May 15, 2008

ODDFELLOWS TRAVELING CIRCUS PERFORMS THE CHEST OF TWO WORLDS

Oddfellows Traveling Circus presents its new show, /The Chest of Two Worlds/, on May 30 at 7 pm and May 31 at 2 and 7 pm. In this story, a magic chest invites two best friends into an enchanted world where they go on a life-changing journey. This fast-paced, 45-minute show is appropriate for all ages and features lots of juggling, unicycling, clowning, stilting, and acrobatics.

Oddfellows Traveling Circus is under the direction of Amy Richmond-Prchal and is made up of veterans of The Children’s Circus of Middletown. This is the first season for this new 12-member ensemble of 12-15 year olds. These young performers exhibit a high level of circus skills that will astonish and delight audience members.

Oddfellows Playhouse is located at 128 Washington Street in Middletown. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students and seniors. For reservations or more information, call Oddfellows Playhouse at (860) 347-6143.

May 13, 2008

*ODDFELLOWS PLAYHOUSE SECOND STAGE PLAYERS PRESENT*

Oddfellows Playhouse Second Stage Players present a mini-production of “A Thousand Cranes,” the inspiring account of a young girl’s courage in the face of personal tragedy. Under the direction of Jane Harris, a cast of 17 talented young actors, ages 9-11, from throughout central Connecticut tells the story of Sadako and how the paper crane became an international symbol of peace.

Sadako was just 2 years when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, and at age 11, she was diagnosed with leukemia, known as the “atom bomb disease.” An ancient Japanese legend says that the gods grant a wish to anyone who can fold 1,000 paper cranes. Sadako’s legacy is that her paper cranes still remind young people to strive for their dreams. During rehearsals for this play, the cast learned to fold the origami paper cranes, and their goal is to fold 1,000 cranes in honor of Sadako and all other brave children who face life-threatening illnesses.

This production is appropriate for all ages. The show runs Friday, May 23 at 7 pm and Saturday, May 24 at 11 am at Oddfellows Playhouse, 128 Washington Street, Middletown. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students and seniors. For more information or reservations, call (860) 347-6143.

*ODDFELLOWS PLAYHOUSE SECOND STAGE PLAYERS PRESENT*

Oddfellows Playhouse Second Stage Players present a mini-production of “A Thousand Cranes,” the inspiring account of a young girl’s courage in the face of personal tragedy. Under the direction of Jane Harris, a cast of 17 talented young actors, ages 9-11, from throughout central Connecticut tells the story of Sadako and how the paper crane became an international symbol of peace.

Sadako was just 2 years when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, and at age 11, she was diagnosed with leukemia, known as the “atom bomb disease.” An ancient Japanese legend says that the gods grant a wish to anyone who can fold 1,000 paper cranes. Sadako’s legacy is that her paper cranes still remind young people to strive for their dreams. During rehearsals for this play, the cast learned to fold the origami paper cranes, and their goal is to fold 1,000 cranes in honor of Sadako and all other brave children who face life-threatening illnesses.

This production is appropriate for all ages. The show runs Friday, May 23 at 7 pm and Saturday, May 24 at 11 am at Oddfellows Playhouse, 128 Washington Street, Middletown. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students and seniors. For more information or reservations, call (860) 347-6143.

*ODDFELLOWS PLAYHOUSE RECEIVES $18,000 ARTS GRANT*

Oddfellows Playhouse has received one of five statewide pilot grants from the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism to offer creative, nonschool arts experiences to underserved youth. With this $18,000 grant, Oddfellows, in partnership with the Middletown Youth Services Bureau, will launch an innovative, 9-month Arts Explorers program that will introduce 24 middle-school students to the visual, literary and performing arts and help them develop a public presentation or performance. The new program will also facilitate their transition from middle school to high school.

Arts Explorers is designed to help middle school students, particularly low-income and minority youth, experience the arts under the mentorship of a professional artist. Middletown Youth Services will spearhead the effort to recruit Middletown students, ages 12-14, in September 2008. From October to December, the young people will try various art forms with Oddfellows artists William A. Foster III, Renee Soares, and Jaime Guite. Then, in January, students will focus intensively on one of the arts to prepare for a public presentation in May. Visual arts will include painting, sculpture, and a variety of mixed media; literary could be a poetry slam, playwriting, a journal or magazine; performing projects will range from dance to music to a play.

