Karl Amundson and Phillip Johnson in CCM's 'Big River.' Photo by Adam Zeek.

CCM’s 2015-16 Studio Series Opens with Award-Winning Musical ‘Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,’ Oct. 8 – 10

CCM opens its 2015-16 Studio Series with a new production of Roger Miller and William Hauptman’s Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, playing Oct. 8 – 10, 2015, in CCM’s Cohen Family Studio Theater. Directed by Vince DeGeorge with musical direction by Steve Goers and choreography by Patti James, Big River will keep audiences’ toes tapping for four performances.

Like all Studio Series productions, admission to Big River is free, but reservations are required. Tickets become available at the CCM Box Office at noon on Monday, Oct. 5.

Winner of three Tony awards, including Best Musical, Big River is an irrepressible adaptation of Mark Twain’s timeless tale. The show brings to life all of the characters from the original novel: Widow Douglas, the King and Duke, Pap Finn, Tom Sawyer and – of course – Huck and Jim.

Vince DeGeorge, newly appointed Assistant Professor and Joseph Weinberger Chair of Acting for the Lyric Stage at CCM, returns to the Cohen Family Studio Theater to direct Big River. Formerly a Visiting Professor at CCM, his Studio Series productions of Blood Brothers and 110 in the Shade last season proved a smash with critics and audiences alike, so anticipation is high for his latest production in the Studio Theater. “I love to take things that are very large and distill them down to what is most elemental about them,” DeGeorge says of directing in CCM’s intimate black box performance space.

Last seen at CCM in an “expansive” 1994 Mainstage production, Big River will be very different this time around. “It’s an exciting challenge for me and it’s exciting for the students as well, because when you really distill things down, it allows the actors and the story to shine,” says DeGeorge of adapting a large musical for a small space. This applies to the music as well; the orchestrations are new for this production and will utilize a bluegrass quartet.

In addition to the cast and music, the technical elements will play a vital role in telling the story, “The show is very organic, very ‘of nature,’ and most of it takes place on the river. Lighting and sound are extremely important to place the audience in that world. Also, what’s brilliant about the set is that the designer kept stripping it down until we found a simple, clear language that supports the whole story,” DeGeorge explains.

A crucial piece of the story is the river itself. Over the last century, commentators have described the river in Twain’s novel as a powerful symbol of freedom and possibility for Huck and Jim. Accordingly, it is on the river where much of the musical’s action takes place. How will this iconic symbol be portrayed in such an intimate space? “Oh, I can’t give that away!” laughs DeGeorge.

DeGeorge’s production of Big River will enthrall audiences with its clarity and simplicity, and allow CCM’s “stars of tomorrow” to shine.

With free admission and limited seating, CCM’s Studio Series productions remain one of the hottest tickets in town. Learn more about how secure your tickets by visiting ccm.uc.edu/about/villagenews/did-you-know/how-to-studio-series.

Learn more about this year’s Studio Series lineup by visiting ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice/studio.

Big River Cast List

  • Karl Amundson as Huckleberry Finn
  • Phillip Johnson as Jim
  • Madeline Lynch as Widow Douglas/Ensemble
  • Hannah Kornfeld as Miss Watson/Sally Phelps
  • Jackson Mattek as Judge Thatcher/Counselor Robinson/Ensemble
  • Zach Erhardt as Tom Sawyer
  • Kyle Pollack as Ben Rodgers/Overseer/Hank/Sheriff Bell/Ensemble
  • EJ Dohring as Dick/Laf/Man in the Crowd/Ensemble
  • Tyler Sodoma as Jo Harper/Andy/Man in the Crowd/Ensemble
  • Derek Kastner as Simon/Man on a Skiff/Silas Phelps/Ensemble
  • Gabe Wrobel as Pap Finn/Harvey Wilkes
  • Shauna Topian as Strange Woman/Joanne Wilkes/Ensemble
  • Jenny Mollet as Female Slave/Alice
  • Ciara Harris as Slave/Alice’s Daughter
  • Eric Hernandez as Slave/Man on a Skiff
  • Tyler Johnson-Campion as Slave
  • Donelvan Thigpen as Slave
  • Nick Pelaccio as Man on a Skiff/Young Fool/Doctor/Ensemble
  • Kevin Chlapecka as The King
  • Adam Zeph as The Duke
  • Gina Santare as Mary Jane Wilkes
  • Emily Meredith as Susan Wilkes/Ensemble
  • Jordan Miller as Servant

Performance Times

  • 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8
  • 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 9
  • 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 10

Cohen Family Studio Theater, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

Reserving Tickets
Admission to Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is free, but reservations are required. Tickets become available at noon on Monday, Oct. 6. 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 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.

