Watch CCM Wind Symphony’s Performance of Omar Thomas’ “A Mother of a Revolution”

In November 2019, the UC College-Conservatory of Music Wind Symphony presented a special concert to commemorate the 50th anniversary year of the Stonewall Uprising. Exclusively featuring works by LGBTQ+ composers, the performance showcased Omar Thomas’ A Mother of a Revolutionwhich is available to watch online.

A Mother of a Revolution celebrates the bravery of trans women, particularly Marsha “Pay it No Mind” Johnson, a pioneering leader of the LGBTQ+ rights movement and Stonewall Uprising. The Stonewall Uprising began in the early hours of June 28, 1969, when New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn, an LGBTQ+ bar and, today, a National Historic Landmark. This raid sparked a series of riots and protests that served as a significant catalyst for the country’s modern LGBTQ+ rights movement. Pride Month, celebrated each year in the month of June, honors the Stonewall Uprising as well as the impact that LGBTQ+ individuals have had on history locally, nationally and internationally.

CCM Wind Symphony music director and conductor Kevin Michael Holzman looks to find relevant anniversaries of important events to share with students and the community, which inspired him to program the concert of all LGBTQ+ works. Other works featured in the concert included Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man, Higdon’s Mysterium, Clay Mettens’ Un-Masqued and Corigliano’s Mr. Tambourine Man.

“The contributions to music (and all of the fine arts) from LGBTQ+ artists are truly incredible; despite this fact, they are so rarely recognized explicitly,” says Holzman, CCM Interim Division Head of Ensembles and Conducting. “Many of these artists suffered tremendously and were treated as outcasts socially and professionally, particularly in the years prior to the turn of the millennium. An equal or greater number never felt safe coming out due to discrimination.”

The LGBTQ+ rights movement has seen significant success in recent years. Major milestones include when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is legal in 2015 and ruled that existing federal law forbids job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or transgender status in a landmark case on June 15, 2020. Despite these victories, hate and prejudice towards the LGBTQ+ community remain prevalent in many parts of the U.S. and world.

CCM Wind Symphony’s performance was sponsored by the CCM Harmony Fund, which supports artistic works that fight hate and prejudice through the performing arts. This Fund was created based on the belief that the arts inspire imaginative thinking, encourage conversations, present contrasting attitudes and help us examine our own viewpoints. For the month of June, Eat Well Celebrations and Feasts in Newport, Kentucky, is selling pride cupcakes and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the CCM Harmony Fund.

Kevin Michael Holzman and Omar Thomas in front of CCM's booth at the Midwest Clinic International Band and Orchestra Conference in Chicago in December 2019.

Kevin Michael Holzman and Omar Thomas in front of CCM’s booth at the Midwest Clinic International Band and Orchestra Conference in Chicago in December 2019.

“I think it’s our job as music directors to recognize the powerful voice we have to amplify composers and musicians, particularly those who have been historically underrepresented,” Holzman says. “Our students at CCM represent so many diverse backgrounds and cultures, and it’s my responsibility to make sure they feel seen and heard. The first step, in my opinion, is to program works by composers with whom they identify. I also think it’s important that our audiences also feel seen and heard, and can relate to not only the music we perform but to the artists they see on stage and the composers on the program.”

Holzman has pledged that he will continue to program more works by female composers, Black composers and composers coming from other underrepresented populations in the future. Concert programming is just the start, though, and Holzman has formed a working group of graduate students to identify other ways to partner with the Black community and Cincinnati Public Schools.

Holzman first met A Mother of a Revolution composer Omar Thomas two years ago, when he programed Thomas’ Of Our New Day Begun on his first concert as Director of Wind Studies at CCM. Of Our New Day Begun honors the nine people who were murdered in a tragic mass shooting at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church (commonly referred to as “Mother Emanuel”) in Charleston, South Carolina on June 17, 2015.

“I knew I had to get to know the composer who wrote the work to be able to do it justice, and it turned into a great friendship,” Holzman says. “I’ll be a champion of Omar’s music and voice forever.”

Read about UC and CCM’s commitment to diversity, inclusion and a just community.

About Omar Thomas

Described as “elegant, beautiful, sophisticated, intense and crystal clear in emotional intent,” the music of Omar Thomas continues to move listeners everywhere it is performed. Born to Guyanese parents in Brooklyn, New York in 1984, Thomas moved to Boston in 2006 to pursue a Master of Music in Jazz Composition at the New England Conservatory of Music after studying Music Education at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. He is the protégé of lauded composers and educators Ken Schaphorst and Frank Carlberg, and has studied under multiple Grammy-winning composer and bandleader Maria Schneider.

