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 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 Horn Student Named 2017 Yamaha Young Performing Artist

CCM student Michelle Hembree is one of 10 winners of the 2017 Yamaha Young Performing Artists (YYPA) Competition. Hembree is a third-year undergraduate horn student who studies with CCM Winds and Percussion Department Chair Randy Gardner.

“Michelle Hembree is one of the most musically gifted and intellectually brilliant students I’ve had the privilege to teach during my long career,” says Gardner. “She is also an upbeat, friendly and enthusiastic person who is respected by and popular with her fellow students and faculty alike.”

As a winner of the competition, Hembree will receive an all-expense-paid trip to the YYPA Celebration Weekend June 24-27, 2017, which will take place during the Music for All Summer Symposium, to be held at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, from June 24-July 1, 2017. Winners will receive a once-in-a-lifetime performance opportunity in front of thousands, national press coverage and will participate in workshops designed to launch a professional music career.

Hembree will perform Eugene Bozza’s En Foret at Ball State this summer. As a Yamaha Young Performing Artist, Hembree will receive a professional recording of the performance, a professional photography session and services and support from Yamaha Artist Relations.

“I am excited to perform this summer,” says Hembree. “En Foret is a fun piece with a little bit of everything in it. This is a great opportunity to network and meet other musicians, as well as learn more about the performance and education industry.”

Hembree joins a distinguished company of more than 250 talented musicians who have been recognized since the program’s inception. CCM alumnus Austin Larson (BM Horn, 2012) became a Yamaha Young Performing Artist in 2011; he is now a member of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. Many winners have established successful music careers, both as performers and educators, including Ricardo Morales, principal clarinetist of the Philadelphia Orchestra; Alex Han, saxophonist with Marcus Miller; Otis Murphy, professor, Indiana University; Conrad Jones, principal trumpeter with the Indianapolis Symphony; and Aaron Parks, acclaimed jazz pianist.

“The YYPA Program is a significant opportunity for young musicians who are embarking on careers as professionals, and one of the most visible and distinctive ways that Yamaha offers valuable support for music education,” said John Wittmann, director of education and artist relations, Yamaha Artist Services Indianapolis. “We are pleased to honor Michelle at this pivotal stage in her career.”

For more information about the Yamaha Young Performing Artists Program, visit http://4wrd.it/YYPA.

About Michelle Hembree
Hembree has received numerous awards and accolades during the course of her young career. She is the CCM Kemp Horn scholar of her class and has won numerous awards including second place in the Three Arts Scholarship Competition, the CCM Undergraduate Instrumentalist Solo Contest, YoungArts Merit award, Meridian Symphony Solo Competition and Boise Philharmonic Youth Orchestra Solo Competition. She has participated in several ensembles including the Sarasota Music Festival, National Youth Orchestra of the U.S.A., Voksenasen Norwegian Summer Academy and Boise Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. In the spring of 2016, Hembree performed first horn on Schumann’s “Konzertstück for Four Horns” with Seven Hills Sinfonietta. Hembree has played with renowned artists including Valery Gergiev, Larry Rachleff, Joshua Bell and Nicholas McGean. Her previous teachers include Dr. David Saunders and Lawrence Johnson.

About Yamaha
Yamaha Corporation of America (YCA) is one of the largest subsidiaries of Yamaha Corporation, Japan and offers a full line of award-winning musical instruments, sound reinforcement, commercial installation and home entertainment products to the U.S. market. Products include: Yamaha acoustic, digital and hybrid pianos, portable keyboards, guitars, acoustic and electronic drums, band and orchestral instruments, marching percussion products, synthesizers, professional digital and analog audio equipment, Steinberg recording products and NEXO commercial audio products, as well as AV receivers, amplifiers, MusicCast wireless multiroom audio systems, Blu-ray/CD players, earphones, headphones, home-theater-in-a-box systems, sound bars and its exclusive line of Digital Sound Projectors. YCA markets innovative, finely crafted technology and entertainment products and musical instruments targeted to the hobbyist, education, worship, music, professional audio installation and consumer markets.

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Story by CCM graduate assistant Charlotte Kies

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Paulina Villarreal with fellow 2017 Lotte Lenya Competition prize winners and judges. Photo provided by the Kurt Weill Foundation.

CCM Alums and Students Win Awards in Lotte Lenya Competition

We are delighted to announce that three current and former CCM students won awards as finalists in the 2017 Lotte Lenya Competition. Sponsored by the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, the prestigious competition was held on Saturday, April 22, in Kilbourn Hall of the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York.

DMA Voice candidate Paulina Villarreal (MM Voice, 2015) won Third Prize, which includes a cash award of $10,000. Jasmin Habersham (AD Opera, 2015; MM Voice, 2013) and first-year voice masters student Lisa Marie Rogali each received prizes of $3000 as finalists in the competition.

