Established Broadway Veteran Named Patricia A. Corbett Distinguished Chair of Musical Theatre at CCM

UC College-Conservatory of Music Dean Stanley E. Romanstein has announced the appointment of Eric Santagata to the position of Associate Professor and Patricia A. Corbett Distinguished Chair of Musical Theatre at CCM. A 2004 graduate of CCM’s nationally recognized BFA Musical Theatre program, Santagata’s appointment begins on Aug. 15, 2020.

“The appointment of Eric Santagata ushers in an exciting new era for CCM Musical Theatre, which is recognized nationally for its tradition of excellence in preparing our graduates to take their places on the world’s stages,” Romanstein says.

Photo of Eric Santagata

Eric Santagata. Photo by Walter McBride.

The Musical Theatre program at CCM was the first of its kind in the country. A four-year bachelor of fine arts (BFA) program, it was used by the National Association of Schools of Theatre in creating the guidelines for accreditation of Musical Theatre programs nationwide. The program is widely recognized for its “triple-threat” approach to training and many of its graduates are following careers as performers and creative artists in every facet of the entertainment industry. The program is regularly ranked near the top of Playbill Magazine’s annual list of “10 Most Represented Colleges on Broadway.”

“A gifted director, teacher and nurturing mentor, Eric is precisely the kind of educator who will lead our top-rated musical theatre training program to even greater heights,” says Denton Yockey, CCM Professor of Arts Administration and Head of the Division of Theatre Arts, Production and Arts Administration (TAPAA).

Santagata’s appointment concludes an extensive national search that began when long-time CCM Musical Theatre Chair Aubrey Berg retired at the end of the 2018-19 academic year after holding the position for 32 years. Yockey chaired the search committee, which consisted of CCM faculty members Diane Lala, Roger Grodsky, Vincent DeGeorge, Richard Hess, Robin Guarino, Mark Halpin, Katie Johannigman, Shauna Steele and UC College of Arts and Sciences faculty member Sharrell Luckett.

“As a musical theatre alumnus, CCM has been crucial in my development as both an educator and an artist,” Santagata says. “The tools and training I honed here have been the backbone of my career. I look forward to having the opportunity to take the knowledge I’ve accrued in the professional entertainment industry and focus it into a curriculum that speaks to the tradition that CCM is founded on, while ushering it into a new era of success.”

An accomplished director, choreographer, performer and educator, Santagata has worked on Broadway, Off-Broadway, on national tours and in regional theaters across the country. He was most recently seen on Broadway in the Hal Prince retrospective Prince Of Broadway at the Manhattan Theater Club. His other performing credits include Bullets Over Broadway at St. James Theatre, Chaplin at Barrymore Theatre, The Apple Tree at Roundabout Theatre Company, Happiness at Lincoln Center Theater, Stairway to Paradise and Face the Music at City Center Encores!.

Santagata has served as associate director to Tony Award-winning director/writer James Lapine in the national tour and Broadway productions of Falsettos — nominated for five Tony Awards — as well as assistant director and choreographer to Lapine in A New Brain at Encores! Off-Center in New York. He has also served as associate director and choreographer to Tony Award-winning director/choreographer Susan Stroman in Off-Broadway productions of The Beast in the Jungle and Dot at Vineyard Theatre as well as Broadway productions of The Scottsboro Boys, which received 12 Tony Award nominations, seven Olivier Award Nominations and the Ned Sherrin Award for Best Musical. In London, Santagata was the associate choreographer on Stroman’s The Scottsboro Boys at the Young Vic and West End theaters.

In addition to his work on stage and behind-the-scenes, Santagata has presented master classes and taught theatre arts at universities and programs across the country including at Penn State STAGES Conference, Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, Orpheum Theater Group, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Oklahoma City University and the Open Jar Institute as well as London’s Mousetrap Theatre Organization. His master classes and talkbacks focus on Santagata’s professional experiences in acting, singing, dancing, directing, choreographing and audition techniques.

