CCM Acting Class of 2020 presents Virtual Senior Showcase

Watch a collection of five scenes showcasing the talents of CCM Acting’s Class of 2020

The Acting Department at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM Acting) proudly presents its first Virtual Senior Showcase. Although the COVID-19 novel coronavirus prevented CCM Acting from holding its customary Senior Showcases for agents and casting directors in New York and Los Angeles this spring, the program’s new Virtual Senior Showcase allows industry insiders and the general public to see this year’s seniors in action.

The Virtual Showcase includes five video scenes and voice-over demos showcasing the talents of CCM Acting’s Class of 2020. Directed by Professor D’Arcy Smith, the A.B., Dolly, Ralph and Julia Cohen Chair in Acting at CCM, the video scenes feature students performing excerpts from TV programs, films and plays including “227,” “Pretty Little Liars,” “Pysch” and “Embers” along with an excerpt of "My So-Called Gay Life" written by CCM Acting student Abby Palen. A collaboration with CCM’s Electronic Media program, the CCM Acting Virtual Senior Showcase features the work of E-Media majors Caleb Smiley and Carlos Herriott II. Viewer discretion is advised; this video features strong language and mature content.

The voice-over demos from each student are available in the student bios below and online at CCM's SoundCloud.

“Although we’ve transitioned to remote operations, we remain committed to our ongoing academic and artistic missions,” says Smith. “Our senior Acting students have put in countless hours preparing for their industry debuts in this year’s Senior Showcase and they deserve to have their time in the spotlight. They should be very proud of everything that they have accomplished, and we are happy to present this video snapshot of their talent for the entire world to enjoy.”

Get to know the graduating seniors by reading their professional summaries below!

Get to know CCM Acting's Class of 2020

CCM Acting senior Chandler Bates

Chandler Bates is a recent graduate from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music with a BFA in Acting. Originally from Dallas, Texas, she has a rich background in singing and musical theatre. While at CCM, she has found great passion for Shakespeare, directing, improv and stage combat. Some of her favorite roles include, John in Cock, Heather in American Idiot, Jessica Goldman in This Is Our Youth, Meg Long and Reverend Johnson in Our Country’s Good and Hospital Director in The Government Inspector. Driven to explore female aggression, anger and passion on stage, Chandler’s stage combat training includes certifications in unarmed, rapier and dagger and single sword. Outside of performance, Chandler enjoys graphic design, painting and baking for her friends. For more information, check out Bates’ professional website.

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[Soft, ambiant music]. Coffee pleasure is no accident. It must be deliberately created, consistently and without compromise, cup after cup. You can thank us in the morning. [Tone: sensual/tastes].

[Upbeat music]. Hospitality comes standard. Fees don’t. That’s why every low fare comes with two bags free and no fees to change your flight. That’s what we call #Transfarency. [Tone: conversational.]

[Romantic jazz music]. He asked, I said yes! A promise to last a lifetime and a ring to match. [Tone: heartwarming].

Sweeten a tea, a cup of coffee. [Sip]. Hot or cold. Sprinkle it on your cereal, add some sparkle to your muffins. Cook and bake with it too. [Romantic R & B music]. Whatever you do, just do it with sugar in the raw. [Tone: comic/neurotic].

[Upbeat music with drums]. I’m going farther, faster. I’m defying the odds, and you’re gonna know my name. Keep up. [Tone: inspiring].

Photo of CCM Acting student Jabari Carter

Jabari Carter (he/him/his) is an Atlanta native and recent graduate of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music Acting program. He sees acting as a tool that allows him to stretch his empathy and understanding of the human condition. It is an art that fills him with hope and helps him become a better person. His recent stage and film works include: The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Nighttime (Christopher), Our Country’s Good (Captain Phillip) The Tempest (Caliban), Romeo and Juliet (Rosencrantz), Woodrow (CCM 48-Hour Film Festival), Anymore and Grey films produced by Pajama Island Productions.  For more information, visit Carter’s professional website.