Hailed by Herbie Hancock as showing “great promise as a new voice in the further development of jazz in the future,” educator, arranger and award-winning composer Thomas has created music extensively in the contemporary jazz ensemble idiom. It was while completing his Master of Music degree that he was appointed the position of Assistant Professor of Harmony at Berklee College of Music at the surprisingly young age of 23. He was awarded the ASCAP Young Jazz Composers Award in 2008, and invited by the ASCAP Association to perform his music in their highly exclusive JaZzCap Showcase, held in New York City. In 2012, Thomas was named the Boston Music Award’s “Jazz Artist of the Year.” Following his Berklee tenure, he served on faculty of the Music Theory department at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Composition at the University of Texas at Austin.

Thomas’ music has been performed in concert halls the world over. He has been commissioned to create works in both jazz and classical styles. His work has been performed by such diverse groups as the Eastman New Jazz Ensemble, the San Francisco and Boston Gay Mens’ Choruses, and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, in addition to a number of the country’s top collegiate music ensembles. Thomas has had a number of celebrated singers perform over his arrangements, including Stephanie Mills, Yolanda Adams, Nona Hendryx, BeBe Winans, Kenny Lattimore, Marsha Ambrosius, Sheila E., Raul Midon, Leela James, Dionne Warwick and Chaka Khan. His work is featured on Dianne Reeves’s Grammy Award-winning album, “Beautiful Life.”

Thomas’ first album, “I AM,” debuted at No. 1 on iTunes Jazz Charts and peaked at No. 13 on the Billboard Traditional Jazz Albums Chart. His second release, ” We Will Know: An LGBT Civil Rights Piece in Four Movements,” has been hailed by Grammy Award-wining drummer, composer and producer Terri Lyne Carrington as being a “thought provoking, multi-layered masterpiece” which has “put him in the esteemed category of great artists.” “We Will Know” was awarded two OUTMusic Awards, including “Album of the Year.” For this work, Thomas was named the 2014 Lavender Rhino Award recipient by the History Project, acknowledging his work as an up-and-coming activist in the Boston LGBTQ community. Says Terri Lyne: “Omar Thomas will prove to be one of the more important composer/arrangers of his time.”

Learn more about Omar Thomas on his professional website.


Feature image at top: CCM Wind Symphony in rehearsal. Design/Mikki Graff. Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Creative Services.

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Hope After Hate: E-Media Professor Shares Father’s Holocaust Experience

CCM E-Media Professor and Emmy Award-winning journalist Hagit Limor shares her father’s Holocaust survival story with lessons to inspire action against hatred and bigotry today

The spring 2020 edition of UC Magazine features a cover story about the ground-breaking “Hope After Hate” project launched by CCM E-Media Professor Hagit Limor. The story is available to read online.

Inspired by her father’s story of struggle and survival during the Holocaust, Limor set out to create “Hope After Hate: Moniek’s Legacy” to share his experience through immersive theatre and virtual reality. In October 2019, Limor’s Media Topics class of 15 students traveled to Poland and Germany to retrace her father’s journey. They will use the photos, videos and research collected during the trip to create an immersive play and virtual reality experience for the “Hope After Hate” project.

“Hope After Hate” will be an innovative, new kind of theatre — part play, part video and part virtual reality. Projections of historical settings will surround the audience during the immersive play, creating a virtual set in which they sit and interact with the actor portraying Moniek Limor. The “Hope After Hate” team is also creating a separate 15-minute virtual reality experience that will immerse users in Moniek’s story with goggles and hand sensors.

Viewers will be transported into the attic where he hid with his family as a child, into the Hasag-Pelcery labor camp where he was enslaved for more than a year as an adolescent, into the cattle-car train that transported him to the Buchenwald concentration camp when he was 14 and into the camp itself, where he was an inmate for four months. The project explores how people struggle to hold on to their humanity when surrounded by hate and fear. It also shares historical lessons in an effort to turn bystanders into upstanders who will speak out against hatred and bigotry today.

