Co-Founder of CCM Musical Theatre Helen Laird Honored at Memorial Service on April 7

Temple University’s Boyer College of Music and Dance will hold a memorial to honor Helen Laird, who served as Dean of the College from 1978 to 1993, on Sunday, April 7, 2019 at the college’s Rock Hall Auditorium. The memorial will also be streamed live at youtube.com/boyercollege.

Former voice faculty member at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), Laird helped establish CCM’s BFA Musical Theatre program in the 1960s. She believed that other forms of singing should be included in a conservatory, so she lobbied former CCM Dean Jack Watson to establish a program in musical theatre, the first of its kind in the country. Watson recruited Jack Rouse to shape the program, which conferred its first BFA degree in musical theatre in 1969 to Pamela Myers. Fifty years later, the nationally-recognized program is one of the top musical theatre programs in the country.

Laird passed away on Oct. 24, 2018, at age 92. A Haddonfield, New Jersey resident for 40 years, Laird was best known throughout the Philadelphia region as Dean of Temple University’s Boyer College of Music. Her glorious soprano voice, however, had been heard previously in solo performance with the Philadelphia Orchestra, which was among many of the leading ensembles throughout the United States and in Europe, with which she sang during her career as soloist and in opera. She became known throughout the musical academic world also for her administrative acumen, which resulted in her election as the first female officer of the National Association of Schools of Music, the primary accrediting body for college music degree programs in the United States.

Born in Harrisburg, Illinois, her exceptional musical talent became apparent from a young age. Singing opportunities came to her very early, and she matriculated at the University of Nebraska as a music major. Following a move by her family to Wyoming, she embarked upon and completed a graduate degree at Columbia University in New York City. After further vocal study and concert appearances in the United States, she went to Europe in 1953, and by 1954 had been engaged for leading roles at the Basel City Theater in Switzerland. Appointments followed at Mainz and Kassel in Germany, and for 14 years she was a leading soprano with performances of major roles in over 40 operas, averaging over a hundred performances per season. She found time to return to the United States for specific engagements. She garnered significant awards, including the first ever Blanche Thebom Award, the Laureate of International Competition in Geneva and the Martha Baird Rockefeller Award for Vocal Performance. Included among her title roles were Verdi’s Aida, Puccini’s Madama Butterfly and Tosca, and Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos and others. Important also were several Wagnerian roles, including Eva in Die Meistersinger and Senta in The Flying Dutchman. Favorites included Countess in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni and Chrysothemis in Richard Strauss’ Elektra. A review of her Madama Butterfly in Kassel said, “She created the timeless destiny of Madama Butterfly with her acting ability, with conquering naturalness, and with full use of her dramatic and moving vocal resources.” Of her Ariadne, it was said in Frankfurt, “She unfolded a greatness of interpretation and bewitched the audience with her beautiful voice.” Her repertoire ranged from baroque to contemporary, with a particular attention to American works, which she enjoyed sharing with European audiences.

Seeking to expand her teaching, Laird returned to the United States and accepted the post of voice professor and artist-in-residence at CCM. She taught and administered at CCM for a decade, during which she helped establish the college’s Musical Theatre Program, until she accepted a position at Temple University. She served the university from 1978 to 1993 as Professor of Voice and Opera and Dean of the Boyer College of Music and Dance. Laird’s time at the university resulted in major growth for the school, said Boyer College Dean Emeritus Jeffrey Cornelius in an obituary he wrote for her:

“At her retirement she was hailed as an exceptional professor and administrator and as one who encouraged and followed the professional success of her students, among whom are major American figures in opera and musical theater.”

The complete obituary written by Cornelius is available at http://www.temple.edu/boyer/about/Laird.asp. The Haddonfield Sun has published an obituary at https://haddonfieldsun.com/obituary-helen-lorene-laird-ab6ad5d48a00?gi=813b1b311b2c. Legacy.com has also published an obituary at https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/philly/obituary.aspx?pid=190618951.

Temple University’s Boyer College of Music and Dance will hold a memorial for Laird at 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 7, 2019, at the Rock Hall Auditorium, located at 1715 North Broad Street Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19122. The memorial will also be streamed live at youtube.com/boyercollege.

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Broadway Alumni Present Cabaret to Mark CCM Musical Theatre’s 50th Anniversary

Join CCM Musical Theatre alumni from the past five decades and current students in a cabaret of songs from Broadway, Off-Broadway and the Great American Songbook on Sept. 16, 2018.

The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music celebrates the 50th anniversary of its legendary Musical Theatre program with a Birthday Cabaret at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018 in Patricia Corbett Theater. Featuring the program’s first graduate Pamela Myers, our newest stars of tomorrow and star performers from Broadway and beyond, the Birthday Cabaret promises to be a tuneful and invigorating tribute to 50 years of CCM Musical Theatre excellence.

Devised and directed by CCM Musical Theatre Chair Aubrey Berg and musical theatre alumnus Scott Coulter (BFA, 1993), with musical direction by Julie Spangler, the Birthday Cabaret offers Cincinnati audiences an unforgettable performance that showcases nearly a dozen alumni who represent five decades of CCM Musical Theatre. The program includes songs from Broadway, Off-Broadway and the Great American Songbook.

