Kenyatta University Cultural Exchange.

Experience the Cultural Exchange: CCM Drama Welcomes Guests from Kenyatta University

On Saturday, Oct. 31, six students and one faculty member from Kenyatta University will make the journey to Cincinnati to take part in CCM’s second-annual 48-Hour Film Festival.

Jean Akinyi, David Babu, Eric Mwangi, Kelvinson Muriithi Mwangi, Christine Njeri, Austin Opata and Professor Zippy Okoth will spend the following week in Cincinnati, attending classes at UC and experiencing the culture of the area, before participating in the film festival from Nov. 6-8.

You can keep up with their experiences by visiting CCM Drama Chair Richard Hess‘ blog at

In 2011, Hess brought eight current and former CCM Drama students to Kenya to take part in the Dadaab Theatre Project on World Refugee Day. He returned to Kenya in 2014 as a Fulbright Scholar and spent a semester teaching and conducting research at Kenyatta University’s Department of Theatre Arts and Film Technology.

For the second installment of CCM’s 48-Hour Film Festival, Hess wanted to expose students to these same kinds of life-changing creative experiences. “The integration of our cultures and artistic viewpoints will challenge prejudices and assumptions, enlarging the world-views and possibilities of each participant,” says Hess. “Adding a Kenyan artist to each creative team is a meaningful way to affect every student in the CCM Film Festival.”

The general public is invited to the festival’s screening party at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 8. Films will be screened in UC’s MainStreet Cinema in the Tangeman University Center.

Dates and Times

  • Festival: 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6, through 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 8
  • Public Screening: 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 8

Screening Location
MainStreet Cinema, Tangeman University Center
University of Cincinnati

Admissions to Screening
The 48-Hour Film Festival’s screening party is free and open to the general public. Reservations are not required.

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 for more information on parking rates.

For detailed maps and directions, please visit Additional parking is available off-campus at the new U Square complex on Calhoun Street and other neighboring lots.

CCM Season Presenting Sponsor and Musical Theatre Program Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation

Community Partner: ArtsWave

The Kenyatta University 2015 Exchange Program has been made possible by the A.B., Dolly, Ralph and Julia Cohen Family Foundation, and Neil R. Artman and Margaret L. Straub.

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James Franco, co-producer of the new film 'Goat,' currently filming in Cincinnati.

CCM Drama Students and Faculty Cast in James Franco Produced Feature Film ‘Goat’

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We are thrilled to report that four current students and one faculty member from CCM’s Department of Drama have been cast in Goat, a feature film currently shooting in Cincinnati. The Andrew Neel directed film stars Virginia Gardner, Nick Jonas and Ben Schnetzer.

James Franco, Christine Vachon, David Hinojosa, Pamela Koffler, Vince Jolivette and David Gordon Green produce in association with Killer Films and Rabbit Bandini Productions.

Goat is the story of two brothers, the younger of whom, after he suffers an assault that leaves him physically and mentally wounded, pledges the same fraternity as his brother.

CCM Drama adjunct faculty member Denise Dal Vera will play the mother of Nick Jonas. Current students Clare Combest and Annie Grove booked speaking roles, and Ryan Garrett and Spencer Lackey booked recurring extra roles in the fraternity.

Casting Director d. Lynn Meyers teaches audition techniques for students in CCM Drama, and helped the four Class of 2017 students be seen for the film. “They did great,” remarked Meyers, who also serves as the Producing Artistic Director of Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati.

CCM Drama embarked on a new film initiative this year, adding film experiences to the curriculum. All Drama students will participate in an annual 48-Hour Film Festival, and the department will produce its first co-produced film with CCM E-Media next year. You can learn more about that new collaboration here.

“CCM Drama students are in demand for film and television roles nationally, and we’re excited to see that trend continue in Cincinnati,” says CCM’s A.B., Dolly, Ralph and Julia Cohen Chair of Dramatic Performance Richard E. Hess.

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CCM Professor Kevin Burke and members of the 2014 UC Gold Rush documentary team. Photo by Kaori Funahashi.

Next Installment of Student-Produced ‘Gold Rush Expedition Race’ Film Series to Premiere at the Esquire Theatre on April 28

The 2014 installment of the University of Cincinnati‘s student-produced Gold Rush Expedition Race documentary film series will receive a special premiere screening at Cincinnati’s Esquire Theatre at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 28. Hosted by the University of Cincinnati Production Master Class, this screening is free and open to the entire UC community.

