Nov 20, 2008


Oddfellows Playhouse Teen Repertory Company presents a mainstage production of /The Threepenny Opera/, Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s ground-breaking work of musical theater on December 4-20. Directed by Missy Burmeister, a cast of 20 talented teens from throughout central Connecticut tells the legendary tale of the notorious criminal and gentleman, Mack the Knife. A pit band under the direction of Joseph Getter recreates Weill’s innovative music and memorable songs.

A milestone of 20th-century musical theater, /The Threepenny Opera/ was first presented in Berlin in 1928 and transformed old-fashioned operetta forms with a sharp political perspective and the sound of Berlin cabarets. Oddfellows Teen Repertory Company skillfully interprets Bertolt Brecht’s biting text and Kurt Weill’s acid harmonies in this opera “by and for beggars” that captures the contradictions of man’s existence—love, treachery, betrayal, redemption and improbable forgiveness.

A “can-can” preview of /The Threepenny Opera/ will be performed on December 4 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 December 5 & 6, 12 & 13, and 19 & 20 at 7:30 pm. All performances are at Oddfellows Playhouse, 128 Washington Street, in Middletown, CT. Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for students and seniors. For more information or reservations, please call (860) 347-6143.

Major support for Oddfellows’ 2008-2009 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.

Nov 6, 2008


After an extensive search, Oddfellows Playhouse Board of Directors has named Matthew J. Pugliese as the organization’s new Managing Director. Pugliese succeeds Dominick Grant, who is leaving to pursue long-standing interests in environmental preservation, clean energy, and sustainable business practices.

“I am particularly excited that Matt Pugliese--a seasoned Oddfellows teaching artist, who has worked extensively with the Teen Rep and Neighborhood Troupes -- will take up the torch and work with the board, staff, parents, students and many community partners to build and grow an even stronger Oddfellows,” said Grant. “Matt’s commitment to Oddfellows’ mission and his leadership skills makes him a great fit for this position.”

A Middletown native, Pugliese has a long history of working with Oddfellows, where he has been a director, a teaching artist, and a leader of one of Oddfellows’ Neighborhood Troupes, a free weekly program serving children from low-income housing areas. He directed last season’s Teen Repertory Company mainstage production of /The Grapes of Wrath/ and previously directed /Nuevo California /and /The Dining Room/. Pugliese led the Chatham Court Tiny Troupe (ages 5-7) for two years and worked closed with the Maplewood Terrace and Chatham Court Senior Troupes on the mainstage production of /Spoon River Anthology/. Pugliese has also served as the Lead Teaching Artist for Oddfellows’ satellite programs in the schools and as an instructor for the Summer Shakespeare Academy.

For the past three years, Pugliese has served as Production Manager and Director of Educational Programming at Ivoryton Playhouse. During this time, the Ivoryton Playhouse received 6 nominations and 2 awards from the Connecticut Critics Circle and brought challenging adaptations of Shakespeare's /Romeo & Juliet/ and /Julius Caesar/ to the stage for area high schools. In addition to managing production budgets and staff, Pugliese successfully implemented a number of fundraising initiatives, including the first annual appeal drive for Ivoryton.

An alum of Xavier High School, Pugliese graduated magna cum laude with a BA in Theatre Studies from UCONN and completed an artistic internship at Hartford Stage Company. He is a founding member of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce Arts and Creative Industry Council. He will complete a graduate certificate in Non-Profit Management through UCONN's Master's in Public Administration program in the spring.

Pugliese will work with Oddfellows’ present Managing Director Dominick Grant during November and December to insure a smooth transition and will assume full responsibility for the position on January 1, 2009.

For more information about Oddfellows Playhouse and its programs, call (860) 347-6143.