Playbill Streams Broadway’s ‘Bandstand’ Musical Film on April 10

Playbill will stream the 2017 Broadway musical Bandstand, written by CCM Acting alumnus Richard Oberacker (BFA, ’93) and Robert Taylor, beginning tonight, April 10, 2020. The Tony Award-winning musical tells the story of World War II veteran Donny Novitski, who forms a band with fellow veterans and enters a national contest to become America’s newest musical sensation.

Richard Oberacker with CCM Acting Professor Richard Hess at a preview performance of “Bandstand” on Broadway.

The first Playbill Playback, a new series in which old and recent favorite musicals can be streamed on Playbill.com, Bandstand will be streamed for the first time at 8 p.m. on April 10 and will be available through April 17. A portion of the proceeds raised with the stream will go to The Actors Fund.

The Bandstand stream will also feature an interview with co-stars Laura Osnes, Corey Cott and Beth Leavel as well as director-choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler and co-creators Oberacker and Taylor.

In addition to Oberacker, alumni from across CCM are involved in this award-winning musical. Geoff Packard (BFA Musical Theatre, ’04) plays Wayne Wright, a trombonist in the veteran band; Max Clayton (BFA Musical Theatre, ’14) is in the ensemble; Greg Anthony Rassen (MM Orchestral Conducting, ’03) is the co-orchestrator, music supervisor and music arranger; and David Kreppel (BFA Musical Theatre, ’92) is the vocal music arranger.

Bandstand was the first theatrical production in history to be certified authentic by Got Your 6, an organization that advocates for authentic portrayal of the military across entertainment.

Learn more about the Bandstand stream on Playbill.

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CCM Acting Class of 2020 Presents Virtual Senior Showcase

Watch a collection of five scenes showcasing the talents of CCM Acting’s Class of 2020

The Acting Department at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM Acting) proudly presents its first Virtual Senior Showcase. Although the COVID-19 novel coronavirus prevented CCM Acting from holding its customary Senior Showcases for agents and casting directors in New York and Los Angeles this spring, the program’s new Virtual Senior Showcase allows industry insiders and the general public to see this year’s seniors in action.

The video showcase includes five scenes showcasing the talents of CCM Acting’s Class of 2020. Directed by Professor D’Arcy Smith, the A.B., Dolly, Ralph and Julia Cohen Chair in Acting at CCM, the showcase features students performing excerpts from TV programs, films and plays including “227,” “Pretty Little Liars,” “Pysch” and “Embers” along with an excerpt of “My So-Called Gay Life” written by CCM Acting student Abby Palen. A collaboration with CCM’s Electronic Media program, the CCM Acting Virtual Senior Showcase features the work of E-Media majors Caleb Smiley and Carlos Herriott II. Viewer discretion is advised; this video features strong language and mature content.

“Although we’ve transitioned to remote operations, we remain committed to our ongoing academic and artistic missions,” says Smith. “Our senior Acting students have put in countless hours preparing for their industry debuts in this year’s Senior Showcase and they deserve to have their time in the spotlight. They should be very proud of everything that they have accomplished, and we are happy to present this video snapshot of their talent for the entire world to enjoy.”

Get to know the graduating seniors by reading their professional summaries!

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CCM Voice Student Advances to Lotte Lenya Competition finals

CCM is delighted to announce that first-year artist diploma student Teresa Perrotta (MM Voice, ’19) reached the finals of the Lotte Lenya Competition, one of the most prestigious vocal competitions for young artists.

Composer John Corigliano and Teresa Perrotta at the French premiere of “The Ghosts of Versailles.” Photo/Gail Luna

A rising soprano, Perrotta won the Seybold-Russell Award at CCM’s 2019 Opera Scholarship Competition and advanced to the Upper Midwest Regional Auditions in this year’s Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. In December 2019, she made her international debut as Marie Antoinette in the French premiere of John Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles at the Château de Versailles Royal Opera. She studies with CCM Voice Professor Gwendolyn Coleman.

Perrotta is one of 12 finalists in the 2020 Lotte Lenya Competition. These finalists were selected out of 282 applicants from 24 states after a preliminary video round and a semi-finals round in New York City. The finals were initially scheduled for May 2 at the Eastman School of Music, but the Kurt Weill Foundation, which holds the competition, is exploring other options in light of the current global health crisis.

Teresa Perrotta. Photo/Caitlin and Kevin Photography

Teresa Perrotta. Photo/Caitlin and Kevin Photography

CCM is often well-represented at the Lotte Lenya Competition. In 2017, Paulina Villarreal (DMA Voice, ‘18; MM Voice, ’15) won third prize, while Jasmin Habersham (AD Opera, ‘15; MM Voice, ‘13) and Lisa Marie Rogali (MM Voice, ’18) each received prizes of $3000. Talya Lieberman (AD Opera, ‘16) took Third Prize in the 2016 installment of this prestigious international theatre singing contest, while Lauren Roesner (BFA Musical Theatre, ‘13) won Third Prize in 2013 and alumna Caitlin Mathes (AD Opera, ’10, MM Voice, ‘09) won First Prize in 2011.