Fourteen artists competed in the final round of the Lotte Lenya Competition. You can learn more about all of this year’s winners by visiting www.kwf.org.

The 14 finalists who competed in the 2017 Lotte Lenya Competition. Photo provided by the Kurt Weill Foundation.

The 14 finalists who competed in the 2017 Lotte Lenya Competition. Photo provided by the Kurt Weill Foundation.

Villarreal, Habersham and Rogali are the latest in a long line of CCM students and alumni who have reached the final rounds of the Lotte Lenya Competition. CCM alumna Talya Lieberman (AD Opera, 2016) took Third Prize in the 2016 installment of this prestigious international theatre singing contest. CCM alumna Lauren Roesner (BFA Musical Theatre, 2013) won Third Prize in 2013 and alumna Caitlin Mathes (MM Voice, 2009; AD Opera, 2010) won First Prize in 2011.

For this year’s competition, each finalist presented four selections from the operatic, Golden Age, contemporary musical theatre repertoires and the music of Kurt Weill to compete for prizes totaling more than $75,000.

The panel of judges included renowned stage director Anne Bogart, Tony Award-winning actor Shuler Hensley and returning judge Rob Berman, who was most recently seen on Broadway as music director for Bright Star and Dames at Sea.

Over the last 20 years, the Lotte Lenya Competition has grown from a small contest exclusively for students of the Eastman School of Music, to one of the widest-reaching international vocal competitions. Past prize winners have gone on to appear on major theater, opera and concert stages around the world. This season, LLC laureates can be seen in seven Broadway shows, at the Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera House, Komische Oper, in concert with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, on national and international theatrical tours and heard on two Grammy Award-winning recordings.

About the Kurt Weill Foundation
The Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, Inc. is dedicated to promoting understanding of the life and works of composer Kurt Weill (1900-50) and preserving the legacies of Weill and his wife, actress-singer Lotte Lenya (1898-1981). The Foundation administers the Weill-Lenya Research Center, a Grant Program, the Kurt Weill Book Prize and the Lotte Lenya Competition, and publishes the Kurt Weill Edition and the Kurt Weill Newsletter. Learn more by visiting www.kwf.org.

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Alums and Students in #TheatreCompany Premiere Short Film Starring Diane Kvapil

For the past two years, alumni and students from UC’s College-Conservatory of Music have worked to write and produce a new short film starring one of Cincinnati’s most beloved artists, Emeritus Professor Diane Kvapil. Presented by the #TheatreCompany, A Thankless Child premieres on Thursday, April 27, at UC’s MainStreet Cinema in the Tangeman University Center.

A Thankless Child is the story of a family haunted by a huge secret and the victims left in its wake. It is an absurdist take on the burdens and responsibilities of being a part of a family. This film was made possible by the generous contributions to the #thedianemovie crowd-funding campaign and CCMpower.

The film gives Kvapil an opportunity to get back in front of the arts community that she has fostered and loved for more than 40 years. Locally, Kvapil has performed at Playhouse in the Park, Edgecliffe Theatre and the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company in numerous productions since 1957. She was a treasured CCM Acting faculty member from 1977 until her retirement in 2015.

At CCM, Kvapil directed productions of Trojan Women (with original music by Richard Oberacker), Our Town, Three Sisters (Acclaim Award winner for Outstanding Ensemble) and Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia. In 2011 she was named Outstanding Theatre Educator by the ACCLAIM Awards in Cincinnati.

Diane Kvapil throughout her years in the performing arts.

A sample of Diane Kvapil’s work throughout her years in the performing arts.

“Diane is the definition of a passionate life-long artist and educator,” says #TheatreCompany co-founder AC Horton (BFA Acting, 2015). “She is moved by her immense love of the work and storytelling and her dedication to passing that love on to her students.”

The idea for A Thankless Child started with a joke made by CCM Acting student Katie Langham during a performance at Kvapil’s home in March 2015.

“The energy was palpable,” remembers Langham, co-founder of #TheatreCompany. “Just a moment in her home and you can feel the stories around you. I asked Diane if she would be open to making a short film in the home upon her retirement. Thinking that it was never going to happen, she half-jokingly said ‘yes.’ Unfortunately for her, I never half-joke.”

At the time, Langham and AC Horton were working with fellow students and alumni in the #TheatreCompany, a new company of young theatre professionals dedicated to creating honest, exciting and contemporary work. The company was born at CCM when Horton used #TheatreCompany to refer to the one-night-only shows she directed in classrooms. The company grew to produce an original piece, The Gospel of Fat Kathy, which was performed in New York City.

