CCM Alumni in Seven Tony-Nominated Productions

Tony Awards LogoCCM alumni are involved with at least seven productions that have been nominated in the 71st Tony Awards, which air live on CBS at 8/7 central on Sunday, June 11. This year’s nominees include two Broadway musicals that were not only written by CCM alums, but also feature the work of alumni on stage.

Nominated for two Tony Awards, Anastasia features music and lyrics by alumnus Stephen Flaherty (BM Composition, 1982) and his long-time writing partner Lynn Ahrens. Alumna Christy Altomare (BFA Musical Theatre, 2008) performs the title role in the production. Musical Theatre alumni Kathryn Boswell (BFA, 2013) and Kyle Brown (BFA, 2008) perform in the show’s ensemble. In addition to the Tony Award nominations, Anastasia has been nominated for one Chita Rivera Award, two Drama League Awards, 9 Drama Desk Awards and 13 Outer Critics Circle Awards.

Also nominated for two Tony Awards is Bandstand: The New American Musical, with music, book and lyrics by Richard Oberacker (BFA Acting, 1993). Greg Anthony Rassen (MM Orchestra Conducting, 2003) is the co-orchestrator, music supervisor and music arranger of the show. He and co-orchestrator Bill Elliott were nominated for Tony Awards and won a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Orchestrations in Bandstand. David Kreppel (BFA Musical Theatre, 1992) is the vocal music arranger of the production. Two musical theatre alumni have roles in BandstandGeoff Packard (BFA, 2004) as Wayne Wright and Max Clayton (BFA, 2014) as an ensemble member. Clayton, who is also the understudy for Bandstand’s lead role Donny Novitski, received a Chita Rivera Award nomination for Outstanding Male Dancer in a Broadway Show. Bandstand has been nominated for six Chita Rivera Awards, two Drama League Awards, seven Drama Desk Awards and three Outer Critics Circle Awards.

Sharon Wheatley (BFA Musical Theatre, 1990) and Josh Breckenridge (BFA Musical Theatre, 2007) perform in Come From Away, which was nominated for seven Tony Awards, two Chita Rivera Awards, one Drama League Award, nine Drama Desk Awards and seven Outer Critics Circle Awards.

Sean Montgomery (BFA Musical Theatre, 2007) and Joseph Medeiros (BFA Musical Theatre, 2006) are in Groundhog Day, nominated for seven Tony Awards, one Chita Rivera Award, two Drama League Awards, one Drama Desk Award and five Outer Critics Circle Awards.

Nicholas Belton (BFA Musical Theatre, 2002) plays Bolkonsky/Andrey in Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812. Blaine Krauss (BFA Musical Theatre, 2014) performs in the show’s ensemble. Hair and wig design for the show is by Leah Loukas (BFA Make-Up & Wig Design, 2004). The musical has been nominated for 12 Tony Awards, one Chita Rivera Award, three Drama League Awards, four Drama Desk Awards and three Outer Critics Circle Awards.

Eric Santagata (BFA Musical Theatre, 2004) is the associate director of Falsettos, which features Betsy Wolfe (BFA Musical Theatre, 2004) as Cordelia. The musical has been nominated for five Tony Awards, two Drama League Awards, three Drama Desk Awards and three Outer Critics Circle Awards.

Stephanie Jae Park (BFA Musical Theatre, 2014) and Angel Reda (BFA Musical Theatre, 2003) perform in War Paint. The musical has been nominated for four Tony Awards, three Drama League Awards, seven Drama Desk Awards and four Outer Critics Circle Awards.

The Tony Awards, hosted by Kevin Spacey, will be broadcast live on CBS at 8/7 central on Sunday, June 11. Find out more by visiting www.tonyawards.com/en_US/nominees/.

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CCM Acting Alumnus Takes New Musical ‘Bandstand’ to Broadway

Five alumni from UC’s College-Conservatory of Music are involved in a swing-filled, all-American musical that opens on Broadway on April 26. Bandstand: The New American Musical features alumni from CCM’s Acting, Musical Theatre and Orchestral Conducting programs.

