Oct 29, 2007


Oddfellows Playhouse Teen Repertory Company opens its 07-08 season with performances of Chavez Ravine by the Chicano/Latino performance troupe, Culture Clash, on November 8-17. Directed by Enza Giannone, Chavez Ravine uses a comic, vaudevillian style to tell the powerful story of the Mexican-American neighborhood displaced by city politics and corporate greed in order to build Dodger Stadium. A cast of 20 talented teens from throughout central Connecticut portrays more than 50 fictional and nonfictional characters to create a play that “moves as swiftly as the Santa Ana winds.”

In the 1840s, City Councilman Julian Chavez purchased land near the center of the Pueblo of Los Angeles. In the early 20th century, Chavez Ravine first sheltered refugees of the 1910 Mexican Revolution and then became a multicultural home to Russian Jews and Italian and Chinese immigrants. By 1950, the Los Angeles City Council designated the area for a new public housing project, and the city forcefully evicted the residents of Chavez Ravine through the process of eminent domain and tore down their houses. The housing project was never built, and in 1959, Dodger Stadium rose on the site that had once been home to hundreds of families.

Chavez Ravine spans the years 1946-1981 but is primarily set in the 1950s. Against a background of urban expansion, political unrest, and anti-communist paranoia, this important play helps spread a message of resistance, community and solidarity.

A “can-can” preview of Chavez Ravine will be performed on November 8 at 7 pm. All tickets are “pay-what-you-can,” and audience members are asked to bring a canned or nonperishable food item for the Amazing Grace food pantry. Additional performances are on November 9 & 10 and 16 & 17 at 7:30 pm. All performances are at Oddfellows Playhouse, 128 Washington Street, in Middletown, CT. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for students and seniors. For more information or reservations, please call (860) 347-6143.

Major support for Oddfellows’ 2007-2008 season comes from the State Department of Education, CT Commission on Culture & Tourism, Middlesex United Way, Middletown Commission on the Arts, The Stare Fund, The J. Walton Bissell Foundation, and the Middletown Foundation for the Arts.


Just in time for the start of its 33rd season, Oddfellows Playhouse has taken on a new look. The elaborate metal marquee on the front of the historic building is now accented with bright red, blue, green, purple, orange, and yellow panels. Middletown artist David Schulz created the colorful geometric motif and carefully integrated it with the original marquee, which was designed and fabricated in 1999 by volunteers at Pratt and Whitney—Middletown. The eye-catching new marquee can be seen from blocks away and will soon become a landmark for kids and audiences who attend Playhouse classes and productions.


Oddfellows Playhouse opens its 33rd season of performing arts classes for young people ages 2 to 20 on August 27th. The focus of this season is “Home”: what it is as a concept, a place, and a driving force in our lives. In addition to its varied line-up of exciting theater classes, Oddfellows plans some special productions of new contemporary plays.

At the heart of the fall season are two mainstage plays; a new play, Chavez Ravine, and a timeless classic, The Grapes of Wrath, which together bring the audience through a culturally and geographically complex search for home. The characters we meet this season are all searching for “home,” from the Joad family moving to a new home and the bleakness around them, to the many incarnations of the Chavez Ravine neighborhood, the current site of Dodger Stadium in LA. The simple word “home” evokes memory, longing, regret, joy, despair, anger and triumph and is a universal need for everyone. These productions will be presented by the Teen Repertory Company (ages 14-20) with auditions being held on September 5 and 6, pre-audition classes On August 27-30 and Sept. 4. Teenagers must take 2 of the 5 free pre-audition classes to be eligible to audition.

There are still places available in the introductory Complete Actor classes for ages 6-14. For students who have already taken the Complete Actor at their age levels, there are classes available in physical theater, advanced acting, and a Stage One mini-production, Peggy the Pint-Sized Pirate, to name a few. All performing arts classes are taught by professional artists and held at Oddfellows Playhouse, 128 Washington Street, Middletown. Financial aid is available to help with tuition costs.

Please visit our website at www.oddfellows.org to view classes by age level or to download our new program brochure. For more information, to sign up for a class or request a 2007-2008 brochure of classes and productions, call (860) 347-6143 or email info@oddfellows.org