He is also an active board member of Westport Country Playhouse’s Resident Conservatory – the Broadway Method Academy, a non-profit program that offers focused training for young adults while connecting them with established industry professionals. He previously served as an adjudicator at the 2017-18 Stephen Sondheim Awards, Connecticut’s Regional Award program in association with the Jimmy Awards and the National High School Musical Theatre Awards; and as a directing mentor during the week-long Staples High School Directing Intensive in Westport, Connecticut.

Santagata is a member of the Screen Actors Guild, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, Actors Equity Association and Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.

About CCM Musical Theatre

The Musical Theatre program at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) is the oldest in the country and was the first of its kind. A four-year bachelor of fine arts (BFA) program, it was used by the National Association of Schools of Theatre in formulating the guidelines for the accreditation of Musical Theatre programs nationwide.

The program provides professional conservatory training designed to help singers, dancers and actors become accomplished musical theatre performers. Students participate in a number of productions while in residence and create a freshman and a senior showcase, the latter functioning as their New York debut for agents and casting directors. In addition, students undertake courses in English, history, psychology, dramatic literature, social and ethical issues and the humanities.

CCM Musical Theatre is widely recognized for its “triple-threat” approach to training and many of its graduates are following careers as performers and creative artists in every facet of the entertainment industry. CCM Musical Theatre graduates are working on Broadway and throughout the nation in such productions as Anastasia, Hamilton, Waitress, Moulin Rouge, The Phantom of the Opera, The Book of Mormon, Pippin, Wicked, Jersey Boys, Les Misérables, Kinky Boots, Big Fish, Newsies and The Lion King. Students represent CCM in national and international touring productions, in dinner theatres and theme parks, on cruise ships, on television, in talent agencies, as producers and in many of the related entertainment fields.

The Musical Theatre program is part of a larger academic division known as TAPAA: Theatre Arts, Production and Arts Administration. At the time of its establishment in 1991, the Patricia A. Corbett Distinguished Chair of Musical Theatre at CCM was the only academic chair of its kind in the United States, the American equivalent of the Chair in Musical Theatre endowed by Cameron Macintosh in honor of Stephen Sondheim at Oxford one year later.

About CCM

Nationally ranked and internationally renowned, the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) is a preeminent institution for the performing and media arts.

The synergy created by housing CCM within a comprehensive public university gives the college its unique character and defines its objective: to educate and inspire the whole artist and scholar for positions on the world’s stage. For more information about CCM, please visit us online at ccm.uc.edu.

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CCM Village in the spring of 2014. Photography by Dottie Stover.

CCM Alumna Leslie Kritzer wins Lucille Lortel Award

The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of music is pleased to announce that alumna Leslie Kritzer (BFA Musical Theatre, 1999) has won a Lucille Lortel Award as Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical for her role in the Roundabout Theatre revival of The Robber Bridegroom. The Lucille Lortel Awards recognize excellence in New York Off-Broadway theatre and have been awarded since 1986.

Leslie Kritzer and company in The Robber Bridegroom. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Leslie Kritzer and company in The Roundabout Theatre Company’s ‘The Robber Bridegroom.’ Photo by Joan Marcus.

Kritzer has enjoyed mounting success over the years. She recently developed two new Broadway musicals, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s School of Rock and The Honeymooners playing Alice Kramden opposite Hank Azaria, which will be on Broadway in 2016. She is currently playing Ray Romano’s wife on Vinyl, a new show on HBO.

