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

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

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 for more information on parking rates.

For detailed maps and directions, please visit 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 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
A portion of the cover to CCM's 2015-16 Season Brochure.

CCM’s 2015-16 Subscription Packages Are On Sale Now. Plan Your Season With Our New Brochure Today!

Established in 1867, the nationally ranked and internationally renowned University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music is a preeminent institution for the performing and media arts.

CCM's 2015-16 Season Brochure.

Click here to view CCM’s 2015-16 Season Brochure.

Each year, our talented young artists and world-class faculty and staff members collaborate on an unparalleled series of performing arts events.

This year, we proudly present over 50 major concert and theatre productions, ranging from all-time classics to modern Broadway blockbusters.

Whether you prefer charming operas or thrilling dramas, stunning symphonies or swinging jazz, old favorites or world premieres, there’s something for you at CCM this season.

Join us for a performance and see for yourself why critics and audiences alike can’t stop talking about our resident artists and “stars of tomorrow!”

Plan your season today by downloading a digital copy of CCM’s 2015-16 brochure. Physical copies are available at CCM’s Box Office, as well!

Subscription and flex ticket packages are on sale now. Single Concert Series and Ariel Series tickets go on sale beginning Aug. 24, 2015. Single Mainstage Series tickets go on sale beginning Aug. 31, 2015.

For more details about CCM’s 2015-16 performance schedule, contact the CCM Box Office at 513-556-4183 or visit



CCM recognizes and thanks the following corporations, foundations and individuals for their generous support of $10,000 and above:

Louise Dieterle Nippert Trust
Scholarship and Resident Artist Sponsor

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
CCM/CSO Diversity Fellowship Sponsor

The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation
Season Presenting Sponsor, Musical Theatre Program Sponsor & Event Sponsor

The Corbett Endowment at CCM
Dance Department Supporter & All-Steinway School Sponsor

The Greater Cincinnati Foundation
H. Wayne Ferguson Family Foundation
The Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation
Frances R. Luther Charitable Trust

Community Partners

Mainstage Season Production Sponsor

Mr. & Mrs. Edward S. Rosenthal
Opera Department Sponsor

The Joseph and Frances Jones Poetker Fund of the Cambridge Charitable Foundation, Ritter & Randolph, LLC, Corporate Counsel
Visiting Artists Sponsor

The Estate of Mr. William A. Friedlander
Mrs. William A. Friedlander
Dr. & Mrs. Randolph L. Wadsworth
Mr. & Mrs. J. David Rosenberg
Mr. & Mrs. Harry H. Santen
Mr. & Mrs. Thomas E. Stegman

Ariel Quartet Sponsors

Jan Rogers
Willard and Jean Mulford Charitable Fund of the Cambridge Charitable Foundation

Choral Studies Sponsors

Ms. Margaret A. Straub & Mr. Neil R. Artman
Studio Drama Series Sponsor


A preeminent institution for the performing and media arts, CCM is the largest single source of performing arts presentations in the state of Ohio.

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