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

Community Partner: ArtsWave

CCM News
CCM alumnus Chris Fenwick scores Tony win with Broadway's FUN HOME.

CCM Alumnus Chris Fenwick’s Latest Project Wins Big at 2015 Tony Awards

We would like to extend our ecstatic congratulations to CCM alumnus Chris Fenwick (BM Piano, 2001), who serves as music director for the Broadway hit Fun Home! At last night’s Tony Awards ceremony, Fun Home won a stunning five awards, including the Tony for Best Musical! Based on the popular graphic memoir by Alison Bechdel, the musical is also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize!

You can watch a performance from last night’s ceremony featuring the cast of Fun Home below.

Fenwick has served as musical director for a number of recent Broadway shows, including Rocky, The Addams Family and the 2007 revival of Grease. Congratulations Chris!

CCM alumnus Chris Fenwick with the cast and creative team for 'Fun Home' at the 2015 Tony Awards ceremony.

CCM alumnus Chris Fenwick with the cast and creative team for ‘Fun Home’ at the 2015 Tony Awards ceremony.

CCM Alumni Applause CCM News
Kevin McCollum talks to CCM musical theatre students at a master class.

Tony Award-Winning Broadway Producer Kevin McCollum Joins CCM’s Faculty as Distinguished Visiting Professor

Peter Landgren, dean and Thomas James Kelly professor of music at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), has appointed leading Broadway producer Kevin McCollum to the position of Distinguished Visiting Professor. McCollum’s initial appointment will be for three years and will become effective in August of 2015.

Alumnus and Distinguished Visiting Professor Kevin McCollum.

Alumnus and Distinguished Visiting Professor Kevin McCollum.

A distinguished alumnus of the University of Cincinnati, McCollum (BFA Musical Theatre, 1984; HonDoc, 2005) is the Tony Award-winning producer of RentAvenue QIn the HeightsMotown the Musical and many other acclaimed Broadway, Off-Broadway and touring productions. Earlier this spring, McCollum received two more Tony nominations for his current productions of Something Rotten! (Best Musical) and Hand to God (Best Play). He also received 12 Outer Critics Circle Award nominations, including Outstanding New Broadway Musical, and nine Drama Desk nominations, including Outstanding Musical.

As a Distinguished Visiting Professor at CCM, McCollum’s influence on the college’s students and programs will be broad, focusing his work on musical theatre, although his entrepreneurial expertise will also be applied to aspects of auditioning, career development, arts administration and more.

Through this new appointment, McCollum will also work with faculty and administrators to develop a new musical theatre incubator program at CCM. A collaborative venture between CCM and Alchemation, McCollum’s Broadway producing office, this incubator will be designed to support the creation of new musical theatre works, utilizing McCollum’s entrepreneurial expertise and CCM’s abundance of talent.

“We are very excited to bring Kevin back to CCM as a member of our faculty,” says Dean Landgren. “Kevin is arguably the most accomplished and successful producer working in theatre today. Given his diverse background and his proven expertise in the business of the performing arts, his presence on our faculty will enhance the already world-class training that our students receive.”

“CCM was an essential part of my professional training and I am thrilled to return to such a top-notch institution,” says McCollum. “There are many things that attracted me to this position on CCM’s faculty; Peter Landgren’s bold leadership and openness to collaboration, the level of excellence found in the faculty, the highly accomplished young artists and the state-of-the-art facilities of my Alma Mater. I am proud to be counted amongst the internationally renowned faculty of this great institution. CCM has a longstanding commitment to presenting new works, and I am equally proud to help develop a program that will usher in the next generation of musical theatre artists.”