After graduating from CCM in 1999, Kritzer made her Broadway debut in Hairspray. She then played the role of Serena in Legally Blonde, for which she won the Clarence Derwent Award for most promising performer. She earned a Drama Desk nomination for her role in A Catered Affair, starring opposite Tom Wopat and Faith Prince. In Sondheim on Sondheim on Broadway she starred opposite Vanessa Williams and Barbara Cook and was also seen in Elf, in which she appeared as Jovie opposite Wayne Knight. Kritzer has also appeared in Piece of My Heart at The Signature Theatre, world premieres of Nobody Loves You at Second Stage and The Memory Show at Transport Group, Rooms: A Rock Romance, The Great American Trailer Park Musical and Bat Boy: The Musical. She played Hildy in On the Town for New York City Center Encores! and she was Little Becky in the national tour of Urinetown. Her regional credits include Pop! at Yale Repertory Theatre, Every Tongue Confess at Arena Stage, First You Dream at The Kennedy Center and Funny Girl at Paper Mill Playhouse.

In 2011, CCM recognized Kritzer for her achievements by presenting her with the CCM Musical Theatre Young Alumni Award. This award is presented each year at a performance of the Senior Showcase in Cincinnati sponsored by the Friends of CCM, now known as CCMpower. This award recognizes outstanding professional achievement by a graduate of CCM’s musical theatre program from the past two decades.

You can learn more about the Roundabout Theatre’s production of The Robber Bridegroom here.

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Kevin McCollum talks to CCM musical theatre students at a master class.

Tony Award-Winning Broadway Producer Kevin McCollum Joins CCM’s Faculty as Distinguished Visiting Professor

Peter Landgren, dean and Thomas James Kelly professor of music at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), has appointed leading Broadway producer Kevin McCollum to the position of Distinguished Visiting Professor. McCollum’s initial appointment will be for three years and will become effective in August of 2015.

Alumnus and Distinguished Visiting Professor Kevin McCollum.

Alumnus and Distinguished Visiting Professor Kevin McCollum.

A distinguished alumnus of the University of Cincinnati, McCollum (BFA Musical Theatre, 1984; HonDoc, 2005) is the Tony Award-winning producer of RentAvenue QIn the HeightsMotown the Musical and many other acclaimed Broadway, Off-Broadway and touring productions. Earlier this spring, McCollum received two more Tony nominations for his current productions of Something Rotten! (Best Musical) and Hand to God (Best Play). He also received 12 Outer Critics Circle Award nominations, including Outstanding New Broadway Musical, and nine Drama Desk nominations, including Outstanding Musical.

As a Distinguished Visiting Professor at CCM, McCollum’s influence on the college’s students and programs will be broad, focusing his work on musical theatre, although his entrepreneurial expertise will also be applied to aspects of auditioning, career development, arts administration and more.

Through this new appointment, McCollum will also work with faculty and administrators to develop a new musical theatre incubator program at CCM. A collaborative venture between CCM and Alchemation, McCollum’s Broadway producing office, this incubator will be designed to support the creation of new musical theatre works, utilizing McCollum’s entrepreneurial expertise and CCM’s abundance of talent.

“We are very excited to bring Kevin back to CCM as a member of our faculty,” says Dean Landgren. “Kevin is arguably the most accomplished and successful producer working in theatre today. Given his diverse background and his proven expertise in the business of the performing arts, his presence on our faculty will enhance the already world-class training that our students receive.”

“CCM was an essential part of my professional training and I am thrilled to return to such a top-notch institution,” says McCollum. “There are many things that attracted me to this position on CCM’s faculty; Peter Landgren’s bold leadership and openness to collaboration, the level of excellence found in the faculty, the highly accomplished young artists and the state-of-the-art facilities of my Alma Mater. I am proud to be counted amongst the internationally renowned faculty of this great institution. CCM has a longstanding commitment to presenting new works, and I am equally proud to help develop a program that will usher in the next generation of musical theatre artists.”

Speaking of the significance of an incubator program for musical theatre, Landgren explains, “Keeping with the University of Cincinnati’s proud tradition of cooperative education and experiential learning, this collaboration with Kevin and Alchemation will present our students with extraordinary opportunities to hone their craft while working to develop future theatre classics. Developing Broadway’s blockbusters-of-tomorrow with CCM’s stars-of-tomorrow is a win-win.”