Alumni guest artists include Tony Award winners and nominees, stars who have appeared on Broadway and in regional theatres, and artists who have performed with renowned orchestras in concert halls throughout the country — all of whom studied at CCM before launching careers on the world’s stage. A full list of alumni guest artists can be found below.

CCM’s newest stars of tomorrow, the Musical Theatre class of 2019, will also perform a new song, which was written by composer and lyricist Andre Catrini (BFA Musical Theatre, 2011) to mark the program’s golden anniversary.

CCM conferred the United States’ first BFA in Musical Theatre to Pamela Myers in 1969. The first program of its kind in the country, CCM Musical Theatre was used by the National Association of Schools of Theatre in formulating the guidelines for the accreditation of Musical Theatre programs nationwide. Fifty years later, graduates continue to work on Broadway and throughout the nation in such productions as Anastasia, Hamilton, Waitress, The Book of Mormon, Pippin, Wicked, Jersey Boys, Les Miserables, Kinky Boots, Big Fish, Newsies and The Lion King. During the 2017-18 season, CCM again took the No. 2 spot in Playbill Magazine’s list of “10 Most Represented Colleges on Broadway,” coming behind only New York University. CCM Musical Theatre is widely recognized for its “triple-threat” approach to training. Graduates represent CCM in national and international touring productions, in dinner theatres and theme parks, on cruise ships, on television, in talent agencies, and as producers and creative artists in every facet of the entertainment industry.

Tickets for CCM Musical Theatre’s Birthday Cabaret are on sale now! Tickets can be purchased in person at the CCM Box Office, over the telephone at 513-556-4183 or online through our e-Box Office. Complete event information is below.
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BIRTHDAY CABARET GUEST ARTISTS

Pamela Myers (BFA, 1969) made her Broadway debut as Marta in the original cast of Stephen Sondheim’s musical Company, introducing the show-stopping number “Another Hundred People.” She was nominated at the 1971 Tony awards for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical. Myers has appeared with Marvin Hamlisch and Jerry Herman on In Performance At The White House on PBS and guest starred on numerous TV shows. Myers has also guest starred with the Boston Pops, the Cincinnati Pops, and the Carnegie Hall Tribute to Judy Garland.

Faith PrinceFaith Prince (BFA, 1979) established herself as a Broadway star with her portrayal of Miss Adelaide in the much-acclaimed 1992 revival of Guys and Dolls, for which she won both the Tony and Drama Desk Awards as Best Actress in a Musical. In 2001, she was again nominated for Tony and Drama Desk Awards for her portrayal of Ella Peterson in the 2001 revival of Bells Are Ringing. She was also featured in the 2008 Broadway musical A Catered Affair, for which she received Tony and Drama Desk nominations.

Jan HorvathJan Horvath (BFA, 1980) was in the original Broadway company of Hal Prince’s The Phantom of the Opera. Broadway credits include The Threepenny OperaSweet CharityOliver! and Stardust. Internationally, she starred as Queen Isabella in the world premiere of Encounter 500 at La Sistina in Italy, and was featured in Bernstein’s Mass at the Vatican as part of the Jubilee Celebration. She made her Carnegie Hall debut singing in Bernstein’s Mass in 2002 and also appeared there with the New York Pops in “The Three Broadway Divas” concert.

Jessica HendyJessica Hendy (BFA, 1993) made her Broadway debut in the original cast of Cats in 1999. She has also performed in Aida and Amour on Broadway and in the national tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Regional credits include Next to Normal, The Great American Trailer Park Musical, Miss Saigon and The Gift of the Magi, among others. Hendy has also appeared as a guest soloist with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Long Beach Symphony Orchestra, Modesto Symphony, Grand Rapids Symphony and Kentucky Symphony Orchestra.

Scott CoulterScott Coulter (BFA, 1993), one of New York’s most honored vocalists, has received five Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs (MAC) Awards, five Bistro Awards and two Nightlight Awards for Outstanding Vocalist. He spent a record-setting eight months Feinstein’s at The Regency performing the revue 11 O’clock Numbers at 11 O’clock, which he also co-created, directed and musically arranged. Scott was director and star of A Christmas Carol: The Symphonic Concert in its world premiere with the Baltimore Symphony and reprised his performance in the Emmy-nominated PBS production.

Lisa HowardLisa Howard (BFA, 1997) has starred on Broadway in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, 9 to 5, the Tony Award-winning revival of South Pacific and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, for which she won a Drama Desk Award. She has performed in Spot-On Entertainment Co.’s “Broadway Today,” the Kaufman Center’s Broadway Close-up Series “Stephen Schwartz: Magic to Do” and William Finn’s “More Infinite Joy” and “Even More Infinite Joy” at Merkin Hall. She has sung with the Cincinnati Symphony and with Peter Nero and the Philly Pops.

