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Established Broadway veteran named Patricia A. Corbett Distinguished Chair of Musical Theatre at CCM

CCM Alumnus Eric Santagata is the new head of CCM’s nationally recognized Musical Theatre Program

UC College-Conservatory of Music Dean Stanley E. Romanstein has announced the appointment of Eric Santagata to the position of Associate Professor and Patricia A. Corbett Distinguished Chair of Musical Theatre at CCM. A 2004 graduate of CCM’s nationally recognized BFA Musical Theatre program, Santagata’s appointment begins on Aug. 15, 2020.

The appointment of Eric Santagata ushers in an exciting new era for CCM Musical Theatre, which is recognized nationally for its tradition of excellence in preparing our graduates to take their places on the world’s stages.

Stanley Romanstein

Photo of Eric Santagata

Eric Santagata. Photo by Walter McBride.

The Musical Theatre program at CCM was the first of its kind in the country. A four-year bachelor of fine arts (BFA) program, it was used by the National Association of Schools of Theatre in creating the guidelines for accreditation of Musical Theatre programs nationwide. The program is widely recognized for its “triple-threat” approach to training and many of its graduates are following careers as performers and creative artists in every facet of the entertainment industry. The program is regularly ranked near the top of Playbill Magazine’s annual list of “10 Most Represented Colleges on Broadway.”

“A gifted director, teacher and nurturing mentor, Eric is precisely the kind of educator who will lead our top-rated musical theatre training program to even greater heights,” says Denton Yockey, CCM Professor of Arts Administration and Head of the Division of Theatre Arts, Production and Arts Administration (TAPAA).

Santagata’s appointment concludes an extensive national search that began when long-time CCM Musical Theatre Chair Aubrey Berg retired at the end of the 2018-19 academic year after holding the position for 32 years. Yockey chaired the search committee, which consisted of CCM faculty members Diane Lala, Roger Grodsky, Vincent DeGeorge, Richard Hess, Robin Guarino, Mark Halpin, Katie Johannigman, Shauna Steele and UC College of Arts and Sciences faculty member Sharrell Luckett.

“As a musical theatre alumnus, CCM has been crucial in my development as both an educator and an artist,” Santagata says. “The tools and training I honed here have been the backbone of my career. I look forward to having the opportunity to take the knowledge I’ve accrued in the professional entertainment industry and focus it into a curriculum that speaks to the tradition that CCM is founded on, while ushering it into a new era of success.”

An accomplished director, choreographer, performer and educator, Santagata has worked on Broadway, Off-Broadway, on national tours and in regional theaters across the country. He was most recently seen on Broadway in the Hal Prince retrospective Prince Of Broadway at the Manhattan Theater Club. His other performing credits include Bullets Over Broadway at St. James Theatre, Chaplin at Barrymore Theatre, The Apple Tree at Roundabout Theatre Company, Happiness at Lincoln Center Theater, Stairway to Paradise and Face the Music at City Center Encores!.

Santagata has served as associate director to Tony Award-winning director/writer James Lapine in the national tour and Broadway productions of Falsettos — nominated for five Tony Awards — as well as assistant director and choreographer to Lapine in A New Brain at Encores! Off-Center in New York. He has also served as associate director and choreographer to Tony Award-winning director/choreographer Susan Stroman in Off-Broadway productions of The Beast in the Jungle and Dot at Vineyard Theatre as well as Broadway productions of The Scottsboro Boys, which received 12 Tony Award nominations, seven Olivier Award Nominations and the Ned Sherrin Award for Best Musical. In London, Santagata was the associate choreographer on Stroman’s The Scottsboro Boys at the Young Vic and West End theaters.

In addition to his work on stage and behind-the-scenes, Santagata has presented master classes and taught theatre arts at universities and programs across the country including at Penn State STAGES Conference, Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, Orpheum Theater Group, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Oklahoma City University and the Open Jar Institute as well as London’s Mousetrap Theatre Organization. His master classes and talkbacks focus on Santagata’s professional experiences in acting, singing, dancing, directing, choreographing and audition techniques.

He is also an active board member of Westport Country Playhouse’s Resident Conservatory – the Broadway Method Academy, a non-profit program that offers focused training for young adults while connecting them with established industry professionals. He previously served as an adjudicator at the 2017-18 Stephen Sondheim Awards, Connecticut’s Regional Award program in association with the Jimmy Awards and the National High School Musical Theatre Awards; and as a directing mentor during the week-long Staples High School Directing Intensive in Westport, Connecticut.

Santagata is a member of the Screen Actors Guild, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, Actors Equity Association and Stage Directors and Choreographers Society. 

About CCM Musical Theatre

The Musical Theatre program at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) is the oldest in the country and was the first of its kind. A four-year bachelor of fine arts (BFA) program, it was used by the National Association of Schools of Theatre in formulating the guidelines for the accreditation of Musical Theatre programs nationwide.

The program provides professional conservatory training designed to help singers, dancers and actors become accomplished musical theatre performers. Students participate in a number of productions while in residence and create a freshman and a senior showcase, the latter functioning as their New York debut for agents and casting directors. In addition, students undertake courses in English, history, psychology, dramatic literature, social and ethical issues and the humanities.

CCM Musical Theatre is widely recognized for its "triple-threat" approach to training and many of its graduates are following careers as performers and creative artists in every facet of the entertainment industry. CCM Musical Theatre graduates are working on Broadway and throughout the nation in such productions as AnastasiaHamiltonWaitressMoulin RougeThe Phantom of the OperaThe Book of Mormon, Pippin, WickedJersey BoysLes Misérables, Kinky Boots, Big Fish, Newsies and The Lion King. Students represent CCM in national and international touring productions, in dinner theatres and theme parks, on cruise ships, on television, in talent agencies, as producers and in many of the related entertainment fields.

The Musical Theatre program is part of a larger academic division known as TAPAA: Theatre Arts, Production and Arts Administration. At the time of its establishment in 1991, the Patricia A. Corbett Distinguished Chair of Musical Theatre at CCM was the only academic chair of its kind in the United States, the American equivalent of the Chair in Musical Theatre endowed by Cameron Macintosh in honor of Stephen Sondheim at Oxford one year later.

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.

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. For more information about CCM, please visit us online at ccm.uc.edu