CCM Drama Presents Bittersweet Production of Eugene O’Neill’s Comedy ‘Ah, Wilderness!’ Feb. 10-14

CCM resumes its Mainstage Series with Eugene O’Neill’s Ah, Wilderness!: A Comedy of Recollection in Three Acts, playing Feb. 11-14 with a special preview performance on Wednesday, Feb. 10. The show also bids a fond farewell to its director, and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Graduate Studies, R. Terrell Finney as he retires from fulltime status at CCM.

Poster for CCM's February 2016 production of AH, WILDERNESS!The words “Eugene O’Neill” and “comedy” are rarely used in the same sentence unless that sentence is “Eugene O’Neill does NOT write comedy.” The Pulitzer Prize-winning writer of Long Day’s Journey into Night and Mourning Becomes Electra is primarily known for his semi-autobiographical plays about characters who struggle to maintain their hopes and aspirations but ultimately slide into despair and disillusionment. Ah, Wilderness! is not one of those plays.

Set in an idyllic Connecticut town (presumably New London, O’Neill’s hometown) on the Fourth of July weekend of 1906, the play focuses on the Miller family and their 16-year-old son Richard, whose coming of age story offers a tender portrait of small town family values, teenage growing pains, and young love.

“It’s really quite the opposite of a typical O’Neill family story,” says director R. Terrell Finney. “The subtitle of the play is ‘A Comedy of Recollection,’ so my take on it is this is the family unit that O’Neill wishes he had.”

Even though it’s a comedy, the show still has plenty of the classic O’Neill depth-of-character for which he is known, “If it were written by a playwright of lesser skill, it could verge on the sentimental, but [O’Neill] brings elements that his other plays deal with: alcoholism, squandered love, intolerance and political strife. So, although it is a very loving and romantic portrait of a family, it has some depth as well,” explains Finney.

CCM’s production will be very true to the original look and feel of the play as written. “We’ve tried to create a world that’s going to let us live in 1906, so everything on stage is very period-specific,” says Finney. For example, it was important to obtain the exact music requested by O’Neill for various parts of the play, “I have to thank Dr. bruce mcclung from the Department of Musicology; he really helped us locate the music and source material so we could stay true to the original script,” Finney adds.

Ah! Wilderness!’s tender feel makes it a fitting farewell for it’s director, R. Terrell Finney. Finney’s tenure as a fulltime faculty member will come to an end this semester after 33 years of service as a member of the Department of Drama and head of CCM’s Division of Opera, Musical Theatre, Dramatic Arts and Arts Administration (now known as the Division of Theatre Arts, Production and Arts Administration, or TAPAA). Finney has most recently served as Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Graduate Studies at CCM.

R. Terrell Finney directs this beloved classic by Eugene O'Neill.

R. Terrell Finney directs this beloved classic by Eugene O’Neill.

Over his time at CCM, Finney’s approach to directing has changed, he says, for the better, “I’d like to think I’m more relaxed than when I started! Sometimes you just have to roll with the punches in the theater. I’ve also really come to respect and trust actor instinct. If a director can open a door to the creativity the actor can bring, he’s done his job.”

Finney says directing Ah Wilderness! has reinvigorated his love for the creative process and, even though he’s entering a much-deserved retirement, he hopes to stay involved in the future, “I’ve had a ball directing this show. It’s been six years since I’ve directed and it’s been so liberating. It’s amazing to be involved in the creative process, so if you had asked me, without having done this show, what I wanted to do in retirement I may have just said, ‘Oh, tend my garden,’ but now I would hope that I can continue to direct. I’m not quite ready to be put out to pasture!”

The Company

  • Jonah Sorscher as Tommy Miller
  • Olivia Passafiume as Mildred Miller
  • Owen Alderson as Arthur Miller
  • Katie Langham as Essie Miller
  • Rachel Baumgarten as Lily Miller
  • Devan Pruitt as Nat Miller
  • Andrew Iannacci as Sid Davis
  • Andrew Huyler Ramsey as Richard Miller
  • Spencer Lackey as David McComber
  • Mickey Tropeano as Norah
  • Isaac Hickox-Young as Went Selby
  • Annie Grove as Belle
  • James Egbert as Bartender
  • Ryan Garrett as Salesman
  • Emily Walton as Muriel McComber