“Hope After Hate” unites students, faculty and staff from across UC, including undergraduate and graduate students majoring in E-Media, Acting, International Affairs, Political Science, Geography and History. CCM Acting Professor Susan Felder is adapting Limor’s memoir of her father’s experience into a script for the immersive play. Additionally, the “Hope After Hate” team is collaborating with CCM Lighting Design and Technology Professor Sharon Huizinga on how to create projections for the play. UC’s Center for Simulations and Virtual Environments Research (UCSIM) is building the VR experience with the 360-degree photos and videos that students captured while on the trip.

Read UC Magazine’s cover story on “Hope After Hate” to learn more about the project. Readers can also view photo galleries of images taken during the study abroad trip and watch a student-created documentary on the project.


“Hope After Hate” is sponsored by Cincinnati’s Holocaust and Humanity Center, and has already received support from private donors as well as Cincinnati’s Jewish Innovation Funds and the CCM Harmony Fund. This support offset travel expenses during the study abroad trip and funded some production expenses. However, the class is still actively collecting donations for projectors needed for the play and virtual reality equipment. Visit hopeafterhate.com for updates on the project and to learn how to get involved. 

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CSO musicians on stage during the CSO's "Live from Music Hall" concert stream.

CCM faculty featured in CSO’s grand return to Music Hall

CSO musicians on stage during the CSO's "Live from Music Hall" concert stream.

The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s “Live from Music Hall” performance is available to stream online

The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra mounted its first live performance in Music Hall since the outbreak of COVID-19 forced the cancellation of the remainder of its season. The Live from Music Hall performance, initially streamed on Saturday, May 16, is available to watch online.

The performance featured the launch of the CSO’s Fanfare Project, which commissions new music from more than a dozen composers to “inspire and uplift and to help us make sense of this moment in our shared history through the universal language of music.” CCM Professor and CSO Principal Oboe Dwight Parry gave the world premiere of the Fanfare Project’s first composition vitres (fragment…) by CSO Creative Partner Matthias Pintscher in the opening of the live-streamed concert.

CSO pianist and CCM Professor Michael Chertock with CSO principal cello and CCM Professor Ilya Finkelshteyn.

CSO pianist and CCM Professor Michael Chertock with CSO principal cello and CCM Professor Ilya Finkelshteyn.

Following the world premiere, four CSO musicians took the stage to perform Mahler’s Piano Quartet in A Minor — while maintaining social distances and wearing face masks. The performance featured CCM professors Michael Chertock, piano, and Ilya Finkelshteyn, cello; as well as CSO concertmaster Stefani Matsuo and principal viola Christian Colberg.

“The event was one step forward to the time when theaters will reopen, and we won’t be afraid to share a live communal experience,” wrote arts reporter Janelle Gelfand in her review for the Cincinnati Business Courier. “It was a message of hope that eventually our arts and culture will re-emerge.”

Watch the full performance online.


Images captured from the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s concert video.

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CCM Village at night

CCM E-Media professor and student help UC Emeriti Center launch new website

CCM Village at night

The University of Cincinnati Emeriti Association and Center, headed by College-Conservatory of Music E-Media Professor Peter DePietro, unveiled a new website in April that showcases the work of recent graduate Jonathan Kilberg (BFA E-Media, ’20). As the center’s multimedia intern, Kilberg’s work included web design/development, user experience design, videography and audio production — a grouping of disciplines that are unique to CCM’s E-Media program.

Assistant Professor of E-Media Peter DePietro.

Peter DePietro.

DePietro is the first non-interim executive director of the Emeriti Center, which advocates for the interests of emeriti, provides intellectual and social opportunities and strengthens ties between emeriti and the university, local, national and international communities. The new website includes videos from the Center’s YouTube channel as well as helpful resources for the university’s retired faculty members.

Since having a major role in the Center, DePietro has worked on creating connections between UC and community leaders as well as connecting deans from different colleges across campus. He is also focused on growth and expanding membership. At CCM he continues to educate his students through experience-based learning, which is why he recruited a student to help build the Center’s new website. DePietro enlisted the help of Kilberg because he believes that engaging students in practical learning is important.

“It was an amazing opportunity to be able to work for the Center,” Kilberg says. “I jumped at the opportunity. Every single member is supportive and kind and sociable. It was amazing to meet all these people from campus life and beyond campus life.”