About the Lotte Lenya Competition

More than a vocal competition, the Lotte Lenya Competition recognizes talented young singer/actors who are dramatically and musically convincing in repertoire ranging from opera/operetta to contemporary Broadway scores, with a focus on the works of Kurt Weill. Since its inception in 1998, the Lotte Lenya Competition has grown into an internationally recognized leader in identifying and nurturing the next generation of “total-package performers” (Opera News) and rising stars in both the opera and musical theater worlds. The roster of prizewinners has likewise grown to over 100, many of whom have gone on to major performing careers. Visit kwf.org for more information about the Kurt Weill Foundation or the Lotte Lenya Competition.


Story by CCM Graduate Student Alexandra Doyle

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CCM Named ‘Best of Cincinnati’ by CityBeat Readers and Staff

Three productions with CCM connections were voted “Best of Cincinnati” by CityBeat readers and staff. CityBeat’s Best of Cincinnati 2020 issue is available online now!

CCMONSTAGE Play Series presented “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” in October 2019. Photo/Richard Hess

CCM’s production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time won “Best Play (Student/Community)” in the magazine’s readers poll. Directed by CCM Acting Professor Richard E. Hess, the play was presented in October as part of the CCMONSTAGE Play Series.

Blind Injustice, CCM’s co-production with Cincinnati Opera and UC College of Law’s Ohio Innocence Project, received a special Best of Cincinnati staff pick award as “Best World Premiere Opera to Open Your Eyes.” Directed by CCM Opera Professor Robin Guarino, the opera featured stories of six wrongly incarcerated people who were aided by the OIP.

Blind Injustice, CCM’s co-production with Cincinnati Opera and the Ohio Innocence Project, was presented in July 2019 at Music Hall’s Wilks Studio. Photo/Philip Groshong

CityBeat staff wrote: “Robin Guarino’s terrific staging of the sold-out series of shows in the Wilks Studio in Music Hall in July 2019 drew excellent performances from a gifted cast that included members of Cincinnati’s Young Professionals Choral Collaborative. The five performances sold out months in advance, as did a free presentation at Allen Temple A.M.E. Church in Bond Hill. Blind Injustice is proof positive that opera can bear powerful witness to the social issues of our time, as well as to the strength of the human spirit in the face of mindless injustice. May it be seen again and again and again, here and throughout the country.”

CCM students self-produced “The Flick” at Clifton’s Esquire movie theater in July 2019. Photo/Ella Eggold

CityBeat staff also recognized CCM students who produced and acted in a unique presentation of The Flick, a Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Annie Baker, at Clifton’s Esquire movie theater. The production was dubbed “Best Play Held in an Unconventional Setting.” CCM Acting alumni and current students Ella Eggold, Gabriella DiVincenzo, Graham Rogers, Leonard Peterson and Kristina Steinmetz acted and produced the play, which was stage managed by CCM Theatre Design and Production student Jennelle John-Lewis. CityBeat staff praised the production team’s efforts as “spectacular” and “outstanding.”

Congratulations to all of our friends and partners also featured in this special issue of CityBeat! Read more on CityBeat’s website or view a digital version of the issue.


Featured image at top: Best of Cincinnati graphic by Taylor Speed/CityBeat

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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.
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Students rehearse for CCM's TRANSMIGRATION Festival. Photos by CCM Acting student Jabari Carter.

TRANSMIGRATION Festival of Student Works Returns to CCM March 11-13

Admission to CCM’s TRANSMIGRATION Festival is free. Reservations are required. Tickets are available in person or over the phone through the CCM Box Office.

CCM presents six original, student-created works in the Acting Department’s TRANSMIGRATION Festival: (im)mature, Rotten Kids of Witchwood Pine, Phantasmagoria, Dirty Laundry, Entermission and HINT! A Play About Clue. Celebrating its 12th anniversary, the festival runs Wednesday, March 11, through Friday, March 13, 2020, throughout CCM Village.

TRANSMIGRATION gives CCM Acting students the freedom to produce an entirely new show from start to finish. The teams are tasked with writing, designing and producing a 30-minute piece of theatre all on their own. The shows are performed simultaneously and in non-traditional spaces throughout CCM’s Corbett Center for the Performing Arts. Attendees may customize their personal theater-going experience by viewing up to four shows of their choice throughout the evening. Show details are below.

“This is my third year in TRANSMIGRATION, and it has always been a highlight of my year. It’s always so fun and really works the muscle we need to create our own work,” said CCM Acting student Sydney Miles. “My personal favorite year and favorite role was my freshman year when I played a suitcase and travelled along with my pal, Cooper the Compass. With TRANSMIGRATION, anything can happen!”

Co-produced by CCM Acting Professors Richard Hess and Brant Russell, this unique festival has presented more than 60 original productions over the past 12 years. This year, junior Anastasia Jacques is the Associate Producer, and senior Chandler Bates is the Communication Manager.