The event is sponsored and supported by the UC Forward Initiative, the Office of the President, CCM’s Division of Electronic Media (CCM E-Media), McMicken College’s Center for Film and Media Studies and the UC Alumni Association.

Join us at Cincinnati's Esquire Theatre on April 28 for a premiere screening of the 2014 'Gold Rush Expedition Race' documentary film.

Join us at Cincinnati’s Esquire Theatre on April 28 for a premiere screening of the 2014 ‘Gold Rush Expedition Race’ documentary film.

The 2014 Gold Rush Expedition Race documentary will have its national broadcast premiere on NBC’s Universal Sports Network on May 27, 2015. The documentary program will air 10 times on USN. The cable network aired the 2012 and 2013 installments of this action-packed documentary series last October. You can learn more about those initial broadcasts by visiting

Educationally grounded, professionally driven and student produced, the UC Production Master Class has been transforming the college classroom since its inception in 2012, bringing together an interdisciplinary group of UC students and faculty who are working with nationally-recognized digital media professionals to produce a documentary film series that is currently airing on national television.

To date, this course has involved three UC professors, a UC alumnus, a cadre of film professionals and over 90 UC students from nine different academic programs at CCM, DAAP and the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences.

This group has fused its skills on the production of a three-year, 90-minute documentary film series about the Gold Rush Expedition Race, one of the world’s premier expedition races that features an international field of 50 elite athletes trekking, mountain biking, climbing and kayaking along a grueling 275-mile course amidst the beauty of California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains. The race is part of the Adventure Racing World Series.

The Production Master Class was the idea of CCM Professor of Electronic Media Kevin Burke and distinguished UC Alumnus and Emmy award-winning producer, Brian J. Leitten. The initiative was originally made possible by a three-year grant from the University of Cincinnati’s UC Forward Collaborative, which supports experiential learning and is part of the UC Academic Master Plan.

The Production Master Class was designed to create a transformative “hands-on” experience for the students by taking them out of the classroom and into the field to produce a documentary film series that could be distributed to a national television audience. “The idea was to totally re-invent the college classroom,” notes UC President Santa J. Ono, PhD, “focusing interdisciplinary teams of faculty and students on real world projects.”

Over the past three years, the Production Master Class has brought dozens of UC students to California to work alongside educators and a select crew of film and media professionals. The interaction with professional mentors and students from different disciplines enhances experiential learning and prepares the students for professional careers in the television and film industry. Both Burke and Leitten serve as Executive Producers, advising the project and providing professional guidance and feedback to the students during all phases of the documentary’s development.

Students take on the roles of supervising producers, story producers, editors, scriptwriters, music supervisors and narrators. Leitten joins Burke for each class session via social media applications from New York, where he serves as the Director of Production at the internet media entertainment giant,

The Production Master Course is also taught by DAAP Associate Professor of Graphic Communication Design Yoshiko Burke, whose students create all motion graphic design and animation content. CCM Assistant Professor of Electronic Media Lorin Parker provides professional guidance and expertise to those students who create the audio mix and sound design for the documentary. At each stage of the project, the students are held to the standards and expectations of professionals in the discipline, providing them with invaluable industry experience.

The Production Master Course has resulted in both academic and professional recognition in peer-reviewed competitions and film festivals. The 2012 Gold Rush Expedition Race documentary was selected from over 1,300 global entries for the Best of Festival Award in the 2014 Broadcast Education Association Film Festival, capturing its highest honor of the Festival, the prestigious Chairman Award. The film went on to win professional recognition with two bronze Telly Awards, and most recently, the student design team was recognized with a Silver Award at the prestigious Graphis New Talent Annual 2015 for their work on the 2013 Gold Rush Expedition Race documentary.

In August 2015, the 2013 Gold Rush Expedition Race film will screen at the University Film and Video Association conference in Washington, D.C.

Screening Time
7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 28

Esquire Theatre
320 Ludlow Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45220

Admission to the premiere screening of the 2014 Gold Rush Expedition Race is free. Reservations are not required. Learn more about the screening by visiting

Parking and Directions
The Esquire Theatre is located in Clifton’s Gaslight District, just a short drive from UC’s campus. The theatre  validates tickets for moviegoers for two hours of parking in the “Merchant Lot” on Howell, located one block from Ludlow Avenue (a side street off Clifton Avenue, behind the former IGA Grocery Store). Howell Avenue is parallel to Ludlow Ave. On street parking is also often available on or near Ludlow Avenue.