Creating the UC Emeriti website was no small feat. The task required both Kilberg and DePietro to take classes and tests in order to train on the university’s web content management system and to meet the standards of UC’s Digital Communications office. In addition to the website, Kilberg and DePietro created a YouTube channel with original video content. The crown jewel of the YouTube channel is the EmeriTALKS series which Kilberg noted as one of the best parts of working on this project. The EmeriTALKS videos include a joint-venture between the Center and CCM, featuring the leadership of Cincinnati’s Playhouse in the Park, and another featuring former UC President Nancy Zimpher.

As an E-Media student at CCM, Kilberg has enjoyed multiple opportunities to participate in hands on learning experiences. In October 2019, Kilberg traveled to Germany and Poland with CCM E-Media Professor Hagit Limor’s multi-disciplinary Media Topics class. The group of 15 students set out to create “Hope After Hate,” an immersive play and virtual reality experience that shares Limor’s father’s experience during the Holocaust with lessons to inspire action against future acts of hatred.

CCM’s BFA E-Media program encompasses the integrated media arts of film and digital cinema, television and broadcast media news, audio production and new media design. Students are given the opportunity to study in the track of their choosing, including Broadcast and Media Production, Multimedia Production and Film and Television Production. Internships are a key part of the curriculum and take advantage of the professional resources in Cincinnati and other areas across the country. With its emphasis on experiential learning, students acquire the hands-on skills and a digital portfolio necessary to transition successfully into the professional world.

Kilberg plans on going into the film industry and feels that one of the biggest skills E-Media has taught him is how to effectively work with a team. “E-Media pushed me to work with other people, which is so necessary in the field that I want to go in. The program taught me the importance of working as a team.”

“The professors are talented and they work hard at creating community,” Kilberg says. “They also offer great resources and there is support from the alumni of E-Media. Going forward they are going to continue to do an amazing job preparing students.”


Story by CCM Graduate Student Kelly Barefield

Featured image at top: An aerial view of CCM Village. Photo/Jay Yocis

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Leo De La Cruz

CCM student oboist wins NFMC’s prestigious Carolyn Nelson Double Reed Award

Leo De La Cruz

CCM graduate student Leo De La Cruz turned heads in a variety of competitions during the 2019-20 season. Most recently, he won the National Federation of Music Clubs’ Carolyn Nelson Double Reed Award, which includes a $1,250 cash prize.

Leo De La Cruz rehearsing with CCM Chamber Winds. Photo/Provided.

Leo De La Cruz rehearsing with CCM Chamber Winds. Photo/Provided.

De La Cruz also won the CCM Wind Studies concerto competition, which culminated in a performance of Weber’s Concertino for Oboe and Wind Band with the CCM Chamber Winds on February 9, and he achieved an honorable mention at the 2020 Yamaha Young Performing Artists Competition.

To apply for the Carolyn Nelson Double Reed Award, De La Cruz submitted a 15-minute performance video, including the Weber Concertino he performed in February. His other selections were Dutilleux’s Oboe Sonata and Robert Schumann’s Three Romances, which he performed in chamber music recitals at CCM.

“I think the part that I’m most proud of about those recordings isn’t necessarily my own playing, but rather the back and forth between my partners and me,” De La Cruz says. “Both of them were fantastic collaborators and musicians, and I’m positive that my own playing improved drastically just through the work we did together.”

Before coming to CCM, De La Cruz attended high school in Spring, Texas (a suburb of Houston) and earned bachelor’s degrees in oboe performance and music theory from Furman University.

“I gravitated toward the oboe because it was unique; I was the only one in my middle school band who played it,” he remembers. “I never really planned on making music for a living, so I didn’t really take it very seriously until the end of high school, when I took a music theory class and really fell in love with the orchestral repertoire.”

De La Cruz is also working on two degrees at CCM — master’s degrees in oboe performance and music theory. In his oboe studies, he receives guidance from both of CCM’s oboe faculty, Professor of Oboe Mark Ostoich and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Oboe Dwight Parry, principal oboe at the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

“I’m not quite sure what I want to do in the future quite honestly, because both of my interests bring me so much satisfaction,” De La Cruz says. “I can’t get enough of making music with other people, so if I could find a way to incorporate both chamber music and music theory into a career, I’d be happy.”


Story by CCM Graduate Student Alexandra Doyle

Featured Image at top: Leo De La Cruz. Photo/Provided.

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Donor Spotlight: Dr. Alvin and Jean Crawford

The Crawfords have a deep, lifelong love of music and the arts that led them to connect with CCM

Dr. Alvin Crawford, retired Chief of Orthopedics and founding director of the Spine Center at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, has had a distinguished, internationally renowned career as an orthopedic surgeon. In his honor, the Spine Center was renamed the Crawford Spine Center.

