Title: Professor of Acting; A.B., Dolly, Ralph and Julia Cohen Chair of Dramatic Performance
Office: 3704 Corbett Cntr Perform Arts
Richard E. Hess has been Chair of CCM Drama for the past 23 years. Recent directing credits at CCM include Pentecost, The Heidi Chronicles, Speech and Debate, The Crucible, The Laramie Project, Coram Boy, RENT, You Can’t Take It With You (ACCLAIM Award winner Outstanding University Play), Anon(ymous) (ACCLAIM Award winner Outstanding Play), Brigadoon (Cincinnati Entertainment Award for Outstanding Musical) and Tony Kushner's Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches (CEA for Best Ensemble Acting).
He made his New York directing debut at the Laurie Beechman Theatre on 42nd Street directing AN EVENING OF (Mostly) TRUE SONGS (with Andrea Burns), a new incarnation of Don't Look Down, the music and lyrics of Adam Wagner, first seen in the Cincinnati Fringe Festival. Favorite directing credits at the Human Race Theatre Co., where he has been a resident artist since 1996, include Race, Red, Doubt, Proof, I Am My Own Wife and A Delicate Balance. He directs On Golden Pond for the Human Race in April of 2017. Other credits include the Los Angeles staging of the one-woman show Besame Mucho, O.K. That's Enough (with Diana Maria Riva), and the smash hits The Pages of My Diary I'd Rather Not Read and The Catholic Girl's Guide to Losing Your Virginity, both of which enjoyed sold out runs at the Hudson Theatre in LA. For five years Hess was the artistic director of Hot Summer Nights in Cincinnati, where he directed Violet (with Ashley Brown), Hello, Dolly! (with Pamela Myers), Godspell (with Shoshana Bean and Leslie Kritzer) and the premiere of We Tell The Story: The Songs of Ahrens and Flaherty, in collaboration with Stephen Flaherty.
He studied with the internationally acclaimed director Anne Bogart and members of the Saratoga International Theatre Institute in New York and Los Angeles for the past two decades. He has taught Viewpoints master classes in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Nairobi, Kenya, Tallinn and Tartu, Estonia, and across the US. He has worked with KNOW Theatre, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, the Chautauqua Institution, Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestras and Cincinnati Opera Education. He is proud of fostering the new work of playwrights, and has directed first productions of Richard Oberacker and Rob Taylor’s Don’t Make Me Pull This Show Over: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Parenting, Mark Halpin’s The Kid in the Dark, Ben Magnuson's Four Minutes and Tom Korbee's Will It Ever Stop Raining?
He made his debut as a playwright/creator in the Cincinnati Fringe Festival with (UN)Natural Disaster, created with 13 actors, performed in an abandoned building in Over-the-Rhine, and named the Producer's Pick of the Fringe. (UN)Natural Disaster was re-mounted on the 2010 New York International Fringe Festival. He directed a devised original piece about etiquette called Naked Strangers for the 2016 Cincinnati Fringe Festival.
In June of 2011 Hess directed The Collapsible Space Between Us with the Dadaab Theater Project, comprised of 5 CCM Drama students, which was presented with 8 refugees from the Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya for World Refugee Day sponsored by the United Nations in Nairobi, Kenya. He returned to Kenya as a Fulbright Scholar in 2014 and taught acting and directing at Kenyatta University in Nairobi and researched the creation of original works by creating the KUMI NA MBILI (12) stage show and short film.
Hess was named Ernest Glover Outstanding Teacher at UC in 1999 and 2012 and was named the ACCLAIM Award Theatre Trailblazer in 2009. He is an associate member of the Society of Directors and Choreographers.