Kevin McCollum (center) with CCM Musical Theatre's Class of 2015 after his seminar at Pearl Studios in New York.

Kevin McCollum (center) with CCM Musical Theatre’s Class of 2015 after his seminar at Pearl Studios in New York.

About Kevin McCollum
With a career spanning 25 years in the theatre industry, Kevin McCollum remains one of the most prolific and successful producers on Broadway today. He has received the Tony Award for Best Musical for In the Heights (2008), Avenue Q (2004) and Rent (1996), which also won the Pulitzer Prize. He produced Motown the Musical (Broadway and National Tour), The Drowsy Chaperone in 2006, which won five Tony Awards, Baz Luhrmann’s production of Puccini’s La Boheme in 2002, [title of show] in 2008, the touring and Broadway productions of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, the off-Broadway hit De La Guarda, the recent hit revival of West Side Story and Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo.

In 1995 McCollum co-founded the Producing Office, and has since created Alchemation, a theatrical and media producing company committed to new work. In addition to his training at CCM, McCollum earned his Master’s degree in film producing from the Peter Stark Program at the University of Southern California.

In 1995, McCollum received the Robert Whitehead Award for Outstanding Commercial Theatre Producing. In 2005, he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Cincinnati. He is represented on Broadway this spring with the original musical Something Rotten! and the New American Play Hand to God. His wife is actress and fellow UC graduate Lynette Perry-McCollum (BM Musical Theatre, 1985).

About Alchemation
Founded in 2012, Alchemation is a theatre and media company under McCollum’s leadership. Productions under the Alchemation banner include Motown the Musical, Something Rotten!Hand to God and the third season of theatrical web-series Submissions Only. In the summer of 2013, McCollum entered a joint venture with 20th Century Fox to develop titles from the Fox catalogue into stage properties.

About CCM
Nationally ranked and internationally renowned, the University of Cincinnati College- Conservatory of Music (CCM) is a preeminent institution for the performing and media arts. Declared “one of the nation’s leading conservatories” by the New York Times, CCM provides life-changing experiences within a highly creative and multidisciplinary artistic environment.

CCM’s educational roots date back to 1867, and a solid, visionary instruction has been at our core since that time. The synergy created by housing CCM within a comprehensive public university gives the college its unique character and defines its objective: to educate and inspire the whole artist and scholar for positions on the world’s stage.

CCM’s faculty and staff and its state-of-the-art facilities make possible the professional training and exceptional education on which CCM believes the future of the arts relies. The school’s roster of eminent faculty regularly receives distinguished honors for creative and scholarly work, and its alumni have achieved notable success in the performing and media arts.

More than 150 internationally recognized faculty members work with students from around the world, specializing in the areas of Composition, Musicology and Theory; Electronic Media; Ensembles and Conducting; Keyboard Studies; Music Education; Performance Studies and Theatre Arts, Production and Arts Administration.

The largest single source of performing arts events in the state of Ohio, CCM presents nearly 1000 major public performances each year, ranging from faculty and guest artist concerts to fully supported opera, musical theatre, drama and dance productions.

For more information about the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, please visit us online at ccm.uc.edu.

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CCM Presents Comedy-Horror-Rock Musical ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ Oct. 11-13

Cassie Levine as Audrey and Lee Slobotkin as Seymour in CCM’s Studio Series production of ‘Little Shop of Horrors.’ Photography by Nik Robalino.

Cassie Levine as Audrey and Lee Slobotkin as Seymour in CCM’s Studio Series production of ‘Little Shop of Horrors.’ Photography by Nik Robalino.

CCM proudly presents the award-winning Little Shop of Horrors as the first installment in this year’s Studio Series. UC’s Cohen Family Studio Theater will be transformed into an iconic drive-in movie theater for this much-loved musical, which runs Oct. 11-13, 2012.

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