Speaking of the significance of an incubator program for musical theatre, Landgren explains, “Keeping with the University of Cincinnati’s proud tradition of cooperative education and experiential learning, this collaboration with Kevin and Alchemation will present our students with extraordinary opportunities to hone their craft while working to develop future theatre classics. Developing Broadway’s blockbusters-of-tomorrow with CCM’s stars-of-tomorrow is a win-win.”

Kevin McCollum (center) with CCM Musical Theatre's Class of 2015 after his seminar at Pearl Studios in New York.

Kevin McCollum (center) with CCM Musical Theatre’s Class of 2015 after his seminar at Pearl Studios in New York.

About Kevin McCollum
With a career spanning 25 years in the theatre industry, Kevin McCollum remains one of the most prolific and successful producers on Broadway today. He has received the Tony Award for Best Musical for In the Heights (2008), Avenue Q (2004) and Rent (1996), which also won the Pulitzer Prize. He produced Motown the Musical (Broadway and National Tour), The Drowsy Chaperone in 2006, which won five Tony Awards, Baz Luhrmann’s production of Puccini’s La Boheme in 2002, [title of show] in 2008, the touring and Broadway productions of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, the off-Broadway hit De La Guarda, the recent hit revival of West Side Story and Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo.

In 1995 McCollum co-founded the Producing Office, and has since created Alchemation, a theatrical and media producing company committed to new work. In addition to his training at CCM, McCollum earned his Master’s degree in film producing from the Peter Stark Program at the University of Southern California.

In 1995, McCollum received the Robert Whitehead Award for Outstanding Commercial Theatre Producing. In 2005, he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Cincinnati. He is represented on Broadway this spring with the original musical Something Rotten! and the New American Play Hand to God. His wife is actress and fellow UC graduate Lynette Perry-McCollum (BM Musical Theatre, 1985).

About Alchemation
Founded in 2012, Alchemation is a theatre and media company under McCollum’s leadership. Productions under the Alchemation banner include Motown the Musical, Something Rotten!Hand to God and the third season of theatrical web-series Submissions Only. In the summer of 2013, McCollum entered a joint venture with 20th Century Fox to develop titles from the Fox catalogue into stage properties.

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. Declared “one of the nation’s leading conservatories” by the New York Times, CCM provides life-changing experiences within a highly creative and multidisciplinary artistic environment.

CCM’s educational roots date back to 1867, and a solid, visionary instruction has been at our core since that time. 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.

CCM’s faculty and staff and its state-of-the-art facilities make possible the professional training and exceptional education on which CCM believes the future of the arts relies. The school’s roster of eminent faculty regularly receives distinguished honors for creative and scholarly work, and its alumni have achieved notable success in the performing and media arts.

More than 150 internationally recognized faculty members work with students from around the world, specializing in the areas of Composition, Musicology and Theory; Electronic Media; Ensembles and Conducting; Keyboard Studies; Music Education; Performance Studies and Theatre Arts, Production and Arts Administration.

The largest single source of performing arts events in the state of Ohio, CCM presents nearly 1000 major public performances each year, ranging from faculty and guest artist concerts to fully supported opera, musical theatre, drama and dance productions.

For more information about the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, please visit us online at ccm.uc.edu.

CCM Alumni Applause CCM News Faculty Fanfare
From left to right: CCM graduating seniors Eric Geil, Nate Irvin, Thomas Knapp and Dallas Padoven rehearse “Holiday” from American Idiot. The song is featured in this year’s New York Musical Theatre Showcase. Photo by Dallas Padoven.

CCM Snags the Award-Winning Punk Rock Musical ‘American Idiot’ for An Exciting and Eclectic 2015-16 Mainstage Series

From left to right, CCM graduating seniors Eric Geil, Thomas Knapp, Dallas Padoven and Nate Irvin rehearsing “Holiday” from American Idiot. This song is also featured in CCM's New York Musical Theatre Showcase later on this semester.

From left to right, CCM graduating seniors Eric Geil, Thomas Knapp, Dallas Padoven and Nate Irvin rehearsing “Holiday” from American Idiot. This song is also featured in CCM’s New York Musical Theatre Showcase later on this semester.

CCM has secured the rights to present the Tony Award-winning musical blockbuster American Idiot as part of its 2015-16 Mainstage Series. Running March 3 – 13, 2016, in CCM’s Patricia Corbett Theater, this will be the first local production of the acclaimed rock opera.