Langham, Horton and John Patrick Maddock (BFA Acting, 2014) wrote the script for A Thankless Child as they worked on The Gospel of Fat Kathy in New York. The entire cast, crew and creative team for A Thankless Child is made of former and current students from CCM’s Acting, Theatre Design and Production, E-Media and Commercial Music Production programs.

“When Katie first asked me to do it, I almost said no,” Horton recalls. “The idea was absolutely terrifying. But, I agreed that if she could get Diane to do it, I would do it. One thing I learned during my time at CCM is that you have to follow the fear.”

Kate Wilford in "A Thankless Child."

Kate Wilford in “A Thankless Child.”

Horton directs the film, which stars Kvapil and her daughter, Kate Wilford. It marks the first time the mother-daughter duo have acted together. Langham plays Kvapil’s estranged granddaughter and serves as the film’s Executive Producer.

“I would not have had the courage or faith in myself to lead a project of this size without the lessons taught to me by my CCM professors, specifically Richard Hess,” Langham says. “He has taught me how to find the heart of a project and how to be fearless and generous every step of the way. Without CCM I would not be the ‘woman in art’ I am today.”

“Working on this film has been an incredible, life-changing learning experience,” Langham says. “Not only did I get to act alongside my mentor, teacher and very good friend Diane Kvapil, but I worked with a crew that was gifted, patient and eager to be in the room.”

A Thankless Child premieres at 7:15 p.m. on Thursday, April 27 at UC’s MainStreet Cinema in the Tangeman University Center. The UC Alumni Association will host a reception with light snacks and refreshments at 6:30 p.m.

The reception and premiere are free; please RSVP online at alumni.uc.edu/ccm/thedianemovie.

PRODUCTION TEAM
Director/Writer – AC Horton (BFA Acting, 2015)
Executive Producer/Writer/Maddie Steele – Katie Langham* (CCM Acting)
Writer/Producer/Andy Steele – John Patrick Maddock (BFA Acting, 2014)
Genevieve Clark – Diane Kvapil
Cynthia Steele – Kate Wilford
V.O. David Steele – D’Arcy Smith, CCM Acting professor
Director of Photography – Zacharias Muller (BFA E-Media, 2015)
Camera 2 – Asa Featherstone IV (BA Communications, E-Media Minor, 2016)
Script Supervisor/Assistant Director – Danielle Kokochak* (E-Media Minor)
Lighting Designer – Josh Davenport (CCM Theatre Design and Production, 2014-2014)
Set Design/Props – Logan Greenwell* (CCM Theatre Design and Production)
Hair & Make-up – Danae Jimenez* (CCM Theatre Design and Production)
Production Assistant – Jacob Berry* (CCM E-Media)
Production Assistant – Clare Bradley Combest* (CCM Acting)
Audio Engineer – Haley Wolf (BFA E-Media, 2015)
Audio Engineer – Lauren Osinski (BFA E-Media, 2016)
Artistic Mentor – Shaun S. Sutton (BFA Acting, 2014)

POST PRODUCTION TEAM
Soundtrack – Jennifer Rowecamp (BFA Commercial Music Production, 2016)
Editor – Bradley Theodore Thompson* (CCM E-Media)
Editor – Sam Medert (BFA E-Media, 2016)
Audio Editor – Lindsey Singleton Ballou* (CCM E-Media)

*CCM student

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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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Preparatory Ballet Concert. Photography by Kyuran Ann Choe.

CCM Preparatory Presents the Spring Youth Ballet Concert

CCM Preparatory students perform traditional and contemporary works at the annual Spring Youth Ballet Concert. Directed by Jonnie Lynn Jacobs-Percer, the ballet concert is at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 28, and Saturday, April 29, in CCM’s Patricia Corbett Theater.

The program features a partially restaged performance of Act III of Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty, with choreography by Marius Petipa and restaging by CCM Prep Ballet faculty.

Other highlights include three works performed and choreographed by graduating high school seniors in the CCM Prep Ballet program.

The CCM Prep Youth Ballet program is open to any dancer ages 9-18. “Our goal is to expose our young dancers to many of the classic ballets, which helps develop their performance skills and ballet technique,” said Jacobs-Percer, who teaches in CCM’s collegiate Dance Department and serves as the ballet director in CCM Prep.

For more information about CCM Prep Dance, visit ccm.uc.edu/prep/dance.

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Performance Times
7:30 p.m. Friday, April 28
7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 29

Location
Patricia Corbett Theater, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

Purchasing Tickets
Tickets to CCM Prep’s Spring Youth Ballet Concert are $15 general, $10 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 now 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 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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Story by CCM graduate student Alexandra Doyle

Photography by Kyuran Ann Choe

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