New York Times: WVXU and CCM Revive Rare Rod Serling Baseball Comedy

Rod Serling’s comedy about confusion between Russians and the Cincinnati Reds airs at 8 p.m. on March 25 on WVXU 91.7.

CCM and Cincinnati Public Radio station 91.7 WVXU have co-produced a long-lost baseball comedy by The Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling. Recently featured by the New York Times, the radio play titled O’Toole From Moscow airs on 91.7 WVXU at 8 p.m. this Wednesday, March 25, 2020

The New York Times describes the comedy as “a screwball romp, with a side of whimsy.” Read the full article.

O’Toole From Moscow is about confusion between Russians and the Cincinnati Reds at the height of the “Red Scare” over possible Communist infiltration of American institutions during the Cold War. Serling originally wrote the one-hour television play for NBC Matinee Theatre and it was only broadcast once on Dec. 12, 1955. The performance was not filmed or recorded.

O’Toole From Moscow was adapted for radio and produced by WVXU’s John Kiesewetter, who tracked down the original script with the help of Serling historians. He also met with Serling’s daughter, Anne, who is the program host and narrator on the radio play. CCM Acting students recorded the comedy, which was directed by CCM Professor Richard Hess, at Cincinnati Public Radio’s studio. Sammi Grant, a visiting master’s student from London’s Central School of Speech and Drama, tutored the cast so they would sound authentically Russian.

Hess hand-picked his lineup of eight student cast members for the radio play: Chandler Bates, Austin James Cleri, Matt Fox, Dustin Parsons, Jack Steiner, Frankie Chuter, Cameron Nalley and Lucas Prizant. The team also recruited Cincinnati Reds organist John Schutte, who provided the ballpark organ music for the broadcast. Read more about the making of this radio play on WVXU.

The “O’Toole From Moscow” team, from left: WVXU engineer Josh Elstro, Frankie Chuter, Matt Fox, Chandler Bates, director Richard Hess, Cameron Nalley, Jack Steiner, Austin James Cleri, Dustin Parsons, Sammi Grant and Lucas Prizant. Photo/John Kiesewetter

Long-time baseball fans will enjoy Serling’s script and hear references to some of baseball’s biggest stars of the 1950s including: Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berri, Stan Musial and Ted Kluszewski.

In O’Toole From Moscow a Russian consulate staffer named Mushnick is being sent back from New York to Moscow for re-education because of his high absences due to attending Brooklyn Dodgers games at Ebbets Field. So Mushnick and a muscular Russian security officer named Joseph Bishofsky hop a train and go as far west as their money will take them — to Cincinnati. Bishofsky panics in Cincinnati and goes to the Reds office to turn himself in, mistaking the baseball team for his Russian comrades. Mushnick bursts in to explain that Joseph – whom he calls “Joseph O’Toole” – is an outfielder wanting a tryout. The Reds give O’Toole a shot, and he ends up being a better slugger than Kluszewski – until the Russians find him.

Tune in to hear the O’Toole From Moscow broadcast on 91.7 WVXU at 8 p.m. this Wednesday, March 25. A live stream of the broadcast will also be available on the WVXU website.
CCM News CCMONSTAGE Faculty Fanfare Student Salutes

CCM Alumna Tamara Wilson Receives Glowing Reviews for Her Metropolitan Opera Debut

Soprano Tamara Wilson (BM Voice, 2004).

Soprano Tamara Wilson (BM Voice, 2004).

Soprano Tamara Wilson (BM Voice, 2004) recently made her Metropolitan Opera debut, singing the title role in the Met’s revival of Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida and leaving the critics gushing in the process!

In his review for the New York TimesZachary Woolfe writes, “Ms. Wilson’s voice is most arresting in the laserlike authority of her high notes, but she softens the steel for sensitive moments, as when she dreams of escape with Radames in the third act… Her voice blooms with her palpable involvement in her own story: Her singing is urgent, her physical performance restrained yet powerful.”

Writing for New York Classical Review George Grella observes, “With a combination of unerring pitch, exacting vibrato, careful dynamics and excellent phrasing, [Wilson] let the character of Verdi’s lines speak for themselves, rather than forcing her own vocal personality onto them. Her individual presence came through with a consistent, gripping intensity that was clear with every note.”