Arts Explorers will take place at Oddfellows Playhouse, 128 Washington Street, in Middletown, but students will also take field trips to museum exhibitions, galleries, and theater performances. Middletown Youth Services “Dragons in Action” high school students will serve as teaching assistants for the program. “Through the combined leadership of Oddfellows and the Youth Services Bureau, we are very pleased to be able to bring this innovative arts initiative to the Middletown community,” said Dominick Grant, the Playhouse’s Managing Director.

Oddfellows received this state grant from the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism through a competitive process. The Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism brings together tourism, film, history, and the arts to preserve and promote Connecticut’s cultural and tourism assets in order to enhance the quality of life and economic vitality of the state. Funds for the five pilot grants to benefit underserved youth were made available by Governor M. Jodi Rell and the state legislature.

For more information about the Arts Explorers program, please call Oddfellows Playhouse at (860) 347-6143.

*ODDFELLOWS PLAYHOUSE 2008 SUMMER SHAKESPEARE ACADEMY*

There are still a few places left in Oddfellows Playhouse Summer Shakespeare Academy, an intensive 4-week Shakespeare-in-Performance program for high school students. The program runs from June 30-July 26, 2008 and culminates in fully staged mainstage performances of /The Taming of the Shrew/ and /Measure for Measure/. Directed by Playhouse artistic director Jeffery Allen, the Summer Shakespeare Academy offers a challenging, fun experience for teenagers throughout central Connecticut.

Oddfellows Playhouse is Connecticut’s oldest and largest youth theater with a 33-year history of artistic excellence. The Summer Shakespeare Academy meets weekdays, 9 am to 3:30 pm, starting Monday, June 30 and combines rigorous actor training directly connected to the performance of full-length Shakespeare plays. The first week will focus on understanding the historical and cultural background of Shakespeare’s world, text analysis, and casting of the plays. Each participant will be cast in a significant role in either /The Taming of the Shrew/ or /Measure for Measure/ and a supporting role in the other production. Students who wish to participate but do not want the responsibility of a major role will be cast in both plays in a supporting role. Weeks 2 and 3 will focus on voice and movement, stage combat, and character work in the mornings and rehearsals in the afternoons. Week 4 will start with technical and dress rehearsals, followed by 4 performances on July 23-26..

The Academy is open to anyone ages 14 to 18 who has completed 9^th grade. Enrollment is by application and audition. Auditions are by appointment. To audition, students should prepare and memorize a short Shakespeare monologue from 12-20 lines.

The Summer Shakespeare Academy will take place at Oddfellows Playhouse, 128 Washington Street, Middletown. Enrollment is limited to 25. Tuition is $650 for the entire program; limited financial aid is available

For more information or to receive an application form and schedule an audition, call Oddfellows Playhouse at (860) 347-6143 or email jeffery@oddfellows.org.

*SALTAMONTES PUPPET THEATER PERFORMS AT ODDFELLOWS PLAYHOUSE *

*Saltamontes Puppet Theater *is hopping across the ocean to Middletown, Connecticut with its award-winning show, */Babui/*. See the show on *Sunday, May 4 at 3 p.m. at* *Oddfellows Playhouse. *Saltamontes invites children and adults of all ages to enjoy this inventive, mostly nonverbal show.

Actors, puppets, movement, and music tell this story about love, care and cooperation. The puppeteer/actors arrive a bit late carrying a big box of puppets. The box is opened, but it is practically empty except for a book, an egg and old newspaper. The puppeteers are astonished and worried. This is the wrong box, but THE SHOW MUST GO ON! Using the book as a guide, the two actors work together to create a new show on the spot. The newspaper is turned into puppets and props, and the egg becomes the focus of each puppet. What could be in that egg and how to hatch it?

Saltamontes Puppet Theater was founded in 1994 in Bogotá (Colombia). In July 1998, the Theater moved to Connecticut and worked there until mid-2004. Since August 2004, Saltamontes Puppet Theater finds its home in Cham, Bavaria, Germany. /Babui/ premiered in April 2006 and has continued to delight audiences since then. This is /Babui/'s first tour of the United States.


Oddfellows Playhouse is located at 128 Washington Street (Route 66) in Middletown. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for children, but no one is turned away for financial reasons. For more information, contact Amy Weinstein at (860) 645-9532 or email weinstein@puppets-on-demand.de.

ODDFELLOWS PLAYHOUSE PRESENTS THE LARAMIE PROJECT

Oddfellows Playhouse Teen Repertory Company presents a mainstage production of /The Laramie Project/ by Moises Kaufman and the Tectonic Theater Company from May 1-10. Missy Waryas directs a cast of 19 talented teens from across central Connecticut in this powerful story of brutal murder and great revelations—about our nation, our ideas, and ourselves.