Bandstand, set in 1945, tells the story of Donny Novitski, a World War II veteran who decides to enter a national contest seeking America’s newest musical sensation. He quickly assembles a ragtag jazz band of fellow veterans, along with a beautiful young war widow to be the band’s lead singer, and enters the contest. It’s a post-war Cinderella story told in an era when young Americans were fighting for their identity in the face of a dramatically changed world.

Richard Oberacker (BFA Acting, 1993) wrote the music, book and lyrics for Bandstand. While Oberacker received his undergraduate degree in acting, he has become a successful conductor, composer and lyricist. He is currently the conductor of Cirque du Soleil’s in Las Vegas, and he composed the score for a new musical version of The Great Gatsby, which will premiere in Tokyo later this year.

Oberacker returned to CCM in 2015 to teach a "Singing Actor" master class.

Oberacker returned to CCM in 2015 to teach a “Singing Actor” master class.

“Richard Oberacker was born to make music. He is a storyteller by nature, and now America will get to enjoy just how good he is when Bandstand opens on Broadway,” said Richard Hess, Professor of Acting and the A.B., Dolly, Ralph and Julia Cohen Chair of Dramatic Performance.

“He has such a big heart, and he inspires excellence in everyone around him. Cincinnati taught Richard how to fly; now he’s ready to soar.”

Greg Anthony Rassen (MM Orchestral Conducting 2003) is co-orchestrator, music supervisor and music arranger for Bandstand.  During his time on Broadway, he has conducted An American in Paris, The Little Mermaid, The Book of Mormon and Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. He is also an accomplished pianist and was featured on the Grammy-nominated cast recording of An American in Paris. He currently holds a position with the New York Pops.

The vocal music arranger for the show is David Kreppel (BFA Musical Theatre, 1992), who is currently the Associate Music Supervisor for The Lion King worldwide and has conducted Aladdin, Sister Act, Rock of Ages and A Chorus Line on Broadway.

Two CCM alumni have roles on stage in this production. Geoff Packard (BFA Musical Theatre, 2004) plays Wayne Wright, the trombonist in the band. His Broadway credits include Matilda, Rock of Ages and Phantom of the Opera, and he has participated in national tours of Wicked and Phantom of the Opera.

Max Clayton (BFA Musical Theatre, 2014) is in the ensemble and is also an understudy for Donny Novitski, the male lead. On Broadway, he has been seen in Something Rotten!, On the Town and Gigi.

Bandstand opens on April 26 at Broadway’s Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, 242 West 45th Street in New York City.  You can learn more about the show at bandstandbroadway.com.

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Story by CCM graduate student Alexandra Doyle

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Senior Musical Theatre major Max Clayton is Don Lockwood in CCM's Mainstage Series production of 'Singin' in the Rain,' running Oct. 31 – Nov. 3 in Corbett Auditorium.

CCM Alumnus Max Clayton Cast in Broadway-Bound Revival of ‘Gigi’

CCM alumnus Max Clayton.

CCM alumnus Max Clayton.

We are thrilled to report that CCM alumnus Max Clayton (BFA Musical Theatre, 2014) has just been cast in the Broadway-bound revival of Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe’s Oscar and Tony Award-winning musical Gigi.

Gigi is set to play a pre-Broadway engagement in the Eisenhower Theater at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. The show will officially open on Jan. 29, 2015, and will play a limited engagement through to Feb. 12, before moving on to the Great White Way later next year.

Clayton has kept busy since graduating just last spring. He was recently seen as Gabey in On the Town at the Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre in Chicago and as Slim in Lyric Opera of Chicago’s production of Oklahoma! The Chicago Tribune hailed Clayton’s performance in On the Town, calling him “an excellent lead.”

CCM audiences last saw Clayton as Don Lockwood in Singin’ in the Rain and as Macheath in The Threepenny Opera.

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CCM Musical Theatre Presents Annual Senior Showcase on March 13 and 15

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CCM’s Class of 2014 in Musical Theatre, performing during CCM’s 2012 Moveable Feast. Photography by Dottie Stover.

