Jul 21, 2008

*ODDFELLOWS PLAYHOUSE SEEKS NEW MANAGING DIRECTOR*

After 20 years as an Oddfellows kid, staff member, and leader, Dominick Grant is leaving Oddfellows Playhouse, and the Playhouse Board of Directors is beginning a search for a new Managing Director. Grant has been Managing Director for the past 3 years and, together with Artistic Director Jeffery Allen, has been providing dynamic leadership for the organization. He is responsible for Oddfellows’ financial and administrative operations, was one of the founding members of Creative Juice, the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce’s new council for people in the arts and creative industries, and has been active in expanding Oddfellows’ role in the community.

A Playhouse alum who began his association with Oddfellows as a child and later as a member of the Teen Repertory Company, Grant has a long history of advocating for children, education, and social justice. This past season he led the Chatham Court Junior Troupe, one of Oddfellows Neighborhood Troupes, a program of free, after-school arts classes for at-risk youth. Grant served as the Playhouse’s Associate Managing Director and Program Manager before becoming Managing Director and has produced all of the Playhouse’s mainstage productions for the past 5 seasons. He is also an accomplished musician and served as Musical Director for Oddfellows’ 30^th Birthday revival of /Middletown Fantasia/ in 2005.

Grant is leaving his position at the Playhouse to pursue graduate studies but will remain in his capacity as Managing Director until the end of the calendar year. Jeffery Allen, Oddfellows’ Artistic Director, has been appointed Producing Artistic Director by the Board of Directors and will assume new responsibilities for producing Oddfellows’ plays. “I’ve been honored to serve such a great organization that touches the lives of so many different children of all ages in Middletown and beyond,” said Grant. “I’m confident that Oddfellows will continue to grow and thrive under a new leadership team.”

Oddfellows was founded in 1975 as a community-based, multicultural theater program designed to include children from all backgrounds. Today it is Connecticut’s oldest and largest youth theater, annually serving over 2,000 young people, ages 2-20. Oddfellows hopes to hire a new Managing Director by mid-October in order to have a transition period before Grant leaves. For more information, visit www.oddfellows.org.

*THE CHILDREN’S CIRCUS OF MIDDLETOWN PRESENTS “CIRCUS OUT OF THIS WORLD” *

Oddfellows Playhouse and the Middletown Commission on the Arts present “Circus Out of This World,” the spectacular final performance of the 20th annual Children’s Circus of Middletown. This one-time-only show will be presented on Friday, August 1 at 5 pm at Spencer Elementary School.

“Circus Out of This World,” under the direction of Jake Weinstein, tells the tale of a birthday party gone awry, a stolen birthday cake, and a quest to round up all the missing pieces. The show features over 200 young stilters, jugglers, clowns, unicyclists, dancers, and acrobats. Live music is performed by a 15-piece Circus Band, led by well-known local musician Dirck Westervelt.

The Children’s Circus of Middletown is a 5-week half-day program of training in circus skills for young people ages 8 to 14. This is the eighth year of a challenging full-day Advanced Circus Program for 40 veteran circus participants, ages 12-15, to help them take their skills to the next level. The Children’s Circus is part of the City of Middletown’s Kids Arts ‘08, with additional funding from the Middlesex United Way.

Bring a blanket or lawn chair and come and enjoy a gala spectacle that has become a summer tradition. “Circus Out of This World” begins at 5 pm. at Spencer Elementary School, 207 Westfield Street in Middletown. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students and seniors. Rain date for the performance is Saturday, August 2 at 12 noon.

For more information, call (860) 250-5894 or 347-6143.

*ODDFELLOWS** PLAYHOUSE SUMMER SHAKESPEARE ACADEMY** PRESENTS /MEASURE FOR MEASURE /AND /THE TAMING OF THE SHREW/*

**Oddfellows Playhouse Summer Shakespeare Academy presents mainstage performances of the intriguing problem play, /Measure for Measure/, and the romantic comedy, /The Taming of the Shrew/, two of William Shakespeare’s best –loved works, on July 23-26. These productions are the culmination of an intensive 4-week Shakespeare-in-Performance program for high school students and feature 18 talented teenagers from throughout central Connecticut.

/The Taming of the Shrew/, directed by Mariah Sage, and /Measure for Measure/, directed by Jeffery Allen, contrast the brilliance of one of the Bard’s earliest comedies with that of his last. Both deal with issues of power and male dominance in a comic fashion, but with radically different approaches. /The Taming of the Shrew/ presents the volatile courtship and married life of Kate and Petruchio, a play which lampoons chauvinistic behavior while simultaneously reaffirming its social validity. /Measure for Measure/, on the other hand, is a studied satire on the corruption of power, as the novitiate Isabella is faced with an unbearable choice to save her brother’s life.

Oddfellows’ Summer Shakespeare Academy, led by Jeffery Allen, combines training and production for students ages 14-18. Meeting daily from June 30-July 25, the challenging and fun program offers training in acting and movement, stage combat, text analysis, voice, diction, improvisation, and understanding Shakespeare’s historical and cultural background. The last three weeks of the program also include individual coaching and intensive rehearsals.

All performances will be at Oddfellows Playhouse, 128 Washington Street, Middletown. /Measure for Measure /will be performed on July 23 and 25at 7:30 pm; /The Taming of the Shrew/ will be on July 24 and 26 at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for students and seniors. Group rates available. For reservations or more information call Oddfellows Playhouse at (860) 347-6143.//