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CCM Presents Bittersweet Comedy About Life and Love

Students shine in William Inge's American Classic, "Picnic."

Date: 4/7/2010 12:00:00 AM
By: Christa Moore
Phone: (513) 556-9831
Other Contact: Curt Whitacre
Other Contact Phone: (513) 556-2683
Photos By: Mark Lyons

UC ingot  

Students in CCM’s Drama Department present William Inge’s iconic American play Picnic in the Patricia Corbett Theater April 21-25, 2010. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, a Tony Award and the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award, Picnic tells the story of a single mother and her two daughters, whose lives are turned upside down when a handsome drifter arrives in their rural Kansas town.

Picnic’s themes of family and simple things resonate strongly with today’s audiences—so much so that the play is currently enjoying a Broadway revival. “This play is about the possibility of lives connecting, and changing forever,” says director Richard Hess. He continues, “Nothing huge happens, except the hugest thing in the world—someone falling in love and deciding to change the course of their life because of it. I think we all want to believe there’s still hope for that.”

Set in the 1950s, Picnic has challenged cast members to discover more about what it was like to come of age during a very different time. “To many of these students the 1950s are an ancient time period,” jokes Hess. CCM faculty choreographer Patti James has helped students to master stylistic dances of the era, including swing and jitterbug. “One of the major challenges has been to stay in a 1950s mentality,” says Clare Ward, a sophomore playing Madge Owens. “It’s so easy to revert to approaching things from a more modern perspective. I’ve enjoyed listening to music from the 1950s, and thinking about how Madge might have filled her days.”

CCM’s production of Picnic is dedicated to the memory of Paul Rutledge, UC Professor Emeritus of Theater, who passed away recently at the age of 91. A pioneer of theater in Cincinnati, Rutledge was instrumental in the development of the CCM’s degree programs in Musical Theatre and Drama during his 35-year tenure—during which time he founded and directed the UC Theater and served a faculty advisor to the UC Mummers Guild. Prof. Rutledge mentored many future stars including David Canary, Marcia Lewis, Lee Roy Reams and Pam Myers, to mention a few. Rutledge was highly influential in the city of Cincinnati’s decision to purchase and rescue the Showboat Majestic, the last original floating showboat, and served as managing director for 17 years. Since his retirement in 1984 he traveled extensively to England as a guest lecturer on theater history and management.

A reception will be held at CCM in the Baur Room at 6 p.m. on April 21, prior to the preview night 8 p.m. performance, to honor Professor Rutledge and his contribution to UC and the theatre world. A small remembrance ceremony and toast will be given at 7 p.m. To RSVP, contact the CCM Box Office at 513-556-4183, or e-mail

Written by William Inge
Richard Hess, director

Paul Rutledge Reception
Wednesday, April 21, 6 p.m.
Baur Room
To RSVP contact the CCM Box Office at 513-556-4183, or e-mail

Performance Dates: April 21-25
Wednesday, April 21, 8 p.m. (preview)
Thursday, April 22, 8 p.m.
Friday, April 23, 8 p.m.
Saturday, April 24, 2:30 & 8 p.m.
Sunday, April 25, 2:30 p.m.

Patricia Corbett Theater
College-Conservatory of Music
University of Cincinnati

$10—preview only
$15 matinee, $17 evening—students
$26 matinee, $28 evening—general public
$10 student rush tickets available for Sat. matinee beginning at 1:30 p.m. on April 24

Ordering and Additional Information:
CCM Box Office: 513-556-4183 or

Mainstage Season Design Sponsor: Macy’s