UC MagazineUniversity of CincinnatiUC Magazine

UC Magazine

Musical theater program turns 40

With billing that looked as bright as a Broadway marquee, UC's musical theater program celebrated its 40th anniversary in November 2009 with performances and master classes starring some of its greatest alumni, including four-time Tony-winning producer Kevin McCollum, CCM '84, HonDoc '05, and Tony-nominee Pam Myers, CCM '68, the program's first graduate. The weeklong celebration featured a student production of the 40-year-old musical "Hair" and a gala cabaret by newer CCM alumni.

Established in 1968 by Helen Laird (with Jack Rouse serving as the first chair), the musical theater program at the College-Conservatory of Music is the oldest in the country and served as the model for the National Association of Schools of Theatre accreditation guidelines.

That first year, the program's original alumna, Pam Myers, set high standards for those who came after her. In true "showbiz" fashion, the new grad boarded a Greyhound Bus for New York City, landed her first audition and received a Tony nomination for the role she created -- Marta in Stephen Sondheim's musical "Company." Nightly, she stopped the show singing "Another Hundred People."

Since then, CCM has become renowned on Broadway thanks to its musical theater program. Those in the field point out that nearly every show on Broadway has a CCM connection.

Those connections include alumni performers, directors, musical directors, choreographers and producers. Those who have received Tony Awards follow:

  • Kevin McCollum, CCM '84, HonDoc '05, for producing the musicals " Rent," "Avenue Q," "In the Heights" and "Private Lives"
  • Stephen Flaherty, CCM '82, for composing "Ragtime"
  • Faith Prince, CCM '79, for her performance as Miss Adelaide "Guys and Dolls"
  • Michele Pawk, CCM '85, for her performance as Louise in "Hollywood Arms"
  • Karen Olivo, CCM '97, for her performance as Anita in "West Side Story"