From left to right, Louis Griffin, Ben Biggers, John Battagliese and Chris Collins-Pisano in CCM's production of AMERICAN IDIOT. Photo by Mark Lyons.

CCM Pushes Boundaries With Green Day’s Punk Rock Musical ‘American Idiot,’ March 3 – 13, 2016

From left to right, Louis Griffin, Ben Biggers, John Battagliese and Chris Collins-Pisano in CCM's production of AMERICAN IDIOT. Photo by Mark Lyons.

From left to right, Louis Griffin, Ben Biggers, John Battagliese and Chris Collins-Pisano in CCM’s production of AMERICAN IDIOT. Photo by Mark Lyons.

CCM proudly presents the first local production of Green Day‘s iconic musical American Idiot from March 3 – 13 in Patricia Corbett Theater. The through-sung rock opera is directed by Patricia A. Corbett Distinguished Chair of Musical Theatre Aubrey Berg with musical direction by Adjunct Instructor of Musical Theatre Steve Goers.

Although many think of Broadway musicals as saccharin sweet, there have been shows throughout the decades that have burst onto the scene, changing theatre forever and defining a generation.

“In 1944, Leonard Bernstein’s ‘On The Town’ brought fresh faces and a jazz-inflected score to Broadway. My generation grooved to the sound of ‘Hair.’ In the 90s there was ‘Rent’ by Jonathan Larson, and for the current generation, it is ‘American Idiot’,” says Berg.

A high octane adaptation of Green Day’s 2004 Grammy-winning concept album of the same name, American Idiot features a raucous and exhilarating punk rock score yet offers a simple, contemporary fable in the style of the Brothers Grimm. Three disaffected young men – Johnny, Will and Tunny – plan to flee a stifling suburban lifestyle and parental restrictions. Along the way they deal with drugs, lost love, war, inner turmoil and living in an America that is forever changed and roiled by dark events, including the terrorist attacks of September 11 and the Iraq War.

Making sure CCM’s production reflects the style and temperament of the current generation was important to Berg. “American Idiot is a musical by the young, for the young,” he says. To keep the presentation authentic, Berg surrounded himself with a creative team of students. His associate director and choreographer, Tom Meglio and Samantha Pollino respectively, are both graduating seniors and are the perfect candidates to help shape this production.

American Idiot was one of our generation’s very first artistic expressions of events that are ever present in our consciousness because, for the very first time, our generation can say: we lived them,” Meglio and Pollino suggest.

CCM’s production is set three years before the release of the album in the aftermath of the events of 9/11. Meglio and Pollino explain, “We wanted to create an atmosphere of immediacy, to highlight the themes of the show as a response to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and explore the period of upheaval that immediately followed.”

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Great theatre can delight and entertain, but it can also challenge audiences to confront their own closely held views and perceptions. American Idiot deals with potentially incendiary subjects. The show is loud, abrasive and confrontational. The language is raw and constant. There is simulated sex and simulated drug use. The musical presents an uncompromising view of a dystopian America, but it is also a foray into the psyche of a young generation struggling to make sense of its place in the world at a particular moment in time.

“In addition to ‘rocking out,’ we ask the audience to take a moment to connect with, reflect on and embrace this piece as a raw fragment of history presented with the utmost respect and many unanswered questions,” Meglio and Pollino conclude.

CCM’s production of American Idiot is not recommended for children or those easily offended.

Official logo for Green Day's 'American Idiot.'
Music by Green Day
Lyrics by Billie Joe Armstrong
Book by Billie Joe Armstrong and Michael Mayer

The Company

  • Ben Biggers as Johnny
  • John Battagliese as St. Jimmy
  • Clara Cox as Whatsername
  • Chris Collins-Pisano as Will
  • Shauna Topian as Heather
  • Louis Griffin as Tunny
  • Cameron Anika Hill as Extraordinary Girl
  • with Kyra Christopher, EJ Dohring, Joel Flynn, Ciara Alyse Harris, Marissa Hecker, Tyler Jent, Phillip Johnson, Chris Kelley, Stavros Koumbaros, Jackson Matteck, Emily Ashton Meredith, Hamilton Moore, Anya Olsen, Alex Stone, Donelvan Thigpen, Madelaine Vandenberg and Keaton Whittaker.

The Creative Team

  • Aubrey Berg, director
  • Stephen Goers, musical director
  • Samantha Pollino, choreographer
  • Thomas C. Umfrid, scenic designer
  • CJ Mellides, lighting designer
  • Kevin Semancik, sound designer
  • Jillian Coratti, costume designer
  • Jillian Floyd, wig & make-up designer
  • Tom Meglio, assistant director
  • k. Jenny Jones, fight choreographer
  • Jenny Rissover, stage manager
  • Tom Kitt, musical arrangements and orchestrations

Performance Times

  • 8 p.m. Thursday, March 3
  • 8 p.m. Friday, March 4
  • 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, March 5
  • 2 p.m. Sunday, March 6
  • 8 p.m. Thursday, March 10
  • 8 p.m. Friday, March 11
  • 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, March 12
  • 2 p.m. Sunday, March 13

Location
Patricia Corbett Theater, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

Purchasing Tickets
Tickets to American Idiot are $31-35 for adults, $20-24 for non-UC students and $18-22 for UC students with a valid ID.

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/mainstage/american-idiot.

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

Mainstage Season Production Sponsor: Macy’s

Community Partner: ArtsWave

American Idiot is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI. 421 West 54th Street, New York, NY 10019 | Phone: 212-541-4684 | Fax: 212-397-4684 | www.MTIShows.com

CCM News
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
Scenes from CCM’s Mainstage Series production of ‘Peter Pan.’ Photos by Mark Lyons.

CCM Slideshows: Peter Pan – The Musical

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CCM’s 2014-15 Mainstage Series continues TONIGHT with the timeless fairytale musical Peter Pan, playing through Sunday, March 8, in Corbett Auditorium. See a complete list of performance times below.

Directed and choreographed by guest artist Joe Locarro, with musical direction by CCM Professor of Musical Theatre Roger Grodsky, this production promises to whisk audiences away to a place where dreams are born and no one ever grows up! Peter Pan features spectacular flying effects provided by ZFX, Inc.

Listen to cast member Tom Meglio give Cincinnati Public Radio’s Mark Perzel a preview of the high-flying musical by visiting wvxu.org/post/ccms-peter-pan.

Performance Times

  • 8 p.m. Friday, March 6
  • 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, March 7
  • 2 p.m. Sunday, March 8

Location
Corbett Auditorium, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

Purchasing Tickets
Tickets to Peter Pan are $31-35 for adults, $20-24 for non-UC students and $18-22 UC students with a valid ID.

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/peter-pan-mainstage.

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.
____

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

Mainstage Season Production Sponsor: Macy’s

Mainstage Production Sponsor: Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC

Community Partner: ArtsWave

Peter Pan is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI. 421 West 54th Street, New York, NY 10019 | Phone: 212-541-4684 | Fax: 212-397-4684 |http://www.MTIShows.com.

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