[Animal sounds and upbeat African drum music]. What’s as strong as an elephant, stinks like a skunk and can see in the dark? Find out next on Discovery Kids! [Tone: high energy].

[Romantic music]. Arby’s new ultimate angus philly. Premium angus beef, oven roasted and piled high. With hot melted swiss, it could be the best philly outside Philly. [Tone: sensual].

[Ukelele music]. At Alaska Airlines, you'll never fight for a seat. [Boxing ring ding]. Maybe that's because we give you one when you book your flight. [Tone: conversational].

[Dramatic piano music]. What makes a gift unforgettable? What makes a single moment a lifetime memory? AA Diamonds — timeless treasures to adorn life’s hallmark moments. [Tone: heartwarming].

[Music with whistling]. This is Bob. ["Huh?"] Bob is an idiot. Bob makes mistakes. [Crash]. A lot of them. He may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but even an airhead like Bob knows he needs protection. Geico. Stay smart. [Tone: comic].

[Upbeat music] This place is made for those who do more than just vacation, its made for those who vacation like they mean it! Universal Orlando Resort. [Tone: inspiring.]

Photo of CCM Acting student Zoe Cotzias

Zoe Cotzias is a recent graduate of The University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music’s BFA Acting Program (CCM). While at CCM, she played Lady Windermere in Lady Windermere’s Fan, Marya in The Government Inspector and originated the role of Amber in the world premiere of MJ Kaufman’s Association of Controlled Dreamers. Outside of CCM, her credits include: Hall in Men on Boats (Cincinnati’s Liberty Exhibition Hall), and Julie in Oblivion (Richmond, Virginia’s TheatreLAB). Some of her favorite film credits include Highsock productions’ The Tinder Date and award-winning Casper, along with CCM E-Media’s Want. She is a trained actor-combatant and has certificates from the SAFD in Unarmed stage combat and Rapier and Dagger. When not acting, Zoe loves singing, songwriting, guitar playing, directing, knitting and spending time with friends. Learn more on Cotzias’ professional website.

[Upbeat guitar music]. Summer’s really heating up with our biggest event under the sun. Save up to 70 percent on a great selection of mens', kids' and ladies' apparel and footwear. [Tone: high energy/upbeat].

[Ukelele music]. I’d study hard, but I’d freeze on tests. Sylvan would help me change that and their flexible hours even fit into my crazy cheerleading schedule. [Tone: conversational].

[Upbeat electronic music]. What does beauty feel like? And where does it begin? It begins with your skin. Reveal goddess skin with Venus Embrace. [Tone: sensual].

Mom? Hi. I had a very minor fender bender tonight in an unreasonably narrow drive-thru lane. But did you know our Allstate insurance has accident forgiveness? Which is so smart on your guy’s part — like the fact that they’ll just forgive you. [Tone: character/comic].

[Piano music]. Go ahead, make a wish. At Disney, we believe a dream is a wish your heart makes. [Tone: heartwarming].

[Upbeat electronic music]. Sweat is more than perspiration. It’s an investment — in your future, in yourself. So let it drip. [Tone: inspiring/aggressive]. 

Photo of CCM Acting student Matt Patrick Fox

After graduating from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Matt Patrick Fox is eager to make his way in the world. Originally from Cleveland, Matt takes his profession very seriously, unlike himself. After studying singing and improvisation since the age of 12 at Baldwin Wallace University and Something Dada Cleveland Improv respectively, Matt was ready to expand his acting training. In Cincinnati, Matt has booked commercial and print work with Kroger, Giant Eagle and the Concussion Legacy Foundation as well as a supporting role in the indie comedy, Our Scripted Life, which is currently racking up awards on the festival circuit. Matt has a pronounced passion for comedy and improvisation. While in school, Matt was the youngest member of three professional Cincinnati improv troupes simultaneously, including Cin City Comedy, Improv Cincinnati and Hot Mic Musical Improv. For more information, visit Fox’s professional website.

