CCM Drama Presents Bittersweet Production of Eugene O’Neill’s Comedy ‘Ah, Wilderness!’ Feb. 10-14

CCM resumes its Mainstage Series with Eugene O’Neill’s Ah, Wilderness!: A Comedy of Recollection in Three Acts, playing Feb. 11-14 with a special preview performance on Wednesday, Feb. 10. The show also bids a fond farewell to its director, and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Graduate Studies, R. Terrell Finney as he retires from fulltime status at CCM.

Poster for CCM's February 2016 production of AH, WILDERNESS!The words “Eugene O’Neill” and “comedy” are rarely used in the same sentence unless that sentence is “Eugene O’Neill does NOT write comedy.” The Pulitzer Prize-winning writer of Long Day’s Journey into Night and Mourning Becomes Electra is primarily known for his semi-autobiographical plays about characters who struggle to maintain their hopes and aspirations but ultimately slide into despair and disillusionment. Ah, Wilderness! is not one of those plays.

Set in an idyllic Connecticut town (presumably New London, O’Neill’s hometown) on the Fourth of July weekend of 1906, the play focuses on the Miller family and their 16-year-old son Richard, whose coming of age story offers a tender portrait of small town family values, teenage growing pains, and young love.

“It’s really quite the opposite of a typical O’Neill family story,” says director R. Terrell Finney. “The subtitle of the play is ‘A Comedy of Recollection,’ so my take on it is this is the family unit that O’Neill wishes he had.”

Even though it’s a comedy, the show still has plenty of the classic O’Neill depth-of-character for which he is known, “If it were written by a playwright of lesser skill, it could verge on the sentimental, but [O’Neill] brings elements that his other plays deal with: alcoholism, squandered love, intolerance and political strife. So, although it is a very loving and romantic portrait of a family, it has some depth as well,” explains Finney.

CCM’s production will be very true to the original look and feel of the play as written. “We’ve tried to create a world that’s going to let us live in 1906, so everything on stage is very period-specific,” says Finney. For example, it was important to obtain the exact music requested by O’Neill for various parts of the play, “I have to thank Dr. bruce mcclung from the Department of Musicology; he really helped us locate the music and source material so we could stay true to the original script,” Finney adds.

Ah! Wilderness!’s tender feel makes it a fitting farewell for it’s director, R. Terrell Finney. Finney’s tenure as a fulltime faculty member will come to an end this semester after 33 years of service as a member of the Department of Drama and head of CCM’s Division of Opera, Musical Theatre, Dramatic Arts and Arts Administration (now known as the Division of Theatre Arts, Production and Arts Administration, or TAPAA). Finney has most recently served as Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Graduate Studies at CCM.

R. Terrell Finney directs this beloved classic by Eugene O'Neill.

R. Terrell Finney directs this beloved classic by Eugene O’Neill.

Over his time at CCM, Finney’s approach to directing has changed, he says, for the better, “I’d like to think I’m more relaxed than when I started! Sometimes you just have to roll with the punches in the theater. I’ve also really come to respect and trust actor instinct. If a director can open a door to the creativity the actor can bring, he’s done his job.”

Finney says directing Ah Wilderness! has reinvigorated his love for the creative process and, even though he’s entering a much-deserved retirement, he hopes to stay involved in the future, “I’ve had a ball directing this show. It’s been six years since I’ve directed and it’s been so liberating. It’s amazing to be involved in the creative process, so if you had asked me, without having done this show, what I wanted to do in retirement I may have just said, ‘Oh, tend my garden,’ but now I would hope that I can continue to direct. I’m not quite ready to be put out to pasture!”