The Creative Team

  • R. Terrell Finney, director
  • Thomas C. Umfrid and Whitney Glover, scenic designers
  • Adam Ditzel, lighting designer
  • Mathew D. Birchmeier, sound designer
  • Maria Lenn, costume designer
  • Missy White, wig & make-up designer
  • k. Jenny Jones, fight choreographer
  • Scott Slucher, stage manager

Performance Times

  • 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 10 (preview)
  • 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 11
  • 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 12
  • 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 13
  • 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 14

Location
Patricia Corbett Theater, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

Purchasing Tickets
Tickets to Ah, Wilderness! are $27-31 for adults, $17-20 for non-UC students and $15-18 UC students with a valid ID. Tickets to the Feb. 10 preview performance are just $15.

Tickets can be purchased in person at the CCM Box Office, over the telephone at 513-556-4183 or online at ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice/mainstage/ah-wilderness.

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

Mainstage Season Production Sponsor: Macy’s

Community Partner: ArtsWave

Ah, Wilderness!: A Comedy of Recollection in Three Acts is presented by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH, INC.

CCM News Faculty Fanfare
Samantha Pollino and Ben Biggers in 'Carousel.' Special thanks to Carol Ann's Carousel, A Gift of The Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation. Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM Presents Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Timeless ‘CAROUSEL’ Oct. 29 – Nov. 1

CCM’s acclaimed Mainstage Series continues this fall with a moving production of the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel. Directed and choreographed by Diane Lala with musical direction by Roger GrodskyCarousel runs Oct. 29 through Nov. 1 in CCM’s Corbett Auditorium. Tickets for all performances are on sale now.

Samantha Pollino and Ben Biggers in 'Carousel.' Special thanks to Carol Ann's Carousel, A Gift of The Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation. Photography by Mark Lyons.Based on the 1909 play LiliomCarousel tells a story of tragedy, forgiveness and timeless love through the turbulent relationship of Julie Jordan, a quiet, naïve millworker, and Billy Bigelow, a swaggering, carefree carnival barker.

CCM Professor of Musical Theatre Diane Lala directs and choreographs the show, which was hailed as the “best musical of the 20th century” by Time Magazine. Fittingly, Lala’s approach to the show is to let the material speak for itself. “Carousel is such a classic piece of musical theatre,” she explains. “My goal is to present the show the way the writers intended it.”

Lala is no stranger to the works of Rodgers and Hammerstein, having previously helmed CCM’s 2011 production of Oklahoma!. Lala notes that although the two musicals were written back to back, they are quite different. “A lot of the uplifting spirit in Oklahoma! comes from the feeling of community around making Oklahoma a state. In Carousel we deal with the much darker issue of a marriage between two people who are completely different but who have this captivating and enduring love for each other.”

Richard Rodgers portrays the love story gloriously in his sweeping score, which he maintained was his personal favorite of all the shows he wrote.

CCM Professor of Musical Theatre Roger Grodsky and second-year graduate student Danny White will co-conduct the 39-piece orchestra for this production. The duo will honor Rodgers by utilizing a restored version of the original 1945 orchestrations. “The restoration process began in 2003 and there are literally hundreds of parts that have been reinstated or corrected,” says Grodsky. “People may be surprised to hear that that the correct lyric for ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ is: ‘When you walk through a storm, KEEP YOUR CHIN up high’ not ‘hold your head’!”

Carousel‘s timeless score also includes such standards as “If I Loved You” and Billy’s powerful seven-minute solo “Soliloquy.”

In addition to the full orchestra, the technical elements of the show will be quite grand. However, Lala notes that the juxtaposition of these elements with the intimacy of the story is what makes this production special. “In the beginning of the show, we transform from a bare stage to a full amusement park including a big carousel, so the set and musical numbers are really big and elaborate but then the scenes are so dramatic and simple. There’s a wonderful contrast all within the same show.”

With its timeless story, glorious score, and stunning visuals, CCM’s production of Carousel is sure to delight audiences and create a memorable evening of theater.

Special thanks to Carol Ann’s Carousel, A Gift of The Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation.

Performance Times

  • 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29
  • 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30
  • 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31
  • 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 1

Location
Corbett Auditorium, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

Purchasing Tickets
Tickets to Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel are $31-35 for adults, $20-24 for non-UC students and $18-22 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 at ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice/mainstage/carousel.

