CCM Alumna Betsy Wolfe to Replace Sara Bareilles in Broadway’s ‘Waitress’

CCM Musical Theatre alumna Betsy Wolfe (BFA 2004) has made a name for herself by winning major roles, including Cordelia in the current Broadway revival of Falsettos, which was recently nominated for five Tony Awards. She will take on her next Broadway role as Jenna Hunterson in Waitress on June 13.

Waitress features music and lyrics by six-time Grammy Award nominee Sara Bareilles, who is currently playing Jenna on Broadway. Bareilles is leaving the show on June 11, and Wolfe will take her place.

The musical is about a waitress and excellent pie-maker (Jenna) who feels trapped in her loveless marriage and small town. A baking contest and the arrival of an attractive young doctor help her realize her dreams, giving her a chance at a fresh start. With a book by acclaimed screenwriter Jessie Nelson and direction by Tony Award-winner Diane Paulus, the musical is based on the 2007 film of the same name.

Wolfe was recently awarded CCM’s 2017 Musical Theatre Young Alumni Award, which recognizes the outstanding professional achievements of young graduates of the college’s Musical Theatre program. She returned to CCM in March for the annual Musical Theatre Senior Showcase and spoke to students about her career.

Local audiences may remember Wolfe from the enormously successful semi-staged version of The Music Man, which she starred in with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra in May 2015.

Since graduating from CCM, Wolfe has starred in 110 in the Shade, Everyday Rapture, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Bullets Over Broadway and Falsettos. She also starred in the off-Broadway revival of The Last Five Years and in Merrily We Roll Along at City Center Encores. She’s been a hot commodity on the concert circuit as well, having soloed with the Cincinnati Pops, New York Pops, New York City Ballet and more.

For more information about Wolfe visit broadwayworld.com/people/Betsy-Wolfe/.

For more information on Waitress visit waitressthemusical.com.

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Story by CCM graduate student Alexandra Doyle

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CCM Musical Theatre Presents 25th Annual Senior Showcase

Cincinnati audiences will get a sneak peak of an original showcase created by the 2017 graduating class from the UC College-Conservatory of Music’s (CCM) Department of Musical Theatre during the annual “Not Famous Yet” Showcase on March 8 (CCMpower benefit performance), 10 and 11 in Patricia Corbett Theater.

The March 8 benefit performance starts at 7 p.m. and features a reception prior to the show with CCM Musical Theatre Young Alumni Award recipient Betsy Wolfe. Tickets include wine and dinner-by-the-bite after the showcase in the CCM Atrium. For tickets and additional information, visit ccm.weshareonline.org/ws/opportunities/NotFamousYetShowcase2017.

In addition to the benefit performance, the musical theatre students also present the showcase at 8 p.m. on Friday, March 10 and 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 11. These two performances are free, but reservations must be made in advance. Tickets become available at noon Monday, March 6.

Each year, seniors from CCM’s musical theatre program travel to New York to present a showcase for the leading agents, casting directors and managers in the business. The show takes the format of a Broadway audition, with the actors showing off their solo and ensemble skills through song and dance numbers. The work is created by the students themselves under the supervision of program chair Aubrey Berg and with the assistance of musical director Julie Spangler.

This year’s performance is the 25th edition of the CCM “Not Famous Yet” showcase. The annual showcase began with the establishment of the Patricia A. Corbett Distinguished Chair of Musical Theatre in 1991. At the time of its inception, it was the only academic chair of its kind in the United States. Learn more about the Musical Theatre Class of 2017 here.

CCMpower Benefit Performance    

The opening performance of the Musical Theatre Senior Showcase is part of a benefit for CCMpower. The Host Reception beings at 6 p.m. in CCM’s Baur room before the performance at 7 p.m. The event is followed with wine and dinner-by-the-bite in CCM’s Atrium.

Betsy Wolfe. Photo by Matt Murhpy.

Betsy Wolfe. Photo by Matt Murhpy.