On October 7, 1998, Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old, openly gay, University of Wyoming student was kidnapped, driven to a remote area, tied to a fence, brutally beaten, and left to die. For five days, he fought to hold onto life, but on October 12, just 50 days short of his 22nd birthday, Matthew Shepard died. Four weeks later, Moises Kaufman and the Tectonic Theater Project traveled to Laramie. The company subsequently visited the town six times and interviewed hundreds of people. /The Laramie Project/ presents the culmination of these interviews, and at its core, the play spreads a message of peace and illustrates how a town deals with and recovers from tragedy.


Support for Oddfellows Playhouse 2007-08 season comes from the CT State Department of Education, the CT Commission on Culture & Tourism, Middlesex United Way, the J. Walton Bissell Foundation, The Stare Fund, the Middletown Commission on the Arts, and the Middletown Foundation for the Arts.

/The Laramie Project/ previews at Oddfellows Playhouse at 128 Washington Street in Middletown on Thursday, May 1 at 7 pm, with a “can-can” performance (pay-what-you-can and bring a can for the Amazing Grace food pantry). Additional performances are on May 2, 3, 9, and 10 at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $10 adults and $7 students and seniors. For more information or to reserve tickets, call (860) 347-6143.

ODDFELLOWS PLAYHOUSE PRESENTS THE LARAMIE PROJECT

Oddfellows Playhouse Teen Repertory Company presents a mainstage production of /The Laramie Project/ by Moises Kaufman and the Tectonic Theater Company from May 1-10. Missy Waryas directs a cast of 19 talented teens from across central Connecticut in this powerful story of brutal murder and great revelations—about our nation, our ideas, and ourselves.

On October 7, 1998, Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old, openly gay, University of Wyoming student was kidnapped, driven to a remote area, tied to a fence, brutally beaten, and left to die. For five days, he fought to hold onto life, but on October 12, just 50 days short of his 22nd birthday, Matthew Shepard died. Four weeks later, Moises Kaufman and the Tectonic Theater Project traveled to Laramie. The company subsequently visited the town six times and interviewed hundreds of people. /The Laramie Project/ presents the culmination of these interviews, and at its core, the play spreads a message of peace and illustrates how a town deals with and recovers from tragedy.


Support for Oddfellows Playhouse 2007-08 season comes from the CT State Department of Education, the CT Commission on Culture & Tourism, Middlesex United Way, the J. Walton Bissell Foundation, The Stare Fund, the Middletown Commission on the Arts, and the Middletown Foundation for the Arts.

/The Laramie Project/ previews at Oddfellows Playhouse at 128 Washington Street in Middletown on Thursday, May 1 at 7 pm, with a “can-can” performance (pay-what-you-can and bring a can for the Amazing Grace food pantry). Additional performances are on May 2, 3, 9, and 10 at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $10 adults and $7 students and seniors. For more information or to reserve tickets, call (860) 347-6143.

*ODDFELLOWS PLAYHOUSE PRESENTS /ANON(YMOUS)/*

Oddfellows Playhouse Teen Repertory Company presents a mainstage production of /Anon(ymous)/, Naomi Iizuka’s modern retelling of Homer’s /Odyssey/, from April 10-19. Artistic Director Jeffery Allen directs a cast of 18 talented teens from across central Connecticut in this extraordinary new work that traces the journey of a nameless hero seeking to return home.

Anon, a teen immigrant with no name, washes up on the shores of the United States and begins a quest that leads him through the sometimes harsh landscape that is modern-day America. Along the way he survives encounters with greedy politicians, ghosts, a cannibalistic Cyclops, and other dangers of mythological proportions. Guided by a goddess, Anon is trying to get back to the mother he lost. She is “home,” and she turns out to be much closer than our hero believes.

/Anon(ymous)/ was first performed in April 2006 by The Children’s Theatre Company of Minneapolis and continues Oddfellows’ dedication to bringing the best of modern theater to Middletown. This show is most suitable for those ages 8 and up.

Support for Oddfellows Playhouse 2007-08 season comes from the CT State Department of Education, the CT Commission on Culture & Tourism, Middlesex United Way, the J. Walton Bissell Foundation, The Stare Fund, the Middletown Commission on the Arts, and the Middletown Foundation for the Arts.

/Anon(ymous)/ previews at Oddfellows Playhouse at 128 Washington Street in Middletown on Thursday, April 10 at 7 pm, with a “can-can” performance (pay-what-you-can and bring a can for the Amazing Grace food pantry). Additional performances are on April 11, 12, 18, and 19 at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $10 adults and $7 students and seniors. For more information or to reserve tickets, call (860) 347-6143.