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

Mainstage Season Production Sponsor: Macy’s

Carousel Production Sponsor: The Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation.

Community Partner: ArtsWave

CCM News
Sarah Davenport as Heidi Holland in CCM's Mainstage Series production of THE HEIDI CHRONICLES. Photography by Jay Yocis.

CCM’s Mainstage Series Presents the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-Winning ‘The Heidi Chronicles’ Next Week

Sarah Davenport as Heidi Holland in CCM's THE HEIDI CHRONICLES. photography by Mark Lyons.

Sarah Davenport as Heidi Holland in CCM’s THE HEIDI CHRONICLES. photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM’s Department of Drama opens its spring Mainstage Series with its debut of Wendy Wasserstein’s The Heidi Chronicles, running Feb. 11 through Feb. 15, in the Patricia Corbett Theater.

An examination of feminism and its evolution from the 1960s through the late 1980s, The Heidi Chronicles follows Heidi Holland, a successful art historian, who tries to find her true self in a rapidly changing world as the roles of women were being redefined.

Students and audience members alike will get the chance to witness a piece of history on stage as director Richard E. Hess, A.B., Dolly, Ralph and Julia Cohen Chair of Dramatic Performance, attempts to make connections between a generation who lived through the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s and students who are now products of this age.

Hess asks a thought-provoking and timely question: “What would Wendy think of life in America in 2015, where we still must deeply question this country’s commitment to racial and gender equality?”

Wasserstein was the first woman playwright to receive a Tony Award for Best Play for The Heidi Chronicles. Her work also earned her prestigious awards including the 1989 Pulitzer Prize, a New York Drama Critics Circle Award and a Drama Desk Award, among others.

Hess says that Wasserstein liked to create characters “who struggled with the shifting demands and definitions of self, unique to a time and place.” This struggle rings true even today.

Second-year Theater Design and Production graduate student Jillian Coratti serves as costume designer for this production. She talked with Hess at the beginning of rehearsals about his vision for the look and feel of the production. “The hardest part about this production was making it look real,” she explains. “This show is dramatic and thoughtful, but very rarely flashy. The characters are real and contemporary, so I didn’t want to make anything come across as overly theatrical.”

Coratti did a great deal of research in magazines and blogs, even pulling out older family photo albums. Her uncles grew up as members of the “baby boomer” generation, so she was able to find looks from the 70s and 80s in their wedding albums. Since each scene in The Heidi Chronicles is set in a new time period, there are a lot of quick costume changes. Heidi alone has 13 changes!

But the easiest and most rewarding part has been the fittings. Coratti says, “The actors are so eager and willing to see their costumes because they can connect with these clothes. They’re very similar to what we wear everyday, yet some come from our parents closets.”

  • Richard E. Hess, director
  • Thomas C. Umfrid, scenic designer
  • Jillian Coratti, costume designer
  • Taylor Malott, wig & make-up designer
  • Joe Beumer, lighting designer
  • Corbin Wescott, sound designer
  • k. Jenny Jones, fight choreographer
  • Susan Stephenson, stage manager

The Heidi Chronicles Cast List:

  • Sarah Davenport as Heidi Holland
  • Clare Combest as Susan Johnston
  • Colin Edgar as Peter Patron
  • Connor Lawrence as Scoop Rosenbaum
  • Ryan Garrett as Chris Boxer/Steve/Waiter
  • Katie McDonald as Jill/Sandra Zucker-Hall
  • AC Horton as Fran
  • Julia Netzer as Becky
  • Rachel Baumgarten as Debbie
  • Owen Alderson as 1968 Hippie/Mark/Dr. Ray
  • Michaela Tropeano as Molly McBride/Clara
  • Alice Skok as Lisa
  • Carli Rhoades as Betsy
  • Sydney Ashe as Denise
  • Katie Langham as April

About The Heidi Chronicles
After its initial opening in November 1988 Off-Broadway, The Heidi Chronicles was praised by the New York Daily News as “witty, hilarious…not just a funny play, but a wise one… I doubt we’ll see a better play this season.” Even Variety raved, “Not many plays manage Heidi’s feat of inducing almost continuous laughter while forcing the audience to examine its preconceptions.” In March of 1989, The Heidi Chronicles was transferred to Broadway and became a long-running success with an impressive 622 performances when it closed in September of 1990.