(IM)MATURE
Remember grade school? The science fair. Getting picked last for kickball. Missing the bus. Cliques. Falling outs. Falling in love. Do you remember how you dealt with them? Did you shut down or grow up? What advice would you give your childhood self? The bus is almost here, hop on as we take a trip down memory lane and remember what it was like to discover new truths, redefine our obstacles and find out what maturity even means. As kids, all we want is to grow up. But as adults, all we want is to remember.
Cast: Zoe Cotzias, Rachel Jones, Lucas Prizant, Cameron Nalley, Ethan Murphy, Charles Gidney, Jason Pavlovich, Jake Weinheimer, Maddie Gaughn, Neuma Cohen-Denson, Mason Doyle
Location: Corbett Center Room 4755
Performance Times: 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.


ROTTEN KIDS OF WITCHWOOD PINE
As a group of students retreat to the woods, they stumble into a cursed forest called Witchwood Pine, a forest that manipulates your mind and traps you inside it. As they realize where they are and what the pine can do, they must discover what it takes to escape. Can you trust what you see?
Cast: Jabari Carter, Chandler Bates, Duncan Weinland, Reid Robison, Jack McElroy, AJ Civello, Shakoria Davis, Kay Waltermire, Ava Panagopoulos, Lydia Robison
Location: Corbett Center Room 4755
Performance Times: 7:45 p.m. and 9:15 p.m.


PHANTASMAGORIA
What is a phantasmagoria? A sequence of real or imaginary images, like those seen in a dream. This folk tale fever dream takes you on a ride through the subconscious of two sisters as they hang between life and death. Welcome to limbo. Welcome to Phantasmagoria.
Cast: Sierra Coachman, Cameron Mills, Lydia Noll, Michelle Jardine, Eli Lucas, Matt Fox, Olivia Buss, Emma Fitzgerald, Zoe Peterson, Abby Palen, Rachel Baker, Grace Eddy, Beza Kidane
Location: Corbett Center Room 4735
Performance Times: 7 p.m. and 7:45 p.m.


DIRTY LAUNDRY
There are some places that normal humans do not go. One of those is a laundromat at 4 a.m. on a Tuesday. Come visit our 24-hour laundromat, where career criminals go to wash away their dirty secrets. Tuesday after Tuesday, week after week, they’ve become an eclectic sort of clan. Aside from being loyal patrons, they all work as mercenaries for the owner. One day, when given assignments, some of the names on their lists look a little too familiar. What happens when the thing that goes “bump” in the night gets scared? Will this family of shady characters choose blood over money, or will they succumb to their fears? Step inside our laundromat, where you call some of the shots, but you may leave less clean than you came in.
Cast: Paige Jordan, Rin Wallace, Sydney Miles, Kayla Temshiv, Lily Olsen, Dustin Parsons, Noah Buyak, Malik Smith, Rachel Larson, Hunter Trammell, Morgan Piper, Jack Fogle
Location: Corbett Center Room 4735
Performance Times: 8:30 p.m. and 9:15 p.m.


ENTERMISSION
We are sad to announce that the Entermission we know and love is coming to a close. After years of dedication and imagination, it’s time to say goodbye to America’s most revolutionary attraction. But before it’s gone for good, you have one more chance to enjoy this timeless experience! Join Bells and Whistles one last time as they guide you through the love story of Humanity and Technology. Enjoy a laugh as you jump backwards in time, shed a tear as you step toward the future and witness the marvels that bridge the gaps in our lonely and fragmented world. With the help of your favorite advanced animatronics, enjoy the once in a lifetime opportunity of seeing tomorrow today. Take a seat, strap yourselves in and enter the mission!
Cast: Briley Oakley, Carlee Coulehan, Frankie Chuter, Leonard Peterson III, Gabe Nasato, Julianna Weis-Palacios, Kristina Steinmetz, Mateo Sollano, Kevin Naddeo
Location: Corbett Center Room 3705
Performance Times: 7 p.m. and 9:15 p.m.


HINT! A PLAY ABOUT CLUE
There has been a murder at the mansion. The guests are appalled: why would anybody want to murder the gracious host? Nobody quite knows what happened… except for the murderer, of course. Join us in retracing the truth. Will you be able to navigate the web of lies, betrayal and unrequited love in order to solve the crime?
Cast: Madison Pullman, Jack Steiner, Anastasia Jacques, Amanda Nelson, Liza Lagerstrom, Isabella Wagner, Austin Cleri, Gracie Schmidt, Ava Duvall, Ariel Shaw
Location: Corbett Center Room 3705
Performance Times: 7:45 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.


TRANSMIGRATION Performance Times

  • 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 11
  • 7 p.m. Thursday, March 12
  • 7 p.m. Friday, March 13

Location

CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

Admission

Admission is free. Reservations are required. Tickets are available in person or over the phone through the CCM Box Office. 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 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.


Story by CCM Graduate Student Alexandra Doyle

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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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