During her time at CCM, Wilson studied with Barbara Honn.

Below, watch a featurette on Opera Australia’s 2009 production of Aida, which also featured Wilson in the title role.

Learn more about the Metropolitan Opera’s current production of Aida by visitingwww.metopera.org/opera/aida-verdi-tickets.

Find a full list of Wilson’s upcoming engagements by visiting www.tamarawilsonsoprano.com.

CCM Alumni Applause CCM News

CCM Welcomes Acclaimed Director Emma Griffin to its Opera Faculty

Please join us in welcoming Emma Griffin to CCM’s Department of Opera! Photography by Heather Phelps-Lipton.

Please join us in welcoming Emma Griffin to CCM’s Department of Opera! Photography by Heather Phelps-Lipton.

CCM Dean Peter Landgren has announced the appointment of stage director Emma Griffin to the faculty of CCM’s Department of Opera. Griffin joins CCM as Assistant Professor of Music in Opera/Directing beginning in August of 2014.

Lauded by the New York Times for her “intelligent staging,” Griffin earned her BFA in Theatre from New York University in 1994 and has served as adjunct faculty in directing at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts since 1999.

She is the Artistic Director of the OBIE-award winning Salt Theater. Highlights with Salt include Stage Door where she was awarded a FringeNYC Excellence Award for Best Director, Rinne Groff’s Inky, The Cherry Orchard and Conquest of the Universe.

Griffin has also directed work at theaters such as Perseverance Theater, Geva Theater Center, Syracuse Stage, Southern Rep, Actor’s Express, Virginia Stage and Williamstown Theater Festival.

She is a frequent collaborator on new music and theater pieces, including Corey Dargel’s Removable Parts, which received an “Outstanding Performance Art Production” at the New York Innovative Theatre Awards and Thirteen Near Death Experiences; Susan Bernfield and Rachel Peters’ Stretch, a fantasia; and Phil Kline’s Out Cold & Zippo Songs at BAM’s Next Wave Festival.

Griffin’s opera credits include The Cunning Little Vixen and Wozzeck at the Opera Philadelphia/Curtis Opera Theater; I Capuleti e i Montecchi, The Rake’s Progress, Postcard from Morocco and The Magic Flute at Curtis Opera Theater; and Les Mamelles de Tirésias and The Cunning Little Vixen at Juilliard Opera. The New York Observer hailed her production of The Cunning Little Vixen as one of the “Top 10 Performances of 2013.”

Griffin is currently developing the performance piece Backstage Door with playwright Sybil Kempson and The Three Christs, a new work by composer Corey Dargel for the NEWSPEAK ensemble.

Learn more about CCM’s accomplished faculty by visiting ccm.uc.edu/about/villagenews/faculty.

CCM News Faculty Fanfare

CCM Opera Chair Robin Guarino Discusses Latest Projects with the ‘New York Times’

Ryan Howell, a 2013 graduate of CCM's Set Design program, in character in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Emma and Georgina Bloomberg Arms and Armor Court for Gotham Chamber Opera's new production of Monteverdi's 'Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda.' Photography courtesy of Robin Guarino.

Ryan Howell, a 2013 graduate of CCM’s Set Design program, in character in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Emma and Georgina Bloomberg Arms and Armor Court for Gotham Chamber Opera’s new production of Monteverdi’s ‘Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda.’ Photography courtesy of Robin Guarino.

The New York Times recently featured Gotham Chamber Opera‘s bold new double-bill production of Claudio Monteverdi’s Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda and Lembit Beecher’s I Have No Stories to Tell You, which is being staged at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York this week (Feb. 26 and 27).

Robin Guarino, CCM’s J. Ralph Corbett Distinguished Chair in Opera, directs both works and discusses the unique experience of staging operas in an art museum in the New York Times piece, which you can read online here.

Guarino’s cast for this highly anticipated double-bill production includes three CCM alumni: Craig Verm (MM, ’04), Sarah Tucker (MM, ’11) and Ryan Howell (MFA, ’13). You can learn more about this production by visiting www.gothamchamberopera.org.