Kristy CatesKristy Cates (BFA, 1999) made her Broadway debut in the original cast of Wicked, which won three Tony Awards, six Drama Desk Awards and the original cast album received a Grammy Award. Cates is perhaps best known for her role as Elphaba in Chicago’s production of Wicked. She also appeared in Princess Ida and in the Off-Broadway production of Boobs! The Musical. In 2016 she portrayed Ms. Basset in Broadway’s Finding Neverland. She most recently played the role of Grandma Josephine in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Liz PearceLiz Pearce (BFA, 2000) is an actor, singer and dancer who currently lives in New York City. She has performed on Broadway, at Radio City Music Hall, in London’s West End, in National and International tours and at countless regional theatres across the country. Her Broadway credits include roles in the original casts of Billy Elliot and Metropolis. She has also appeared in national tours of Little Shop of Horrors, Seussical, Chicago, Scooby Doo in Stage Fright and Jesus Christ Superstar.

Ashley BrownAshley Brown (BFA, 2004) originated the title role in Broadway’s Mary Poppins for which she received Outer Critics, Drama League and Drama Desk nominations for Best Actress. Brown starred as Mary Poppins in the musical’s national tour, where she received a 2010 Garland award for “Best Performance in a Musical.” Other Broadway credits include Belle in The Beauty and The Beast. She previously played Magnolia in Francesca Zembello’s Showboat at the Lyric Opera of Chicago and recently returned to star in the role of Laurey in Oklahoma.

Katie JohannigmanKatie Johannigman (BFA, 2012) began her career when she was only in the eighth grade by joining the national tour of Oliver!. Her other professional credits include Thoroughly Modern Millie, Pirates!, The Light in the Piazza, Anything Goes, Mary Poppins, Company, Cats and Chicago. Her work as a choreographer has appeared at the Connecticut Repertory Theatre, The Human Race Theatre and the Broadway Method Academy, where she served as Artistic Director. She is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Musical theatre at CCM.

Raven ThomasRaven Thomas (BFA, 2016) started her professional career in the performing arts shortly after graduating from CCM by joining the national tour of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton, which won 11 Tony Awards in 2016. Cincinnati audiences may recognize her from CCM’s 2015 Mainstage production of Carousel, where she played the role of Mrs. Mullin. Thomas also played the role of Pilar in CCM’s 2014 Mainstage production of Legally Blonde.
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PERFORMANCE TIME
6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018

Please note: Please note that the start time for CCM Musical Theatre’s 50th Anniversary Birthday Cabaret has changed due to a scheduling conflict with an FC Cincinnati game occurring in UC’s Nippert Stadium earlier in the day.

LOCATION
Patricia Corbett Theater, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

PURCHASING TICKETS
Tickets for CCM Musical Theatre’s Birthday Cabaret are $20 general, $15 non-UC students, and FREE for UC students with a valid ID.

Tickets can be purchased in person at the CCM Box Office, over the telephone at 513-556-4183 or online through our e-Box Office! Visit ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice for CCM Box Office hours and location.

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 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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Musical Theatre Birthday Cabaret Sponsors: J. Brett Offenberger & Douglas E. Duckett and Cincinnati Dreams Come True Inc.

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CCM’s ‘Oklahoma!’ Receives Four League of Cincinnati Theatres Awards

League of Cincinnati Theatres

CCM’s fall Mainstage production of the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Oklahoma! has earned four awards from the League of Cincinnati Theatres (LCT). Diana Lala, the show’s choreographer, as well as three student performers — John Riddle, Julia Johanos and Eric Huffman — were recognized for their contributions to the show.

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CCM Continues A Must-See Mainstage Season with ‘Oklahoma!’

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CCM presents an All-American classic as it continues its 2011-12 Mainstage Series with the production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!. Presented Nov. 17 through Nov. 20 at Corbett Auditorium, the musical features celebrated guest artist Pamela Myers, an original alumna of CCM’s Musical Theatre program.

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Learn More About Ohio’s Latest Center of Excellence

Last Thursday, Chancellor Eric D. Fingerhut announced that the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music had become Ohio’s latest Center of Excellence.

The Ohio Board of Regents has now launched their official site for the Center of Excellence in Music and Theatre Arts. You can learn more about this designation (and why CCM received it) here.

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Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor Eric Fingerhut names CCM an Ohio Center of Excellence. Photography by Lisa Ventre, UC Photographic Services.

CCM Named An Ohio Center of Excellence in Special Ceremonies This Evening

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A tradition of excellence dating back to 1867 was recognized tonight in special ceremonies led by Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor Eric D. Fingerhut. In an evening ceremony in the lobby of UC’s Patricia Corbett Theater, Chancellor Fingerhut, UC President Gregory H. Williams, CCM Interim Dean Frank Weinstock and distinguished alumna Pamela Myers (BFA, ‘69) as well as students, patrons, staff and faculty, gathered to recognize the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) as an Ohio Center of Excellence in Music and Theatre Arts. Ceremonies preceded this evening’s sold-out performance of Jonathan Larson’s Rent.

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CCM to be Recognized by Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor Fingerhut and University of Cincinnati President Williams

This Thursday, the Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor Eric D. Fingerhut, University of Cincinnati President Gregory Williams and other community leaders will gather at CCM Village for a very special ceremony, acknowledging CCM’s tradition of excellence.

Please check back with us this Friday for a full report on this celebratory announcement!

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