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[Soft, ambiant music]. Farmland bacon is bacon that’s slow smoked over real hardwood hickory chips. Trust us. It’s worth the early rise.

[Upbeat guitar music]. When you eat Cheerios, you do your heart some good. Sweetened whole grain oat cereal with real honey can help lower your cholesterol.

[Romantic piano music]. Being in love is an amazing thing. Being in love with your best friend, is everything. Ever Us. The diamond for the woman who’s both.

[Music]. New Lego Castle! The evil dragon [Dragon roar] craves all the gold in the world. Now you can build the king’s mighty castle to defeat the dragon, protect the gold and save the kingdom.

To slow down the buying frenzy of our delicious pudding, our intern Jared will now use charades rather than verbal language. Oh oh oh oh! Is it 100 percent natural flavors and a good source of vitamin D? [Ding, ding, ding]. Man, I’m good.

[Screeching tire]. Look out! It’s a student driver! Run for your lives!

It’s kind of a bummer that everyone’s become flesh eating zombies. I still see my neighbors around though, but it’s not the same. [Zombie growling]. Hi, Mr. Jacobson.

[Gunfire noises]. You’ll never understand. We’re Marines, and I’m not leaving him. Cover me! I’m going in!

[Computer beeps and noises]. The vortex would rip the ship apart like grated cheese, but my molecular stabilizer should ensure a pleasant passage.

[Police sirens]. Hey it’s him! You ain’t getting away like last time pal. Heh. You’re gonna pay.

I should have listened to you. You tried to make me a leader and I failed you.

[Laughing] I don’t want you’re money, no. I want you to be taught a lesson. [Gun click]. A very painful lesson.

[Whimsical music]. I fell asleep in my hot tub last night and I woke up with the bubbles turned off and a family of racoons licking my extremely pruned body. Tuesdays, amirite?

Animals! What do you think? [Animal noises of a monkey, duck, sheep, chicken and seagull].

[Ominous music]. This just in! A giant 85-foot infant is waddling his way through downtown Manhattan. And to make matters worse… he’s in need of a diaper change!

Photo of CCM Acting student Paige Jordan

Paige Lindsay Jordan was born in a box of glitter, and has been shining ever since. She hails from the South Side of Chicago and is a recent graduate of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Throughout her career, some of her favorite roles include Motormouth Maybelle in Hairspray, as well as Mrs. Dickson in Intimate Apparel. Credits at CCM include Svetsunov in The Government Inspector, as well as originating the role of Vera in The Association of Controlled Dreamers. Random things that make her happy? Glitter, fitness, poetry and sassing around to Beyoncé. She would like to thank her family and friends, for they have paved the way to let her flourish! Want more? Follow her on Instagram @paigestellamars and visit her professional website.

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[Romantic music]. You cooked a romantic dinner ... in just an apron and heels. Live to MYXbehave. MYXfusions Moscato. [Tone: sensual/taste].

[Upbeat electronic music]. Once the Latin and world rhythms take over, you'll see why Zumba​®Fitness classes are often called exercise in disguise. Super effective? Check. Super fun? Check and check. [Tone: conversational]. 

[Music]. Bye bye before! You’ll be amazed at what you can eat on weight watchers! We help you create healthy habits and a healthy YOU. [Tone: heartwarming].

[Upbeat music]. Im not a size. Im not a stereotype. I want workout clothes that fit who I am. Champion Athletic Wear, made to fit real women. [Tone: inspiring]. 

[Upbeat music]. I scream, you scream, the police come [Police siren] ... its awkward .... Ben and Jerrys. Available in the freezer section. [Tone: comic/neurotic].