CCM Alumni Applause CCM News Faculty Fanfare

CCM Celebrates German Composer Richard Wagner at 200 With Special Event Series

Film actor Richard Burton as composer Richard Wagner, from the 1983 Tony Palmer film 'Wagner.'

Film actor Richard Burton as composer Richard Wagner, from the 1983 Tony Palmer film ‘Wagner.’

CCM celebrates the 200th anniversary of composer Richard Wagner’s birth (May 22, 1813) with an unprecedented series of events this month. Beginning on Friday, Oct. 11, and running through Thursday, Oct. 24, CCM explores Wagner’s iconic work and enduring legacy with a series of guest lectures, film screenings and a concert performance by the CCM Philharmonia. Aside from the Oct. 12 Philharmonia performance, these events are free and open to the general public.

Richard Wagner was a 19th century German composer, theatre director, polemicist and conductor. He revolutionized opera through his concept of the Gesamtkunstwerk (“total work of art”), in which he combined the poetic, visual, musical and dramatic arts. His Gesamtkunstwerkalso greatly influenced many filmmakers, as detailed in the book Wagner and Cinema, co-edited by Jeongwon Joe, Associate Professor of Musicology at CCM, and Sander L. Gilman, Distinguished Professor of Germanic Studies at Emory University. According to Wagner and Cinema, early 20th century film critic W. Stephen Bush once declared, “Every man or woman in charge of the music of a moving picture theatre is, consciously or unconsciously, a disciple or follower of Richard Wagner.”

CCM’s bicentenary celebration opens at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 11, with a guest lecture by Anthony Tommasini, Chief Classical Music Critic for the New York Times. Other highlights include the CCM Philharmonia’s Oct. 12 concert, “Wagner – Redemption Through Love,” which features selections from Wagner’s operas to be performed with the cinematic images from Tony Palmer’s biographical film about Wagner, starring Richard Burton. CCM will also welcome film director Tony Palmer to campus for a discussion on his films on Thursday, Oct. 24.

To celebrate this towering figure of German Romanticism and the indelible impression he made on the cinematic arts, CCM will also present a series of free film screenings exploring Wagner’s life and legacy.

Please see individual listings below for additional information on the festival’s public events.

CCM News

CCM’s Resident Kurt Weill Expert Featured in New York Times

Railroads on Parade Program Cover

CCM’s resident Kurt Weill scholar, Associate Professor of Musicology bruce mcclung, was quoted in an Oct. 21 New York Times article on the discovery of a previously unknown recording of Weill’s “Railroads on Parade” composition from the 1939 World Fair.

Record collector Guy Walker discovered the recordings in 2007 and plans to release the music on CD this month, with liner notes by mcclung. Read the full New York Times article here.

CCM’s yearlong Kurt Weill Festival kicked-off earlier this month. You can learn more about that unprecedented series of events here.

CCM News Faculty Fanfare

CCM Welcomes Pianist, Conductor and Master Teacher Leon Fleisher for Residency

Master teacher Leon Fleisher. Photography by Koichi Miura.

Master teacher Leon Fleisher. Photography by Koichi Miura.

CCM welcomes internationally renowned conductor and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Chair of Piano Leon Fleisher for a residency in conjunction with our Conducting Beethoven Workshop this week.

Recipient of the 2007 Kennedy Center Honors and subject of the 2006 Oscar-nominated short documentary Two Hands: The Leon Fleisher Story, Fleisher is widely recognized as one of the world’s truly great artists.

Fleisher will lead master classes in UC’s Robert J. Werner Recital Hall from 10-11:30 a.m. this Saturday and from 2-4 p.m. this Sunday. Both sessions are open to the general public, but seating is limited.

CCM News

Composition Alum’s Work Wins Praise in the New York Times

CCM Composition alumnus Ethan Wickman (DMA, ’03) received a recent rave review in the New York Times for his CD Portals and Passages. “Mr. Wickman is a composer of facility and imagination,” writes the Times‘ Steve Smith, “the kind to whom both performers and audiences respond.” You can read Smith’s full review here.

Wickman’s album is available for purchase here.

CCM Alumni Applause