But his first love was music.

He started playing trumpet in seventh grade, eventually switching to clarinet. He started college as a music major and wanted a career as a studio musician. In his sophomore year of college, he made a decision that changed the lives of thousands of children across the world: he decided to become a physician.

Dr. Alvin and Jean Crawford stand in the corridor of CCM's Mary Emery Hall. Photo/Joseph Rubino

Dr. Alvin and Jean Crawford stand in the corridor of CCM’s Mary Emery Hall. Photo/Joseph Rubino

Dr. Crawford attended Meharry Medical College in 1960, a time when most if not all southern schools were segregated. He applied for admission to the University of Tennessee and became the first African-American to enroll in this southern medical school. He could not transfer because the University of Tennessee did not consider Meharry Medical College an accredited medical school.

“I became an academic orthopedist, but continued to play,” he says. “I was hired by UC to head the Pediatric Orthopaedic service. Once my wife and I found out what CCM was all about, we decided to get involved. After I retired at Cincinnati Children’s, I was able to attend the jazz improvisation course for freshmen and we started coming to performances. Last year I took jazz history.”

Continuing to live out his love of music, Dr. Crawford helped form a group called “The Wannabes,” which plays for nonprofits and has played an opera gala. From there he joined the Queen City Concert band, a community band in Cincinnati.

Jean Crawford’s interest in music stretches back to the piano lessons she took as a child. She was a teacher and high school counselor and sang in choruses through college.

“I always encouraged my students to get involved and take any type of arts as electives,” she says. “When I served on the Cincinnati Opera board, I saw that most of our singers in the chorus were from CCM. When we attended CCM’s Moveable Feast, we realized the caliber of musicianship here and were hooked on CCM.”

Mrs. Crawford talks about the opportunity she did not have, but that she wants all children to have. “I lived in the segregated south and the opportunities to attend and participate in the arts were limited,” she says. “So my goal is to make sure that the performing arts are available to all communities. In this area, school districts have limited support for funding the arts. Through the prep schools, CCM provides arts exposure to them. Also, students from CCM go to public schools to give the children more exposure. I think that’s important. And to do that you need money.“

“I think they’re doing something [at CCM] that’s really important,” Dr. Crawford adds. “I became involved in the CCM Dean’s Advisory Council and I can see that the people here care. They care, and they want to put out a good product. And once I became involved with CCMpower, I was able to meet the kids and see what they’re doing.”


Who will you empower NEXT?

In order to recruit and retain top talent, CCM must be able to offer competitive scholarship and grant opportunities to our students. CCMpower raises funds through membership and special events in order to provide the resources that attract the best and brightest students. Learn more about how you can empower the next generation of CCM stars.


Story by Joseph Rubino

Featured image at top Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, Dena Cranley, Barbara Gould, Jean Crawford and Dr. Alvin Crawford at CCM’s 2020 Moveable Feast. Photo/Andrew Higley

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Enjoy a Classic Jazz Performance from CCM’s Video Archives

Although the theaters and concert halls at the University of Cincinnati’s nationally ranked and internationally renowned College-Conservatory of Music are temporarily silent, audiences can still experience world-class performances through CCM’s new CCMONSTAGE Online video series. This week’s release features a classic jazz performance from CCM’s video archives.

On May 22, 2011, the CCM Jazz Ensemble was joined by Grammy Award-nominee, National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master and Kennedy Center “Living Legend of Jazz” Gerald Wilson (1918-2014) for an unforgettable evening of big band music. The concert also featured the talents of Mary Ellen Tanner (1946-2014), a renowned jazz vocalist who taught at CCM for many years.

An acclaimed composer, arranger and band leader of modern jazz who was in his 92nd year at the time of this recording, Wilson’s talent was legendary among jazz insiders. His classic compositions include “Blues for Count Basie” written for Basie while Wilson was in his band and “Blues for Yna Yna,” which was the second jazz waltz ever written.

“Gerald Wilson is a living legend and a part of the golden age of the big band as a writer, arranger and trumpet player,” CCM Professor and Jazz department head Scott Belck commented in 2011, adding that Wilson was also “one of the most interesting cats you will ever meet.” Wilson passed away in Los Angeles in September 2014.