This event also includes the presentations of the Musical Theatre Young Alumni Award, which recognizes professional achievement by graduates of CCM’s Musical Theatre Program from the past two decades. This year’s recipient is Betsy Wolfe, who graduated in 2004. Wolfe has been seen in many productions on Broadway and Off-Broadway, including her current role as Cordelia in the Broadway revival of Falsettos, as well as performing as a soloist in over 35 orchestral concerts. She also appeared in Die Fledermaus with the Metropolitan Opera and in the film version of The Last Five Years. Wolfe will be on campus on March 8 to present a master class for CCM’s Musical Theatre students.

Tickets for the March 8 Benefit are:

  • Host Ticket – $100 (Includes reception prior to the performance with Young Alumni Award Recipient Betsy Wolfe, general performance seating, wine, dinner-by-the-bite and garage parking.)
  • General Admission – $75 (Includes general performance seating, wine and dinner-by-the-bite.)
  • Young Professional (40 years and under) – $50 (Includes general performance seating, wine and dinner-by-the-bite.)
  • CCM Alumni – $50 (Includes general performance seating, wine and dinner-by-the-bite.)

Proceeds benefit student career development grants and scholarships. Seating is limited. To reserve a ticket, call CCM External Relations at 513-556-2100 or visit ccm.weshareonline.org/ws/opportunities/NotFamousYetShowcase2016.

CCM Hosts FREE Performances of the Showcase on March 10 and 11
Admission to the Musical Theatre Showcase at 8 p.m. on Friday, March 10 and 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 11, is FREE. Seating is limited and reservations are required. Tickets become available at noon on Monday, March 6; please visit the CCM Box Office or call 513-556-4183 to make a reservation. Limit two tickets per order.

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Performance Times
7 p.m. Wednesday, March 8 (benefit performance)
8 p.m. Friday, March 10
4 p.m. Saturday, March 11

Location
Patricia Corbett Theater, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

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.
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CCM Season Presenting Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation

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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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Betty Ireland and Marc Scorca

Opera America Office Dedicated in Memory of CCM Alumnus Jim Ireland

The National Opera Center recently dedicated its Technical/Production Office in honor of famed University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music alumnus James D. Ireland (BBA Business Administration, 1966; MM 1970), a well-respected opera administrator who helped develop Opera America into a leading organization for arts advancement in the United States.

Jim Ireland

Jim Ireland

Ireland passed away at the age of 69 in September 2012 after a brief battle with lung cancer. The ceremony and dedication took place this past November at the Opera America headquarters in New York City. Numerous friends and family from around the country were there to honor Ireland, including his sister and UC alumna, Betty Scott Ireland (BS Education, 1967).

“To know Jim was to love and admire him,” said Opera America President/CEO Marc Scorca during the dedication. “With cherished memories and enduring affection, let’s be joyful that James D. Ireland has a permanent home at the National Opera Center in good company with other dynamic leaders who forged an American opera industry.”

“Dynamic leader” is an appropriate moniker for Ireland, who had a long and storied career in the arts. A native of Charleston, West Virginia, he made a name for himself locally, often performing with the Charleston Light Opera Guild and playing organ for several area churches.

Ireland began studying voice at CCM under the tutelage of Helen Laird in 1965, shortly before Laird established the conservatory’s Musical Theatre Program in 1968. During his time at CCM, he also studied conducting with Elmer Thomas and piano with John Quincy Bass.

After graduating from CCM in 1970, he worked heavily behind the scenes to promote opera across the country. From 1972–79, he worked with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and created their opera/musical theatre arm. It was also during this time that he began working with Opera America, which has since developed a glowing international reputation.

From there, Ireland transitioned into one of the leading opera company administrators in America. For 22 years, he served as Managing and Producing Director of the acclaimed Houston Grand Opera and helped the reputation of the company grow through numerous world premieres and other artistic endeavors.