Photo of CCM Acting student Briley Oakley

Born and raised in Henderson, Nevada, Briley Oakley is an artist who is fiercely passionate about people and human connection. Her desire to create with like-minded individuals led her to continue her studies as a BFA Acting Major at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Her recent credits at CCM are Lady Plymdale in Lady Windermere’s Fan and Social Media in the world premiere of Association of Controlled Dreamers. Some of her film credits include: Award-Winning Short Integration with Highsock Productions and Bad Dates with Pajama Island Productions. Briley also works her magic behind the camera as a Director and Producer on many film projects. Her latest short Glimpses was a selection for the 2019 Cindependent Film Festival. Briley is a strong leader with a big heart, and she is excited for you to join her on this journey! Learn more on Oakley’s professional website.

[Ukelele music]. Earn twice the rewards with the Citi Double Cash Card. That means you get one percent cashback on purchases and another one percent as you pay. Time to double up and welcome what’s next. [Tone: positive/high energy].

[Romantic piano music]. Luxurious, romantic, timeless. Eternity by Calvin Klein. [Tone: sensual/tastes/secret].

[Rock music]. We’re not our parents’ generation. We don’t take no for an answer. So, we’re leading the mobile revolution. It’s time to fight for truly unlimited talk and text. [Tone: aggressive/inspiring]. 

[Outdoor sounds of birds and wind]. Claritin relieves even my worst allergy symptoms. My congestion, my sneezing and my sinus pressure. That’s why I use Claritin D. [Tone: conversational]. 

[Romantic music]. She is your strength. She is your biggest fan and she deserves the world. Show your mom how much she means to you this Mother’s Day with help from Kay Jewelers. [Tone: heartwarming]. 

[Upbeat music]. Ally shared her recipe with Tina, who texted it to Stacy, who shared it with Lily who wondered why her cookies didn’t taste the same. The recipe is not the recipe without Tollhouse Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chunks. [Tone: comic/quirky/neurotic]. 

Headshots by Gary Barragan Photography /

Abby Palen is a recent graduate from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, earning a BFA in Acting. They believe in pursuing the “secret joys behind the hard truths”, and have done so with many artistic endeavors. Highlights include Moving the Mountain (An original one person show headed on a national tour in May 2020), The Aesthetics of Joy Gallery (an inclusive endeavor involving 10 artists, 15 musicians and five aesthetics of joy) and Clifton Fallfest (an underground D.I.Y music festival). Acting credits include Our Country’s Good (Liz) at CCM, Clybourne Park (Bev) at CCM, Crossing the Horizon (Lou) at Ensemble Theatre, The Secret Life of Bros (Trish) at the Cincinnati LAB Theatre and Black and White (Protestor) at the Cincy Fringe Festival. Directing credits including Moving the Mountain (Theatre), The Aliens (Theatre), The Importance of Being Earnest (Theatre) and Woodrow (Film). “To connect with our vulnerability is to find power, to find humanity.” For more information, visit Palen’s professional website.

[Classroom sounds of children talking]. I teach third graders ... and I get disorganized. [Upbeat music]. Get a jump on the school year by having the right teacher supplies. With help, me and my students got right back on the learning bus. [Tone: comic/neurotic]. 

[R & B music]. Warm cocoa, cold night, cozy sweaters. That's right. Sweaters. [Tone: sensual].

[Mall sounds of people talking and shopping]. You don’t look like the models on the TV? No problem. That isn’t a requirement to shop at our store. We aren’t selling clothes for the perfect body. We’re selling clothes for your body. [Tone: conversational]. 

[Soft, ambiant music]. We believe good things come from people spending time outside. It's more than standing on the mountain top. It's about protecting what sustains us. It's about building relationships with the outdoors and each other. [Tone: heartwarming]. 

[Upbeat drum music]. The force of nature is a force in you. Be a powerful force. Nature Bar. [Tone: inspiring]. 

[Upbeat music]. We’re back! We never left, but we’re back! Get back to biking. [Tone: energetic and upbeat].