Wilson’s groundbreaking compositions, intricate arrangements and immediately recognizable sound put him in a league of his own. In his prolific seven-decade career as composer and arranger, Wilson was behind some of the greatest names in jazz, including Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald, Benny Carter, Nancy Wilson and Bobby Darin. Beyond his jazz accomplishments, Wilson’s symphonic compositions were performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic under the direction of Zubin Mehta. He even scored a top 40 pop hit with El Chicano’s 1970 version of his “Viva Tirado,” a song that has been recorded in at least 18 different versions, including a hip-hop rendition by Latino rapper Kid Frost.

This concert was originally streamed online with support provided by the Corbett Endowment for CCM and the Franklin L. Folger Trust. The performance was later broadcast on CET Cincinnati Public Television.

Receive updates on future CCMONSTAGE Online performances by subscribing to our mailing list at https://ccm.uc.edu/subscribe


Featured image at top: The CCM Jazz Ensemble in a March 2012 rehearsal. Photo/Dottie Stover/UC Creative Services.

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CCM Named ‘Best of Cincinnati’ by CityBeat Readers and Staff

Three productions with CCM connections were voted “Best of Cincinnati” by CityBeat readers and staff. CityBeat’s Best of Cincinnati 2020 issue is available online now!

CCMONSTAGE Play Series presented “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” in October 2019. Photo/Richard Hess

CCM’s production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time won “Best Play (Student/Community)” in the magazine’s readers poll. Directed by CCM Acting Professor Richard E. Hess, the play was presented in October as part of the CCMONSTAGE Play Series.

Blind Injustice, CCM’s co-production with Cincinnati Opera and UC College of Law’s Ohio Innocence Project, received a special Best of Cincinnati staff pick award as “Best World Premiere Opera to Open Your Eyes.” Directed by CCM Opera Professor Robin Guarino, the opera featured stories of six wrongly incarcerated people who were aided by the OIP.

Blind Injustice, CCM’s co-production with Cincinnati Opera and the Ohio Innocence Project, was presented in July 2019 at Music Hall’s Wilks Studio. Photo/Philip Groshong

CityBeat staff wrote: “Robin Guarino’s terrific staging of the sold-out series of shows in the Wilks Studio in Music Hall in July 2019 drew excellent performances from a gifted cast that included members of Cincinnati’s Young Professionals Choral Collaborative. The five performances sold out months in advance, as did a free presentation at Allen Temple A.M.E. Church in Bond Hill. Blind Injustice is proof positive that opera can bear powerful witness to the social issues of our time, as well as to the strength of the human spirit in the face of mindless injustice. May it be seen again and again and again, here and throughout the country.”

CCM students self-produced “The Flick” at Clifton’s Esquire movie theater in July 2019. Photo/Ella Eggold

CityBeat staff also recognized CCM students who produced and acted in a unique presentation of The Flick, a Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Annie Baker, at Clifton’s Esquire movie theater. The production was dubbed “Best Play Held in an Unconventional Setting.” CCM Acting alumni and current students Ella Eggold, Gabriella DiVincenzo, Graham Rogers, Leonard Peterson and Kristina Steinmetz acted and produced the play, which was stage managed by CCM Theatre Design and Production student Jennelle John-Lewis. CityBeat staff praised the production team’s efforts as “spectacular” and “outstanding.”

Congratulations to all of our friends and partners also featured in this special issue of CityBeat! Read more on CityBeat’s website or view a digital version of the issue.


Featured image at top: Best of Cincinnati graphic by Taylor Speed/CityBeat

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New York Times: WVXU and CCM Revive Rare Rod Serling Baseball Comedy

Rod Serling’s comedy about confusion between Russians and the Cincinnati Reds airs at 8 p.m. on March 25 on WVXU 91.7.

CCM and Cincinnati Public Radio station 91.7 WVXU have co-produced a long-lost baseball comedy by The Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling. Recently featured by the New York Times, the radio play titled O’Toole From Moscow airs on 91.7 WVXU at 8 p.m. this Wednesday, March 25, 2020

The New York Times describes the comedy as “a screwball romp, with a side of whimsy.” Read the full article.

O’Toole From Moscow is about confusion between Russians and the Cincinnati Reds at the height of the “Red Scare” over possible Communist infiltration of American institutions during the Cold War. Serling originally wrote the one-hour television play for NBC Matinee Theatre and it was only broadcast once on Dec. 12, 1955. The performance was not filmed or recorded.