He later served as Director of Hartford Stage in Connecticut (2002–05) and the President and first CEO of the Orlando Opera (2006–09). At the time of his passing, he was working as a consultant for numerous opera organizations across the country.

JoAnne Greiser (BA English, 1968/BS Education, 1969), who was friends with Ireland when they were both students at the University of Cincinnati, attended the dedication with her husband Ron Nyhan.

“In a field that is, by definition, focused on performance and its stars, only a knowledgeable, opera-loving giant on the business side of the house could command the attention of the opera field to make significant changes behind the scenes,” she said. “Jim was that giant.”

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Story by CCM graduate Kevin Norton (DMA Saxophone, 2015)

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CCM Alumnus Andre Catrini Opens First Off-Broadway Musical This Week

CCM alumnus Andre Catrini (BFA Musical Theatre, 2011) is about to open his first Off-Broadway musical, The Astonishing Times of Timothy Cratchit. Catrini has written the music and lyrics to a book by Alan Knee. The production opens at 7 p.m. tonight, Dec. 3, at the New York Workshop Theatre. The show plays through Saturday, Dec. 19.

Set 12 years after the close of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, a 19 year old Timothy Cratchit leaves the home of his benefactor, Ebenezer Scrooge, in order to find his place in the world. On his path he encounters many trying, eye-opening and comical situations, but it is with the magnificent stage clown, Grimaldi, and his troupe of lively performers that he discovers his true identity.

Time Out New York has named the piece one of the “Best Christmas Plays to See This Holiday Season.”

Catrini is a composer/lyricist, musical theatre repertoire/audition coach and musical director currently living on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. He is a member of the BMI-Lehman Engel Advanced Musical Theatre Workshop, an alumnus of the ASCAP Johnny Mercer Songwriter’s Workshop (plus a proud ASCAP member) and a graduate of CCM. In New York, he recently presented a concert of his material, “All Because Of You,” and was part of the York Theatre’s NEO 7 (New, Emerging, Outstanding) Concert.

Catrini is the proud recipient of the 2014 ASCAP Foundation Cole Porter Award, given “in recognition for his outstanding talent as a musical theatre composer and lyricist” as well as a 2015 New Voices Project Merit Award.

Catrini is the founder and current member of the writing group THE CIRCLE SONGBOOK, comprised of twelve diverse contemporary musical theatre writers. Circle Songbook concerts are held twice a year in NYC.

His previous writing credits include The Wolf, Timmy the Wizard, Other Women, BLOCKED, Whisper, Love (for which a cast album is available) and concert presentations of “All Because Of You,” “Songs From the Trunk,” “Exercises: Songs From Unwritten Musicals” and “A Little Self Indulgent Music. ”

You can learn more about Andre Catrini by visiting www.andrecatrini.com.

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CCM faculty member Scott Belck, DMA.

CCM Director of Jazz Studies Scott Belck Performs at Carnegie Hall This October

CCM Director of Jazz Studies and Ensembles & Conducting Division Head Scott Belck, DMA, will perform at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall next Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015.

Belck will perform as a member of the acclaimed trumpet ensemble Tromba Mundi. The evening’s program is dubbed Sinfonia Americana and will include a musical journey from the Renaissance to the Old West, with stops in Hollywood and New Orleans along the way. Tromba Mundi released an album of the same name in 2013.

Poster for Tromba Mundi's Oct. 7, 2015, performance at Carnegie Hall.Founded in 2007 for the sole purpose of the exploration, promotion and performance of new works for trumpet ensemble, Tromba Mundi has recorded several world premiere compositions and continues to commission new music for the genre. The ensemble is comprised of professional performers and pedagogues from various universities across the United States.

The groups members also include Bryan Appleby-Wineberg, Jean-Christophe Dobrzelewski, John Marchiando, William Stowman and Joey Tartell.

In addition to his work with Tromba Mundi, Belck has recently toured as a member of Grammy Award-winning funk legend Bootsy Collins’ Funk Unity Band as lead trumpet. He has also served as trumpet and cornet soloist with the Air Force Band of Flight in Dayton, Ohio, where he held the post of musical director for the Air Force Night Flight Jazz Ensemble.