The Company

  • Jonah Sorscher as Tommy Miller
  • Olivia Passafiume as Mildred Miller
  • Owen Alderson as Arthur Miller
  • Katie Langham as Essie Miller
  • Rachel Baumgarten as Lily Miller
  • Devan Pruitt as Nat Miller
  • Andrew Iannacci as Sid Davis
  • Andrew Huyler Ramsey as Richard Miller
  • Spencer Lackey as David McComber
  • Mickey Tropeano as Norah
  • Isaac Hickox-Young as Went Selby
  • Annie Grove as Belle
  • James Egbert as Bartender
  • Ryan Garrett as Salesman
  • Emily Walton as Muriel McComber

The Creative Team

  • R. Terrell Finney, director
  • Thomas C. Umfrid and Whitney Glover, scenic designers
  • Adam Ditzel, lighting designer
  • Mathew D. Birchmeier, sound designer
  • Maria Lenn, costume designer
  • Missy White, wig & make-up designer
  • k. Jenny Jones, fight choreographer
  • Scott Slucher, stage manager

Performance Times

  • 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 10 (preview)
  • 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 11
  • 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 12
  • 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 13
  • 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 14

Location
Patricia Corbett Theater, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

Purchasing Tickets
Tickets to Ah, Wilderness! are $27-31 for adults, $17-20 for non-UC students and $15-18 UC students with a valid ID. Tickets to the Feb. 10 preview performance are just $15.

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/ah-wilderness.

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

Ah, Wilderness!: A Comedy of Recollection in Three Acts is presented by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH, INC.

CCM News Faculty Fanfare

CCM Review Round-Up: ‘Les Misérables’ and ‘El Niño’

The critics can’t stop talking about CCM’s productions of Les Misérables and El Niño! Catch up with the latest “buzz” in today’s review round-up!

CCM proudly presents a new production of the iconic musical "Les Misérables," playing Feb. 27 - March 9, 2014. Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM proudly presents a new production of the iconic musical “Les Misérables,” playing Feb. 27 – March 9, 2014. Photography by Mark Lyons.

  • Rick Pender calls CCM’s new production of Les Misérables “magnificent” in his CityBeat review, concluding, “Peeled back to its raw essence, CCM’s staging of Les Misérables is powerful and memorable, one of the best musical theater productions on a Cincinnati stage this season.” Read the full review here.
  • Paige Malott reviews the production for iSPYCiNCY and observes, “Capturing the larger-than-life Les Misérables with perfection, CCM put on a better-than-Broadway performance that is guaranteed 2-4-6-0-fun.” Read the full review here.
  • In his Talkin’ Broadway review, Scott Cain explains, “Musicals presented at… CCM always feature splendidly talented student performers who rarely disappoint. Their current production, Les Misérables, is no exception and does showcase many stunning voices and meticulously detailed acting.” Read the full review here.
  • In his review for The Sappy Critic, Kirk Sheppard suggests, “I’ve seen a lot of shows in Cincinnati over the last couple of years… [and] CCM’s Les Misérables just might be the greatest production I’ve ever seen.” Read the full review here.
  • Rafael de Acha reviews the production for Seen and Heard International and writes, “Keeping the entire undertaking tightly reined in and mercifully devoid of any Broadway clichés, [Aubrey] Berg delivers a fresh and finely-wrought production.” Read the full review here.
  • Emily Begely reviews Les Misérables for UC’s News Record and concludes, “An exemplary cast, a familiar plot and simple props created an unforgettable work of art.” Read the full review here.
Earl Rivers leads the CCM Philharmonia in a rehearsal for John Adams' EL NINO. Photography by Lisa Ventre/University of Cincinnati.

Earl Rivers leads the CCM Philharmonia in a rehearsal for John Adams’ EL NINO. Photography by Lisa Ventre/University of Cincinnati.

  • Janelle Gelfand reviews CCM’s “powerful” performance of John Adams’ El Niño for the Cincinnati Enquirer, and observes, “[Earl] Rivers balanced the work’s intimate emotions against powerful ones, propelled tempos well and drew excellent playing from the orchestra.” Read her full review here.
  • Mary Ellyn Hutton reviews El Niño for ConcertoNet and writes, “John Adams’ oratorio El Niño had its regional premiere in Cincinnati March 2, and it couldn’t have been in better hands. ” Read the full review here.

Performances of Les Misérables resume this evening (Tuesday, March 4) and run through Sunday, March 9. Learn more by visiting ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice/lesmiserables.