Comprised of a series of interrelated scenes, the play traces the coming of age of Heidi Holland, a successful art historian, as she tries to find her bearings in a rapidly changing world. Gradually distancing herself from her friends, she watches them move from the idealism and political radicalism of their college years through militant feminism and, eventually, back to the materialism that they had sought to reject in the first place. Eventually Heidi comes to accept the fact that liberation can be achieved only if one is true to oneself, with goals that come out of need rather than circumstance.

Read Rick Pender’s thoughts on the legacy of Wendy Wasserstein and the importance of The Heidi Chronicles, courtesy of CityBeat.

Performance Times

  • 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 11 (preview)
  • 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 12
  • 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 13
  • 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 14
  • 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 15

Location
Patricia Corbett Theater, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

Purchasing Tickets

Tickets to The Heidi Chronicles are $27-31 for adults, $17-20 for non-UC students and $15-18 for UC students with a valid ID. Saturday matinee student rush discount tickets are available beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 14 and are $12-15. Tickets to the Feb. 11 preview performance are just $12.

Tickets can be purchased in person at the CCM Box Office, over the telephone at 513-556-4183 or online at ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice/heidi-chronicles-mainstage.

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

Mainstage Season Production Sponsor: Macy’s

Community Partner: ArtsWave

CCM News
CCM Summer Playrights Conference

CCM Slideshows: Macbeth

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CCM’s 2014-15 Mainstage Series opens with a dynamic new production of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, playing tonight through Sunday, Oct. 5, in Patricia Corbett Theater.

In the dark and twisted landscape of 11th century Scotland, Macbeth will go to any means necessary to prove that he’s a man (even if this Macbeth is played by a woman). With the help of his wife, and pushed by a trio of gnarly creatures (witches who were women once), Macbeth schemes to take the throne and eliminate anyone standing in his way.

Brant Russell directs this iconic tragedy in his Mainstage Series debut!

Performance Times

  • 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 2
  • 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 3
  • 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 4
  • 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 5

Location
Patricia Corbett Theater, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

Purchasing Tickets
Tickets to Macbeth are $27-31 for adults, $17-20 for non-UC students and $15-18 UC students with a valid ID, with $12-$15 student rush tickets available for the Saturday matinee beginning at 1 p.m. on Oct. 4. Customizable subscription packages are also available.

Tickets can be purchased in person at the CCM Box Office, over the telephone at 513-556-4183 or online at ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice/macbeth-mainstage.

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

Mainstage Season Production Sponsor: Macy’s

Community Partner: ArtsWave

CCM News CCM Slideshows

The Reviews Are In For CCM’s “The Marriage of Figaro”

Photography by Mark Lyons.

Photography by Mark Lyons.

The Cincinnati Enquirer and ConcertoNet.com have both posted glowing reviews of CCM’s sold-out reinterpretation of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro.

CCM’s Opera Series continues March 4 – 6 with the Studio Series production of Jacques Offenbach’s The Island of Tulipatan. You can learn more about the production here.

CCM News

“The Marriage of Figaro” Opens Tonight!

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Beginning this evening and running through Sunday, Feb. 13, CCM’s Mainstage Series of Operas, Dramas and Musicals presents Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro. Mark Lyons provides us with a preview slideshow.

Extremely limited tickets are still available for our matinee performances. Learn more about the production at ccm.uc.edu.

CCM News CCM Slideshows

CCM Students’ Voices Soar in Mozart’s ‘The Marriage of Figaro,’ Feb. 10-13

Noel Bouley as Figaro and Xi Wang as Susanna in CCM's "The Marriage of Figaro."

Noel Bouley as Figaro and Xi Wang as Susanna in CCM's "The Marriage of Figaro." Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM students and staff are putting their own mark on Mozart’s timeless opera buffa The Marriage of Figaro (Le Nozze di Figaro) whether it is from the original 18th-century-inspired costume designs, the simple and elegant scenic designs or the polished presentation of Mozart’s comedic ensemble scenes. The Marriage of Figaro runs from February 10-13 in CCM’s Patricia Corbett Theater on the University of Cincinnati campus.

CCM News