Headshots by Gary Barragan Photography /

Madison Pullman is a fiery, creative and passionate actor from Chicago. Growing up, she worked with A Red Orchid Theater, Piven Theater, American Theater Company, among others. Madison recently graduated from the University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music with a BFA in Acting. Some recent credits include: Eurydice in Eurydice, Lindsey in Clybourne Park, Bernadette in Lemons, Lemons, Lemons, Lemons, Lemons, among others. She has a love for improv, acting on stage and on camera, stage combat and voice over work. When she's not acting, she enjoys traveling, listening to live music and spending time outdoors. Madison has a genuine love for others and can’t wait to share this new chapter of her life with everyone. Learn more on Pullman’s professional website.

[Upbeat electronic music]. I love this song! You have to download this app. Spotify has music for everyone. Millions of songs. No credit card needed. [Tone: high energy/upbeat].

[Romantic music]. Savor the pleasure of Hershey’s Kisses chocolate because every day deserves a kiss. [Tone: taste/sensual]. 

[School bell rings]. She was like, “What?,” and I was like, “Yeah,” and she was like, “When?,” and I was like “Last week," and then she was like, “Where?,” and I was like, “Where else?, Urban Outfitters." [Tone: conversational]. 

[Soft, ambiant music]. We all have to leave home at some point, but Skype can help me stay close to my parents when I’m at school or even while I’m traveling. So, log in now because they’re only one call away. [Tone: heartwarming].

[Tattoo pen buzz]. There’s no greater decision than one that’s permanent, so when you’re choosing where to get your ink, ["Ah! Mommy!"] make sure to check out the reviews on Yelp. [Tone: comic].

[Upbeat music]. Interviews don’t have to be scary. Five-Hour Energy gives you the kick you need, separating you from hundreds of applicants. Get bold. Get energized. [Tone: inspiring/aggressive]. 

Headshots by Gary Barragan Photography /

Jack Steiner is a hilarious ball of creativity who recently graduated with a BFA in Acting from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. He is more than ready to dive into the wide artistic world and continue to put his education to work. Some of his favorite and most notable roles include Ralph in Our Country's Good, Edmund in King Lear, Ethan Jeffery in the world premier of The Earth Is Flat, and Lee in True West. His second love is travel and exploration, and has done well to put as much travel into his education as possible, flying to Europe for four consecutive summers to study Shakespearean and other classical acting techniques from some of the best teachers in the world. Programs such as the British American Drama Academy (Oxford, England) and The Berridge Conservatory (Normandy, France) have shown him the power of broadening your horizons and letting the world fill you with new knowledge and perspectives. Jack is also passionate about the art of film acting, improv and stage combat. He is certified in unarmed stage combat as well as rapier dagger, and has been “Fight Captain” for two mainstage productions at CCM. Outside of the world of acting, Jack enjoys painting and hiking in his beautiful home town of Olympia, Washington. For more information, visit Steiner’s professional website.

[Upbeat music]. New Kidz Bop 46! Kidz bop has all the hottest tracks you've been looking for! Stay fresh, stay fun, stay Kidz Bop. [Tone: upbeat].

[Guitar music] Made with white meat chicken, our Chicken Fries are coated in a light crispy breading seasoned with savory spices and herbs. Chicken Fries — a fan favorite. [Tone: taste/sensual].

​[Sounds of people talking at a restuarant]. New date? Nothing wrong with being a little nervous, until you start sweating through your shirt. [Upbeat music]. When life starts to heat up, you need something to keep you cool. Don't sweat it. [Tone: conversational]. 

[Police sirens and outside noises]. Hello? Dad? Yeah, Im okay ... I'm sorry about the car. It’s a good thing we have insurance. Love you too. [Tone: heartwarming].

Dude, you forgot to get groceries again! All that's left is... [Gasp] Totino's Pizza Rolls! [Tone: comedic].

[Upbeat guitar music]. Team Up. Thrown Down. Create the ultimate co-op skateboarding experience, it's up to you to build the ultimate team and change the face of the city. [Tone: inspiring/aggressive]. 

Headshot of Deborah Neiheisel-DeZarn

Deborah Neiheisel-DeZarn

Theatre Arts Program Manager, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music


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