Everyone is welcome to use the Valet Parking available in front of La Poste Eatery on Telford St. (just around the corner from the Esquire, off Ludlow). This valet service costs $7.00 and is available Mon. – Sat., from 5-10 pm.

For more information on parking and directions, please visit

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CCM Students and Alumnae Advance to Semifinals of the 2015 Lotte Lenya Competition

We are delighted to report that four current and former CCM students have advanced to the semifinal round of the 2015 Lotte Lenya Competition! Those include Artist Diploma candidate Jasmine Habersham (also MM Voice, 2013), Artist Diploma candidate Talya Lieberman, first-year DMA candidate Reilly Nelson (also MM Voice, 2014) and alumna Christine Cornish Smith (BFA Musical Theatre, 2013).

This impressive showing gives CCM more semi-finalists than any other school in the 2015 competition!

Habersham, Lieberman, Nelson and Smith will join 24 other singer-actors from the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom to compete in the Lotte Lenya Competition Semifinals on March 13 and 14 in New York City.

A program of the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music 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.

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.

The competition grants over $50,000 in prizes each year, and previous winners have gone on to forge prominent careers in opera houses and on Broadway. More information can be found at

About Jasmine Habersham
Jasmine Habersham returns to the Glimmerglass Festival this summer as Papagena in The Magic Flute. A member of the Glimmerglass Young Artist program in 2014, she also received the Central City Opera Guild Young Artist Award the previous year. The soprano holds a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from CCCM where she has appeared as Norina in Don Pasquale, Mrs. Julian in Owen Wingrave and Pearl in Ricky Ian Gordon’s Morning Star. The Georgian is a graduate of Shorter University with a Bachelor of Music degree and is currently working toward her Artist Diploma at CCM.

About Talya Lieberman
An alumna of San Francisco’s 2014 Merola Opera Program, Talya Lieberman returns this spring to the San Francisco Opera Center to make her debut as part of the Schwabacher Debut Recital series. This summer she will perform Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro at Wolf Trap Opera. While pursuing her Artist Diploma at CCM, the Italo Tajo Award recipient performed Gretel in Hansel and Gretel. She anticipates her first professional opera engagement in 2016 when she will perform Musetta in La bohème at Opera Columbus. In addition to her vocal studies, Lieberman completed a Master of Music degree in Trumpet Performance at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and a Bachelor of Arts degree with Highest Distinction in Linguistics at Duke University. Born in New York, Talya now calls Ohio home.

About Reilly Nelson
Born in the coastal town of Sault Ste. Marie in Ontario, Canada, Reilly Nelson attended the Eastman School of Music where she received a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and CCM where she completed a Master of Music in Vocal Performance. At CCM she performed Hansel in Hansel and Gretel and Mary in Ricky Ian Gordon’s Morning Star. She also performed Hansel, as well as Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro at Janiec Opera Company at the Brevard Music Center. The mezzo-soprano was a vocal fellow at Tanglewood in summers 2013 and 2014, performing Les nuits d’été, Op. 7 and Folk Songs by Bernard Rands.

About Christine Cornish Smith
A graduate of CCM with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Music Theater, Christine performed Polly Peachum in CCM’s Mainstage Series production of The Threepenny Opera, which was part of a year-long Kurt Weill Festival on campus. She also performed the Stepmother and covered the Witch in Into the Woods, and appeared in Oklahoma! and Anything Goes. Upon graduation, she performed Reuben’s Wife in the National Tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. She is currently performing in Guys and Dolls at the Goodspeed Opera House (CT). The soprano made her Lyric Opera of Chicago debut in the Ensemble of Oklahoma! In her native Texas, she made her Lyric Stage debut as Cutie in Fiorello! and performed as a Hot Box Girl in Guys and Dolls at Water Tower Theatre. She has also performed as principal dancer with the Dallas Metropolitan Ballet. She was a recipient of an Emerging Talent Award in the 2014 Lotte Lenya Competition.

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CCM Dance Student Choreographer's Showcase rehearsal photos by Adam Zeek.

CCM’s Department of Dance Presents Nine Student-Created Original Works March 11-14

Photography by Mark Lyons.

Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM’s Department of Dance proudly presents its annual Dance Student Choreographers’ Showcase from March 11 – 14 in UC’s intimate Cohen Family Studio Theater. Dance Department faculty members Deirdre Carberry and Andre Megerdichian direct this exciting production. Admission is free, but reservations are required.