Cincinnati audiences will get a sneak peek of an original showcase created by the 2014 graduating class from CCM’s Department of Musical Theatre during the annual “Not Famous Yet” Showcase, which runs on March 13 (Friends of CCM benefit performance) and March 15 in UC’s Patricia Corbett Theater.

The March 13 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. For tickets and additional information, click here.

The March 15 performances take place at 5 and 8 p.m. and are free, but reservations are required. Tickets for these free performances become available at noon on Monday, March 10.

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CCM’s Departments of Jazz Studies and Musical Theatre Present Duke Ellington’s ‘Nutcracker Suite’ and Holiday Concert on Nov. 24

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CCM’s Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Lab Band team up with CCM Musical Theatre dancers to present Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite and Holiday Concert at 2 and 7 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 24, in Corbett Auditorium.

This swinging seasonal favorite features stunning new choreography by Diane Lala and musical direction by Scott Belck and Dominic Marino. Back by popular demand, this powerful partnership presents two performances this season.

Duke Ellington recorded The Nutcracker Suite for the Columbia label in 1960, featuring jazz interpretations of well-known melodies by Tchaikovsky.

Of collaborating with Belck, Lala says, “When he asked if I wanted to do the Nutcracker Swing with him, I jumped at the chance. It is a great opportunity for our musical theatre students to be able to dance with such a wonderful band.” View an excerpt from last year’s concert below.

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IT’S A SMASH! Rave Reviews for CCM’s ‘Singin’ in the Rain’

CCM’s proudly presents ‘Singin' in the Rain,’ running through Sunday, Nov. 3. Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM’s proudly presents ‘Singin’ in the Rain,’ running through Sunday, Nov. 3. Photography by Mark Lyons.

The reviews are in and the critics are calling CCM’s Mainstage Series production of Singin’ in the Rain a must-see theatre event!

In his review for Theatre Reviews Limited, Rafael de Acha suggests: “the show is one of the best, if not the best production of a musical I’ve seen in my three years in Cincinnati.” Read the full review here.

Rick Pender calls the production “a fabulous recreation of the iconic 1952 movie that featured Gene Kelly” in his CityBeat review. “If you love musicals,” he explains, “you should run, don’t walk to the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music this weekend for the short run of Singin’ in the Rain.” Read the full review here.

David Lyman calls the production “a delight” in his review for the Cincinnati Enquirer, concluding: “It’s pleasurable and immensely satisfying. It is, as Lala wrote in her program notes, like visiting an old friend.” Read the full review here.

In his review for Talkin’ Broadway, Scott Cain says, “The show flows at a quick pace and has apt tone and blocking. The dances, including lots of wonderful tap numbers, are vibrant, fun, and well-executed. Ryan Sigurdson leads a lush 27-piece orchestra that couldn’t sound any better.” Read the full review here.

Singin’ in the Rain runs through Sunday, Nov. 3, in Corbett Auditorium on the campus of the University of Cincinnati.

Tickets and subscription packages are on sale now, but only a handful of seats remain, so don’t delay – contact the CCM Box Office today!

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Discussing ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ with Musical Supervisor Roger Grodsky

CCM’s proudly presents ‘Singin' in the Rain,’ running through Sunday, Nov. 3. Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM’s proudly presents ‘Singin’ in the Rain,’ running through Sunday, Nov. 3. Photography by Mark Lyons.

In honor of tonight’s opening performance of Singin’ in the Rain, CCM Professor of Musical Theatre and Singin’ in the Rain Musical Supervisor Roger Grodsky discusses the history of this film musical’s journey to the stage and details what makes CCM’s new production so special:

“Since movies learned to talk in the late 1920s, Broadway musicals were adapted into films. The reverse was not true until much later. The idea of a movie musical being a Broadway show, a trend that sometimes seems to have taken over today’s theatre, did not really begin in earnest until Lerner and Loewe’s Gigi in 1973. Many of these early efforts were not successful (Gigi ran just a few months and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers lasted a week in 1982).

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