O’Toole From Moscow was adapted for radio and produced by WVXU’s John Kiesewetter, who tracked down the original script with the help of Serling historians. He also met with Serling’s daughter, Anne, who is the program host and narrator on the radio play. CCM Acting students recorded the comedy, which was directed by CCM Professor Richard Hess, at Cincinnati Public Radio’s studio. Sammi Grant, a visiting master’s student from London’s Central School of Speech and Drama, tutored the cast so they would sound authentically Russian.

Hess hand-picked his lineup of eight student cast members for the radio play: Chandler Bates, Austin James Cleri, Matt Fox, Dustin Parsons, Jack Steiner, Frankie Chuter, Cameron Nalley and Lucas Prizant. The team also recruited Cincinnati Reds organist John Schutte, who provided the ballpark organ music for the broadcast. Read more about the making of this radio play on WVXU.

The “O’Toole From Moscow” team, from left: WVXU engineer Josh Elstro, Frankie Chuter, Matt Fox, Chandler Bates, director Richard Hess, Cameron Nalley, Jack Steiner, Austin James Cleri, Dustin Parsons, Sammi Grant and Lucas Prizant. Photo/John Kiesewetter

Long-time baseball fans will enjoy Serling’s script and hear references to some of baseball’s biggest stars of the 1950s including: Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berri, Stan Musial and Ted Kluszewski.

In O’Toole From Moscow a Russian consulate staffer named Mushnick is being sent back from New York to Moscow for re-education because of his high absences due to attending Brooklyn Dodgers games at Ebbets Field. So Mushnick and a muscular Russian security officer named Joseph Bishofsky hop a train and go as far west as their money will take them — to Cincinnati. Bishofsky panics in Cincinnati and goes to the Reds office to turn himself in, mistaking the baseball team for his Russian comrades. Mushnick bursts in to explain that Joseph – whom he calls “Joseph O’Toole” – is an outfielder wanting a tryout. The Reds give O’Toole a shot, and he ends up being a better slugger than Kluszewski – until the Russians find him.

Tune in to hear the O’Toole From Moscow broadcast on 91.7 WVXU at 8 p.m. this Wednesday, March 25. A live stream of the broadcast will also be available on the WVXU website.
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Students rehearse for CCM's TRANSMIGRATION Festival. Photos by CCM Acting student Jabari Carter.

TRANSMIGRATION Festival of Student Works Returns to CCM March 11-13

Admission to CCM’s TRANSMIGRATION Festival is free. Reservations are required. Tickets are available in person or over the phone through the CCM Box Office.

CCM presents six original, student-created works in the Acting Department’s TRANSMIGRATION Festival: (im)mature, Rotten Kids of Witchwood Pine, Phantasmagoria, Dirty Laundry, Entermission and HINT! A Play About Clue. Celebrating its 12th anniversary, the festival runs Wednesday, March 11, through Friday, March 13, 2020, throughout CCM Village.

TRANSMIGRATION gives CCM Acting students the freedom to produce an entirely new show from start to finish. The teams are tasked with writing, designing and producing a 30-minute piece of theatre all on their own. The shows are performed simultaneously and in non-traditional spaces throughout CCM’s Corbett Center for the Performing Arts. Attendees may customize their personal theater-going experience by viewing up to four shows of their choice throughout the evening. Show details are below.

“This is my third year in TRANSMIGRATION, and it has always been a highlight of my year. It’s always so fun and really works the muscle we need to create our own work,” said CCM Acting student Sydney Miles. “My personal favorite year and favorite role was my freshman year when I played a suitcase and travelled along with my pal, Cooper the Compass. With TRANSMIGRATION, anything can happen!”

Co-produced by CCM Acting Professors Richard Hess and Brant Russell, this unique festival has presented more than 60 original productions over the past 12 years. This year, junior Anastasia Jacques is the Associate Producer, and senior Chandler Bates is the Communication Manager.

(IM)MATURE
Remember grade school? The science fair. Getting picked last for kickball. Missing the bus. Cliques. Falling outs. Falling in love. Do you remember how you dealt with them? Did you shut down or grow up? What advice would you give your childhood self? The bus is almost here, hop on as we take a trip down memory lane and remember what it was like to discover new truths, redefine our obstacles and find out what maturity even means. As kids, all we want is to grow up. But as adults, all we want is to remember.
Cast: Zoe Cotzias, Rachel Jones, Lucas Prizant, Cameron Nalley, Ethan Murphy, Charles Gidney, Jason Pavlovich, Jake Weinheimer, Maddie Gaughn, Neuma Cohen-Denson, Mason Doyle
Location: Corbett Center Room 4755
Performance Times: 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.


