 2016 when she will perform Musetta in La bohème at Opera Columbus. In addition to her vocal studies, Lieberman completed a Master of Music degree in Trumpet Performance at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and a Bachelor of Arts degree with Highest Distinction in Linguistics at Duke University. Born in New York, Talya now calls Ohio home.

About Reilly Nelson
Born in the coastal town of Sault Ste. Marie in Ontario, Canada, Reilly Nelson attended the Eastman School of Music where she received a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and CCM¬†where she completed a Master of Music in Vocal Performance. At CCM she performed Hansel in Hansel and Gretel and Mary in Ricky Ian Gordon‚Äôs Morning Star. She also performed Hansel, as well as Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro at Janiec Opera Company at the Brevard Music Center. The mezzo-soprano was a vocal fellow at Tanglewood in summers 2013 and 2014, performing Les nuits d’√©t√©, Op. 7 and Folk Songs by Bernard Rands.

About Christine Cornish Smith
A graduate of CCM¬†with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Music Theater, Christine performed Polly Peachum in CCM’s Mainstage Series¬†production of The Threepenny Opera, which was part of a year-long Kurt Weill Festival on campus. She also performed the Stepmother and covered the Witch in Into the Woods, and appeared in Oklahoma! and Anything Goes. Upon graduation, she performed Reuben‚Äôs Wife in the National Tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. She¬†is currently performing in Guys and Dolls at the Goodspeed Opera House (CT). The soprano made her Lyric Opera of Chicago debut in the Ensemble of Oklahoma! In her native Texas, she made her Lyric Stage debut as Cutie in Fiorello! and performed as a Hot Box Girl in Guys and Dolls at Water Tower Theatre. She has also performed as principal dancer with the Dallas Metropolitan Ballet. She¬†was a recipient of an Emerging Talent Award in the 2014 Lotte Lenya Competition.

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Four Current and Former CCM Students Featured in Fort Wayne Philharmonic’s Holiday Pops Concert

From left, Blaine Krauss, Kelsey Crismon, Christine Cornish Smith and Nathaniel Irvin will perform at the ‚ÄúHoliday Pops.‚ÄĚ

From left, Blaine Krauss, Kelsey Crismon, Christine Cornish Smith and Nathaniel Irvin will perform at the ‚ÄúHoliday Pops.‚ÄĚ

Keiara Carr recently profiled CCM alumna Kelsey Crismon¬†(BFA, 2013) for Fort Wayne’s Journal Gazette.

Crismon will be joined by fellow Musical Theatre alumna Christine Cornish Smith (BFA, 2013) and current Musical Theatre majors¬†Blaine Krauss and Nathaniel Irvin for Fort Wayne Philharmonic’s annual “Holiday Pops” concert on Dec. 20 and 21.

Speaking of her ability to jump from her recent work in New York to this holiday concert with classmates she has not seen in nearly a year, Crismon ¬†says, “That’s what CCM teaches you – it teaches you how to multitask so that you’re able to give everything you do 100 percent.”

Read the entire profile online courtesy of the Journal Gazette.

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CCM Video: A Farewell in Song from the Musical Theatre Program’s Class of 2013

CCM Musical Theatre's graduating class of 2013.

CCM Musical Theatre’s graduating class of 2013.

The graduating seniors from CCM’s Musical Theatre program bid a heartfelt farewell to their time at the University of Cincinnati with a performance of Craig Carnelia’s “Flight” and Leonard Bernstein’s “Somewhere” (from the musical¬†West Side Story) accompanied by Julie Spangler:

Learn more about CCM Musical Theatre’s recent graduates here!

CCM Season Presenting Sponsor and Musical Theatre Program Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation

Community Partner: ArtsWave

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CCM‚Äôs Stars of Tomorrow Present Annual Musical Theatre Senior Showcase This Thursday (7 p.m.), Friday (8 p.m.) and Saturday (8 p.m.)

CCM Musical Theatre's graduating class of 2013.

CCM Musical Theatre’s graduating class of 2013.

Cincinnati audiences will get a sneak peek at an original showcase created by the 2013 graduating class from CCM’s Department of Musical Theatre during the annual “Not Famous Yet” Showcase, which runs from March 28 (Friends of CCM benefit performance) through March 30 in UC‚Äôs Patricia Corbett Theater.

The March 28 benefit performance starts at 7 p.m. and features dinner by the bite and a post-performance celebration. Tickets for this benefit event are on sale now.

The March 29 and 30 performances take place at 8 p.m. and are free, but reservations are required.

Performance Times

  • 7 p.m. Thursday, March 28 ‚ÄĒ¬†Friends of CCM Benefit
  • 8 p.m. Friday, March 29
  • 8 p.m. Saturday, March 30
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CCM’s Stars of Tomorrow Present Annual Musical Theatre Senior Showcase March 28-30

CCM Musical Theatre's graduating class of 2013.

CCM Musical Theatre’s graduating class of 2013.

Cincinnati audiences will get a sneak peek at an original showcase created by the 2013 graduating class from CCM’s Department of Musical Theatre during the annual “Not Famous Yet” Showcase, which runs from March 28 (Friends of CCM benefit performance) through March 30 in UC‚Äôs Patricia Corbett Theater.

The March 28 benefit performance starts at 7 p.m. and features dinner by the bite and a post-performance celebration. Tickets for this benefit event are on sale now.

The March 29 and 30 performances take place at 8 p.m. and are free, but reservations are required. Tickets for these free performances become available at noon on Monday, March 25.

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CCM Slideshows: The Threepenny Opera

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CCM proudly presents¬†The Threepenny Opera, running tonight, March 1, through Sunday, March 10, in UC’s Patricia Corbett Theater. Tickets are on sale now.¬†This production contains mature subject matter.

Learn more The Threepenny Opera here.

“[Stage Director Robin] Guarino fearlessly goes back to the musical satire’s socio-political roots in 1920s Berlin,” Jackie Demaline writes in her review for the Cincinnati Enquirer. “Everything about The Threepenny Opera carries out Guarino’s vision, as the cast prowl scenic designer John Arnone’s industrial set of catwalks, with the small orchestra (in costume) perched at the top. Musical director Roger Grodsky as always asks much and gets all from singers and musicians.”

Read Demaline’s full review here.

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