A critical smash on Broadway and in London, American Idiot is based on the Grammy Award-winning album of the same name by American punk rock band Green Day. The two-time Tony Award-winning musical tells the story of three disillusioned youths who are forced to choose between freedom and the safety of suburbia.

Inspired in part by such classic concept albums as The Who’s Tommy, The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Jesus Christ Superstar, American Idiot premiered at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre in 2009 and finished its most recent national tour in May 2014. With a raucous and exhilarating punk rock score, American Idiot boldly takes musical theatre where it has never gone before. For both the students and the faculty members at CCM, the boundary-pushing nature of this contemporary musical perfectly complements the college’s educational mission.

“Our production philosophy in the Musical Theatre program is simple,” explains Aubrey Berg, CCM’s Patricia A. Corbett Distinguished Chair of Musical Theatre and the director of this upcoming production. “During the four years a student spends with us, they will be exposed to every kind of musical theatre work. In the last few years, we have undertaken shows as varied as the groundbreaking Oklahoma!, the fancy foot-work of Singin’ in the Rain, the moving spectacle of Les Misérables and the beloved childhood fantasy of Peter Pan. And that does not include our Studio Series, which features such cutting-edge works as Carrie and Blood Brothers. Forgotten musicals are also well represented in our Musicals Redux Series, which digs into the great storehouse of musical theatre history to find some lost gems.” Chairman of CCM’s Department of Musical Theatre since 1987, Berg received the League of Cincinnati Theatres Continuing Achievement Award and was inducted into the CEA Hall of Fame in 2010.

CCM Adjunct Instructor Stephen Goers will join Berg as musical director for this production. The two have frequently collaborated on such musical productions as Into the Woods, Carrie and, most recently, Les Misérables. Over the years, their work together has garnered a large number of local arts awards, including Best Direction, Best Musical Direction and Best Musical.

Taking on a 21st century musical is already proving to be an exciting prospect for students at CCM, many of whom grew up with the original American Idiot concept album, which was released in 2004.

“I think it’s so special to be part of a program that embraces new musicals as well as the classics, in order to provide the most well rounded education possible for its students,” says third-year musical theatre major Tom Meglio. “American Idiot already has everyone in CCM’s Division of Theatre Arts rocking out and ready for some Junior High nostalgia!”

Classmate Taylor Alexander agrees: “The original Green Day album was a groundbreaking staple to our generation with its unique view on youth in America. The whole campus is going to be pumped to hear music we all grew up listening to!”

Described by the New York Times as “invigorating, moving and thrilling… a true rock opera,” American Idiot features a book by Billie Joe Armstrong and Michael Mayer, lyrics by Billie Joe Armstrong and music by the band Green Day. The score features the hits “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” “21 Guns,” “Wake Me Up When September Ends,” “Holiday” and the iconic title track.

CCM will announce its entire 2015-16 Mainstage Series lineup in March of 2015. Running from October of 2015 through April of 2016, the series will include two operas, two musicals, two dramas and one story ballet.

Details on subscription packages and single ticket sales will be announced this summer. Visit ccm.uc.edu/about/villagenews/subscribe to register for CCM’s mailing list, and the Box Office will provide you with additional information on this year’s subscription options.

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

Mainstage Season Production Sponsor: Macy’s

Community Partner: ArtsWave

American Idiot is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI. 421 West 54th Street, New York, NY 10019 | Phone: 212-541-4684 | Fax: 212-397-4684 | http://www.MTIShows.com

A preeminent institution for the performing and media arts, the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) is the largest single source of performing arts presentations in the state of Ohio.

Titles and dates are subject to change. For a complete calendar of events, please visit us online at ccm.uc.edu.

CCM News
'Metamorphoses,' from CCM's acclaimed 2013-14 Mainstage Series.

Announcing CCM’s 2014-15 Mainstage Series of Opera, Musical Theatre and Drama

The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) is pleased to announce initial details for its 2014-15 Mainstage Series of opera, musical theatre and drama productions.

The 2014-15 Mainstage Series features a dazzling collection of both classic and contemporary masterworks, including a gender-bending new production of Shakespeare’s gripping tragedy Macbeth, an extended run of the high-energy romantic-comedy Legally Blonde – The Musical and a magical production of the opera Hänsel and Gretel.