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CCM’s Mainstage Production of ‘Les Miserables’ Receives 5-Star Rating from the League of Cincinnati Theatres

CCM proudly presents a new production of the iconic musical "Les Misérables," playing Feb. 27 - March 9, 2014. Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM proudly presents a new production of the iconic musical “Les Misérables,” playing Feb. 27 – March 9, 2014. Photography by Mark Lyons.

Panelists for the League of Cincinnati Theatres (LCT) have recognized CCM’s production of the long running musical classic Les Misérables with a Five Star Rating! Congratulations to everyone involved with the show!

Panelists praised the production as, “Spectacular… an outstanding and phenomenal production… Bravo for everyone involved for taking a musical I have seen multiple times and making it as fresh, exciting and powerful as the first.”

Director Aubrey Berg was praised for his “seamless” direction: “Aubrey Berg said he had waited over 20 years to direct this musical at CCM and he could not have done it more effectively, with some masterful choices.” Musical Director Steve Goers also was commended for his, “direction of these fine voices and in the outstanding orchestral accompaniment;” he did a, “wonderful job with taking a beast of a show and making it sing beautifully”.

The panelists were impressed by the entire ensemble: “the show absolutely showcased the incredible depth of CCM‘s students… the talent level continues to amaze.” Blaine Krauss, as Jean Valjean, “gave a sensitive, true portrayal of the character… his voice was moving… he should go directly to Broadway.”

Panelists also singled out Colin Kessler, as Javert, for his “outstanding” performance and “remarkable voice”, as well as Matthew Paul Hill’s portrayal of Thenardier: “hilarious in an evil and unctuous manner. He almost stole the show.”

Note: this review was based on the opening night cast. On alternate nights, the roles of Jean Valjean and Javert are also played by Julian Decker and Noah Ricketts, respectively.

Final LCT awards will be determined at the end of the season and announced at the LCT gala in the spring. You can learn more about CCM’s production of Les Misérables here.

About the League of Cincinnati Theatres
The League of Cincinnati Theatres was founded in 1999 to strengthen, nurture and promote Cincinnati’s theatre community. LCT provides its member companies and individual members with education, resources and services to enhance the quality and exposure of the theatre community in Cincinnati and increase community awareness, attendance and involvement. Learn more about the LCT here.

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CCM Slideshows: Les Misérables

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Tonight through March 9, CCM’s Mainstage Series proudly presents production of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg’s Tony Award-winning musical Les Misérables. In honor of opening night, we present a stunning preview slideshow courtesy of photographer Mark Lyons!

Aubrey Berg, CCM’s Patricia A. Corbett Distinguished Chair of Musical Theatre, directs this new production.

CCM News CCM Slideshows

‘Hear the People Sing’ in CCM’s Highly Anticipated Mainstage Production of ‘Les Misérables’

Seniors Blaine Krauss as Jean Valjean and Kimber Sprawl as Fantine in CCM's Mainstage Series production of 'Les Misérables.' Photography by Mark Lyons.

Seniors Blaine Krauss as Jean Valjean and Kimber Sprawl as Fantine in CCM’s Mainstage Series production of ‘Les Misérables.’ Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM’s Mainstage Series presents the CCM debut production of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg’s Tony Award-winning musical Les Misérables. Based on the novel by Victor Hugo, this iconic show runs Feb. 27 – March 9 in CCM’s Patricia Corbett Theater. Tickets are on sale now.

Set in France in the early 19th-century, Les Misérables is the story of Jean Valjean and his quest for salvation after serving 19 years in jail for having stolen a loaf of bread for his starving sister’s child. Relentlessly tracked and hounded by police inspector Javert, Valjean and a slew of characters are swept into a student revolution, as a group of young idealists make their last stand at a street barricade.

Les Misérables was first presented at the Palais des Sports in Paris in 1980. Its English language adaptation opened at the Barbican Centre in London in 1985, overcoming bad notices through word of mouth and launching the beginning of what has turned out to be a global sensation. The Broadway production opened in 1987 and ran until 2003, closing after 6,680 performances. The show was nominated for 12 Tony Awards and won eight, including Best Musical and Best Original Score.