His playing credits include recordings as lead trumpet/guest soloist with the Cincinnati Pops featuring the Manhattan Transfer and John Pizzarelli, the Glenn Miller Orchestra, the Van Dells and jazz soloist with the University of North Texas One O’clock Lab Band with whom he recorded four CDs as jazz soloist and section trumpet.

Belck was named head of CCM’s Division of Ensembles and Conducting this fall. He directs CCM’s Jazz Orchestra and teaches applied Jazz Trumpet. Belck is a Yamaha Performing Artist.

You can learn more about Belck’s Carnegie Hall performance with Tromba Mundi by visiting www.carnegiehall.org/Calendar/2015/10/7/0730/PM/Tromba-Mundi.

Learn  more about CCM’s world-class faculty members by visiting ccm.uc.edu/about/villagenews/faculty.

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CCM Artist Diploma Student Talya Lieberman Wins Outstanding Performance Award at 2015 Lotte Lenya Competition

CCM artist diploma student Talya Lieberman.

CCM artist diploma student Talya Lieberman.

We are happy to report that soprano Talya Lieberman, an Artist Diploma candidate in CCM’s Opera program, won the Lys Symonette Award for Outstanding Performance of an Individual Number during the final round of the 2015 Lotte Lenya Competition.

Sponsored by the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, this year’s competition was held at the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music on April 18. Named in honor of Weill’s musical assistant on Broadway, the Lys Symonette Award comes with a cash prize of $3,500.

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. The judges of this year’s competition were Rebecca Luker, James Holmes and Theodore S. Chapin. You can view a full list of this year’s competition winners by visiting www.kwf.org/previous-winners.

Lieberman is the latest in a long line of CCM-trained singers to take home top honors at the Lotte Lenya Competition. 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.

About Talya Lieberman
Originally from Forest Hills, New York, Talya Ilana Lieberman is currently pursuing an Artist Diploma at CCM as a student of CCM Professor of Voice William McGraw.

A soprano, Lieberman will be singing Susanna in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro with Wolf Trap Opera as a Filene Young Artist this coming summer. She has been invited to make her recital debut with the San Francisco Opera Center as part of their Schwabacher Debut Recital series this spring. She was most recently seen performing Gretel in CCM’s Mainstage Series production of Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel.

This past summer she sang the title role in Handel’s Semele as part of the Schwabacher Concert Series (Merola Opera Program). Highlights from 2013-14 include performing selections from Canteloube’s “Chants d’Auverge” with the CCM Philharmonia, as well as performing David del Tredici’s “Haddock’s Eyes” with CCM’s Café MoMus ensemble. She won the Irma M. Cooper Vocal Competition (Columbus Opera, 2014) and Alida Vane International Voice Competition (2013) in Latvia, where she studied on a Fulbright scholarship for the 2012-13 school year.

Lieberman made her New York City debut prior to departing for Latvia, singing in concert with Schubert & Co. In the summer of 2012 she participated in the voice program at the Chautauqua School of Music, where she was featured in Villa-Lobos’ “Bachianas Brasileiras” with the cello studio.

Lieberman is a convert from the orchestra pit and started singing after receiving her master’s degree in trumpet performance from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts under the tutelage of Judith Saxton. She completed her BA at Duke University with highest distinction in linguistics (Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude). She is a two-time winner of full tuition and stipend—winning the Russell-Seybold Award and Italo Tajo Award, respectively—at CCM’s annual Opera Scholarship Competition.

Lieberman has lived a few lives before coming to opera full-time; she worked on sleep apnea research as a research coordinator at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, served as program coordinator for the El Sistema inspired program Play On, Philly!, and had a short stint as a singer-songwriter. She is an avid student of contact improvisation and various forms of meditation. She loves reading, writing, editing, working with children, teaching and being an aunt.

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