ROTTEN KIDS OF WITCHWOOD PINE
As a group of students retreat to the woods, they stumble into a cursed forest called Witchwood Pine, a forest that manipulates your mind and traps you inside it. As they realize where they are and what the pine can do, they must discover what it takes to escape. Can you trust what you see?
Cast: Jabari Carter, Chandler Bates, Duncan Weinland, Reid Robison, Jack McElroy, AJ Civello, Shakoria Davis, Kay Waltermire, Ava Panagopoulos, Lydia Robison
Location: Corbett Center Room 4755
Performance Times: 7:45 p.m. and 9:15 p.m.


PHANTASMAGORIA
What is a phantasmagoria? A sequence of real or imaginary images, like those seen in a dream. This folk tale fever dream takes you on a ride through the subconscious of two sisters as they hang between life and death. Welcome to limbo. Welcome to Phantasmagoria.
Cast: Sierra Coachman, Cameron Mills, Lydia Noll, Michelle Jardine, Eli Lucas, Matt Fox, Olivia Buss, Emma Fitzgerald, Zoe Peterson, Abby Palen, Rachel Baker, Grace Eddy, Beza Kidane
Location: Corbett Center Room 4735
Performance Times: 7 p.m. and 7:45 p.m.


DIRTY LAUNDRY
There are some places that normal humans do not go. One of those is a laundromat at 4 a.m. on a Tuesday. Come visit our 24-hour laundromat, where career criminals go to wash away their dirty secrets. Tuesday after Tuesday, week after week, they’ve become an eclectic sort of clan. Aside from being loyal patrons, they all work as mercenaries for the owner. One day, when given assignments, some of the names on their lists look a little too familiar. What happens when the thing that goes “bump” in the night gets scared? Will this family of shady characters choose blood over money, or will they succumb to their fears? Step inside our laundromat, where you call some of the shots, but you may leave less clean than you came in.
Cast: Paige Jordan, Rin Wallace, Sydney Miles, Kayla Temshiv, Lily Olsen, Dustin Parsons, Noah Buyak, Malik Smith, Rachel Larson, Hunter Trammell, Morgan Piper, Jack Fogle
Location: Corbett Center Room 4735
Performance Times: 8:30 p.m. and 9:15 p.m.


ENTERMISSION
We are sad to announce that the Entermission we know and love is coming to a close. After years of dedication and imagination, it’s time to say goodbye to America’s most revolutionary attraction. But before it’s gone for good, you have one more chance to enjoy this timeless experience! Join Bells and Whistles one last time as they guide you through the love story of Humanity and Technology. Enjoy a laugh as you jump backwards in time, shed a tear as you step toward the future and witness the marvels that bridge the gaps in our lonely and fragmented world. With the help of your favorite advanced animatronics, enjoy the once in a lifetime opportunity of seeing tomorrow today. Take a seat, strap yourselves in and enter the mission!
Cast: Briley Oakley, Carlee Coulehan, Frankie Chuter, Leonard Peterson III, Gabe Nasato, Julianna Weis-Palacios, Kristina Steinmetz, Mateo Sollano, Kevin Naddeo
Location: Corbett Center Room 3705
Performance Times: 7 p.m. and 9:15 p.m.


HINT! A PLAY ABOUT CLUE
There has been a murder at the mansion. The guests are appalled: why would anybody want to murder the gracious host? Nobody quite knows what happened… except for the murderer, of course. Join us in retracing the truth. Will you be able to navigate the web of lies, betrayal and unrequited love in order to solve the crime?
Cast: Madison Pullman, Jack Steiner, Anastasia Jacques, Amanda Nelson, Liza Lagerstrom, Isabella Wagner, Austin Cleri, Gracie Schmidt, Ava Duvall, Ariel Shaw
Location: Corbett Center Room 3705
Performance Times: 7:45 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.


TRANSMIGRATION Performance Times

  • 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 11
  • 7 p.m. Thursday, March 12
  • 7 p.m. Friday, March 13

Location

CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

Admission

Admission is free. Reservations are required. Tickets are available in person or over the phone through the CCM Box Office. 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.


Story by CCM Graduate Student Alexandra Doyle

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