Aubrey Berg, CCM’s Patricia A. Corbett Distinguished Chair of Musical Theatre, directs this new production. He explains, “I have been waiting not-so-patiently to present Les Misérables with the students at CCM for over twenty years, since I first saw it at the Barbican Theatre in 1985. It is an ideal vehicle for our talented students and production staff. We are extremely excited to bring a ‘local’ production of this master work to Cincinnati audiences.”

With a score by Schönberg that has risen to pop-culture status, Les Misérables presents an incredible learning opportunity to CCM students. “Needless to say,” continued Berg, “the musical theatre majors were thrilled at the prospect of working on these meaty parts.” In order to involve as many students as possible, the notable roles of Jean Valjean and Inspector Javert are double-cast. The cast for a particular performance will be displayed in the lobby prior to each show.

CCM News

CCM’s ‘The Time of Your Life’ Earns Two LCT Nominations

CCM presents 'The Time of Your Life.' Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM presents ‘The Time of Your Life.’ Photography by Mark Lyons.

Panelists for the League of Cincinnati Theatres (LCT) have recognized CCM’s Mainstage Series production of The Time of Your Life with two LCT nominations, for Ensemble in a Play and for scenic design (Mark Halpin). Congratulations to everyone involved with this production!

CCM News Faculty Fanfare Student Salutes

CCM Slideshows: The Time of Your Life

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CCM proudly presents William Saroyan’s Pulitzer Prize and Drama Critics’ Circle Award-winning drama The Time of Your Life, running tonight through Sunday in UC’s Patricia Corbett Theater. Tickets are on sale now.

You can read the Cincinnati Enquirer‘s preview of the show here and learn more about the production here.

CCM News CCM Slideshows

CCM’s Mainstage Series Offers ‘The Time of Your Life’ This February

An early look at the set for 'The Time of Your Life' by Scenic Designer Mark Halpin.

An early look at the set for ‘The Time of Your Life’ by Scenic Designer Mark Halpin.

CCM proudly presents a sprawling, elegant production of American playwright William Saroyan’s award-winning five-act play The Time of Your Life, running Feb. 6 (preview) – 10 in UC’s Patricia Corbett Theater.

Set in a run-down waterfront dive bar on the docks of San Francisco (“Nick’s Pacific Street Saloon, Restaurant and Entertainment Palace”) in October of 1939, The Time of Your Life is filled with colorful characters, love and the follies of humanity. CCM Associate Professor of Drama Diane Kvapil directs.

CCM News

CCM Presents ‘The Time of Your Life’ Feb. 6-10

Ellie Jameson as Kitty, Cliff Nunley as Nick and Will Kiley as Joe in CCM's 'The Time of Your Life.' Photography by Brian J. Ruggaber. Shot on location at Uncle Woody's Pub in Clifton.

Ellie Jameson as Kitty, Cliff Nunley as Nick and Will Kiley as Joe in CCM’s ‘The Time of Your Life.’ Photography by Brian J. Ruggaber. Shot at Uncle Woody’s Pub in Clifton.

“In the time of your life, live – so that in that good time there shall be no ugliness or death for yourself or for any life your life touches.” – William Saroyan

This February, CCM proudly presents William Saroyan‘s sprawling and elegant The Time of Your Life. Directed by Diane Kvapil, this bittersweet drama runs Feb. 6 (preview) – 10 in CCM’s Patricia Corbett Theater.

Saroyan’s second play, The Time of Your Life was written in just six days and went on to become the only play to win both the Pulitzer Prize and the Drama Critic’s Circle Award. Written in the summer of 1939, Saroyan said of the work, “The shadow of impending war is all over my second play.”

“People everywhere needed respite from fear,” Kvapil explains. “Hope was hard to find… the whole world was at war or in fear of invasion.” In this climate, the run-down waterfront saloon of Saroyan’s play serves as a refuge, a place of peace and camaraderie.

CCM News