This year’s production will feature pieces by eight undergraduate women: Emily Chu, Katie Norton-Bliss, Scarlett Rustemeyer, Christine Settembrino and Katelyn Somers, along with a work by guest choreographer Tian Tian.

Senior Katie Norton-Bliss will debut her 10-minute piece,“Po$t $omething.” Her  piece was inspired by the similarities between trends found in pop culture and in dance. “Trends run the pop culture world, and often they are updates of older styles… Trends come and go in the dance world, but we don’t usually refer to them as trend. Instead, we consider them to be genres of dance. For example, there was modern dance followed by post modern dance. This makes it harder and harder for styles of choreography to be defined,” she explains.

Norton-Bliss describes her choreographic style as an amalgamation of many different influences. Her movements are inspired by “ballet, contemporary ballet, modern, contemporary, hip hop, and even current dance trends like the Schmoney dance or classics like the moon walk.” She also generates a good deal of her choreography through improvisation. Her piece will feature three different songs: “Gooo” by TNGHT, “Dawn in Luxor” by Shabbaz Palaces and a remix of “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus. Additionally, she will be mixing in audio from a YouTube video called “Making Dances: Seven Post Modern Choreographers.”

Senior Emily Chu discusses her 13-year-old sister as inspiration for her currently untitled piece. Chu says she has always tried to be a role model for her sister and has made sure that her sister is exposed to a variety of strong women. And “it’s worked,” says Chu. “She dressed up as Amelia Erhart for Halloween.” Other women that will be represented in Chu’s choreography include Joan of Arc and Gertrude Etterly, the first woman to swim the English channel.

Chu’s approximately 10-minute long contemporary ballet piece will feature eight talented female dancers, not on pointe. They will perform to a mix of strings and an electronic song called “See the Sea Red” by Vitalic.

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All of the pieces this year represent a huge diversity of styles and are a compliment to the broad range of experiences and teachings available to CCM’s dance students.

Performance Times

  • 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 11
  • 8 p.m. Thursday, March 12
  • 8 p.m. Friday, March 13
  • 2 p.m. Saturday, March 14

Cohen Family Studio Theater, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

Reserving Tickets
Admission to the Dance Student Choreographer’s Showcase is free, but reservations are required. Please visit the CCM Box Office or call 513-556-4183 to reserve. Limit two tickets per order.

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 for more information on parking rates.

For detailed maps and directions, please visit 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 Season Presenting Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation

Community Partner: ArtsWave

The Dance Department gratefully acknowledges the support of the Corbett Foundation at CCM.

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CityBeat Best of Cincinnati 2015 Poster.

Vote for CCM in CityBeat’s Annual “Best of Cincinnati” Readers Survey

CityBeat Best of Cincinnati graphic.

Click here to place your vote!

The polls are currently open for CityBeat’s 19th Annual Best of Cincinnati® Readers Survey and we are delighted to report that CCM has been nominated in several areas!

Within the Arts & Nightlife category, CCM has been nominated as Best Local Theatre Company.

Our string quartet-in-residence – the Ariel Quartet – has been nominated in for Best Local Classical Music Group.

Another ensemble-in-residence at CCM – the Cincinnati Children’s Choir – is up for Best Local Vocal Arts Group.

Several CCM faculty members have also received nods for Best Local Musician.

Within the Urban Life category, the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music has also been nominated as Best College/University.

Your votes count! Show your support for all of CCM’s Best of Cincinnati® nominees by visiting and casting your ballot today!

Voting ends at midnight on Tuesday Feb. 10. Look for results in the April 1 issue of CityBeat!

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Thanks to YOU For Making This Year’s MOVEABLE FEAST So Successful!

CCM's Moveable Feast benefit event returns on Friday, Jan. 23, 2015.

CCM’s Moveable Feast benefit event returns on Friday, Jan. 23, 2015.

To the sponsors, partners, Friends of CCM Members, volunteers, faculty members, student artists, staff, event attendees and everyone else responsible for making this year’s Moveable Feast such an overwhelming success: THANK YOU!

  • Check out Cincinnati Refined‘s coverage of the evening here.
  • Check out the Cincinnati Enquirer‘s coverage of the evening here.
  • Check out the News Record‘s coverage of the evening here.

It was a night to remember – thank you for sharing it with us!

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