In early 2015, CCM’s student and faculty artists will also present Wendy Wasserstein’s Pulitzer Prize-winning and zeitgeist-dominating The Heidi Chronicles and a soaring musical production of Peter Pan. Mozart’s Così fan tutte will close out the series, with a new production directed by Robin Guarino, who recently staged this masterpiece at the Metropolitan Opera.

This year’s must-see Mainstage Series features six fully staged works guaranteed to fill audiences with delight, with performances scheduled from Oct. 1, 2014, through April 12, 2015. All performances take place in the Corbett Center for the Performing Arts on the University of Cincinnati campus.

Production and ticketing details are below. Priority subscription packages go on sale May 2014. Single tickets become available in August, but subscribing is the only way to guarantee your seats for these must-see shows!

Visit ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice/subscribe to register for CCM’s mailing list, and the Box Office will provide you with additional information on this year’s subscription options.

Additional Information
Titles and dates are subject to change—rights pending. To order subscriptions, contact the CCM Box Office at 513-556-4183. For additional information, visit ccm.uc.edu, email boxoff@uc.edu or call the Box Office.
CCM News

‘Metamorphoses’ Earns Four Star Rating by the League of Cincinnati Theatres

CCM's presents ' Metamorphoses' Feb. 5 (preview) - 9, 2014. Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM’s presents ‘ Metamorphoses’ Feb. 5 (preview) – 9, 2014. Photography by Mark Lyons.

We are delighted to report that panelists for the League of Cincinnati Theatres (LCT) have recognized our Mainstage Series production of Metamorphoses with a Four Star Rating! Congratulations to everyone involved with the show!

Panelists praised Metamorphoses as “a rare, exemplary experience to behold in a theater. The pool, lighting, use of space, direction, transitions, performances and the stories–Myths of Ovid–were compelling, touching, sad, hopeful and even risky.”

D. Lynn Meyers was commended for her direction: “In her hands, Ovid’s dreams ‘were magically realized and lushly furnished with a vision as tender as it was daring’.”

Dana Hall, for scenic design, and Wes Richter, for lighting design, were singled out for designs that were “beautifully evocative, integral to the story-telling, and well-executed”.

Finally, the entire ensemble was lauded for their work: “Bravo to the cast who cast a spell upon this audience member.”

Metamorphoses plays through tomorrow afternoon (Sunday, Feb. 9). For more information about the production, visit ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice/metamorphoses.

CCM News Faculty Fanfare Student Salutes

Familiar Myths Take on Magical New Forms in CCM’s Mainstage Production of ‘Metamorphoses’

Senior drama major Madeline McKenzie in CCM's production of 'Metamorphoses,' playing Feb. 5 (preview) - 9, 2014. Photography by Stirling Scot Shelton.

Senior drama major Madeline McKenzie in CCM’s production of ‘Metamorphoses,’ playing Feb. 5 (preview) – 9, 2014. Photography by Stirling Scot Shelton.

CCM’s Mainstage Series resumes in February with a new production of Mary Zimmerman’s award-winning Metamorphoses. Based on the classic myths of Ovid, this entrancing drama runs Feb. 6 – 9 in CCM’s Patricia Corbett Theater, with a special preview performance at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 5. Guest artist D. Lynn Meyers directs. The production is intended for mature audiences.

From a simple, rippling pool of water, Metamorphoses conjures a series of familiar myths into gorgeous theatrical imagery. The winner of two Drama Desk Awards and one Tony Award after its Broadway run in 2002, this entrancing theatrical event retells the classic stories of King Midas, Orpheus and Eurydice, Narcissus and more.

To realize Zimmerman’s bold vision for Metamorphoses, an on-stage pool fills 576 square feet of Patricia Corbett Theater for this production. This pool holds 4,000 gallons of water, weighing roughly 10 tons, and ranges in depth from just a few inches to nearly two feet. Although the element of water is central to all of the myths featured in Metamorphoses, the pool’s function changes from vignette to vignette, sometimes serving as a simple washing basin or swimming pool, while other times standing in for the River Styx or the sea.

CCM News