CCM alum Shoshana Bean performs in concert for PBS’ 'Stars On Stage From Westport Country Playhouse'

The musical theatre star reflected on her Cincinnati roots on WVXU's Cincinnati Edition

UC College-Conservatory of Music alumna Shoshana Bean (BFA Musical Theatre, '99) is slated to sing in PBS’ Stars On Stage From Westport Country Playhouse on at 9 p.m. EST on Friday, January 14. She recently spoke with John Kiesewetter on WVXU’s Cincinnati Edition about her time at CCM which ultimately led her star in Broadway.

"I ended up auditioning for Cincinnati because when I first moved to Portland, Oregon, when I was 9 years old, I was cast in a professional production of Sunday In The Park With George. They had brought in the leads from Actors' Equity in New York, and I fell head over heels with the leading lady, Pam Meyers," Bean told WVXU.

Pamela Myers (BFA Musical Theatre, '69) — the first graduate of CCM’s Musical Theatre program — continued to be a major influence on Bean, along with CCM Acting Professor Richard Hess, whom she credits with her acceptance into the program. “I knew in my gut Cincinnati was where I was supposed to be,” she added.

Bean describes Hess as her champion during school, providing a safe place for her to explore her artistry. “[Hess] empowers you and gives you space to try things and not be judged for them. I think that’s rare in our profession in general...I think that’s rare in a lot of educational systems,” she said. “Richard is magic that way.”

Bean choked up as the interviewer recalled a quote from Hess about her audition: ‘I knew the moment she opened her mouth to sing that I was in the presence of a rare talent, an enormous vocal powerhouse, a true acting talent. She stopped me in my tracks with her power, nuance, and artistry. I returned to Cincinnati and urged her immediate acceptance, and her CCM journey began.’

Bean’s three independent solo albums have all topped the iTunes R&B and Blues charts in the US and UK, with her fourth and most recent project, SPECTRUM, debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard Jazz charts. She has sold out solo concerts around the globe, lent her voice to countless films and television shows, amassed millions of views on YouTube, and has performed alongside Ariana Grande, David Foster, Postmodern Jukebox, Brian McKnight and Michael Jackson. Bean is a veteran of the Broadway stage having made her debut in the original cast of Hairspray, starring as the very first replacement for Elphaba in Wicked and most recently as Jenna in Waitress. She won a IRNE Award for her performance as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl and earned a Jeff Award nomination for her portrayal of CeeCee Bloom in the pre-Broadway musical production of Beaches.

While this is her first national primetime TV broadcast, Bean is no stranger to screen with a following of over 62,000 YouTube subscribers. The PBS hourlong program consists of tributes to Bean’s idols Barbra Streisand (“People,” “Evergreen,” “Before the Parade Passes By” and more) and Whitney Houston (“I Wanna Dance with Somebody”). Bean performs some of her own original songs, including “1995,” and is joined by special guests Avery Wilson for “All to Me” and Luke Edgemon and Melanie Nyema on “Quittin’ Time.” She closes with “She Used to Be Mine” a song from her role as Jenna in Waitress

The performance premieres at 9 p.m. EST on Friday, January 14 on WCET Arts (Channel 48.3) and KET (Channel 54) with encore broadcasts on WCET Arts Saturday at 8 a.m., 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., and Sunday at 3 p.m. and 10 p.m. It will also be available for viewing through PBS.org and the PBS Video App.

Feature image at the top: Shoshana Bean performing during the PBS special. 
Photo by Carol Rosegg/Courtesy PBS
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Jaime Sharp

CCM Graduate Assistant, Marketing + Communications

Jaime Sharp is a master's student studying Vocal Performance at CCM. She serves as the Vice President of the CCM Graduate Student Association and Student Liaison for the CCM DEI Committee. Jaime holds a bachelor's from the University of Michigan.