Nov 19, 2009

ODDFELLOWS PLAYHOUSE PLANS 35TH BIRTHDAY BENEFIT

DATES OF EVENT: JUNE 17, 2010

CONTACT: SUSAN BROWN OR MATT PUGLIESE, (860) 347-6143

Save the date! Oddfellows Playhouse, Connecticut’s oldest and largest youth theater, will mark a major milestone in its history, its 35th birthday, with a gala celebration and fundraiser on Thursday, June 17 at St. Clement’s Castle in Portland. This benefit for Oddfellows will feature the presentation of Oddfellows’ 1st Distinguished Alumni Award, great food, live and silent auctions, and much more.

Working with Oddfellows’ Board of Directors and staff in organizing this fun-filled evening is a stellar Honorary Board of distinguished civic and business leaders: Larry McHugh, President of the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce; Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro; Congressman John Larson; Mayor Sebastian Giuliano; CT Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz; Mark Masselli, President/CEO of the Community Health Center; Rich Barry, President of Citizens Bank CT; Chandler Howard, President/CEO of Liberty Bank; Michael Roth, President of Wesleyan University; Wilfredo Nieves, President of Middlesex Community College; and Dr. Arthur “Bud” McDowell, Director of Medicine, at Middlesex Hospital.

In 1975, three Wesleyan University students with a commitment to creating high-quality theater and helping kids founded Oddfellows. They believed that by exposing kids to the magic of theater in a supportive, noncompetitive, yet challenging, environment, youngsters would learn skills that would last a lifetime and get to know kids from many different backgrounds. Thirty-five years later, we have succeeded beyond all expectations. Tens of thousands of young people – from ages 2 to 20 – from throughout central Connecticut have participated in Oddfellows after-school and summer classes and productions. Not only do the kids have a joyful experience, but they also come away with enhanced life skills and a sense of empowerment as a result of having successfully navigated significant theatrical challenges.

To learn more about the 35th Birthday Gala, please call (860) 347-6143 or visit www.oddfellows.org/35gala.

Aug 18, 2009

ODDFELLOWS PLAYHOUSE KICKS OFF “AROUND MIDDLETOWN IN 80 DAYS

Oddfellows Playhouse kicks off its 35^th season with “Around Middletown in 80 Days,” an ongoing event that highlights 80 happenings, locations, and restaurants that make Middletown a great place to live. This celebration of our home town begins on August 25 and ends on November 13 with the opening of Oddfellows’ Teen Repertory Company production of /Around the World in 80 Days/.

This event is also a great way to support Oddfellows. Tuesdays from August 25 to November 13 are restaurant nights. Every week a different Middletown restaurant will be featured, and on that night, the featured restaurant will donate a portion of the evening’s proceeds to Oddfellows Playhouse. “Around Middletown in 80 Days” opens at *It’s Only Natural* restaurant on August 25. Other featured restaurants are *Amici’s* (September 1); *Typhoon* (September 8, 15, and 22); *Osaka* (October 6); *O’Rourke’s Diner* (October 13); *Armory Tavern/Inn at Middletown* (October 20); *Tuscany Grill* (November 3); and *Thai Gardens* (November 10).

At every event you attend, you will be given a raffle ticket. Prizes will be awarded on November 13 at a drawing during the intermission of opening night of /Around the World in 80 Days/. The more events you go to, the more raffle tickets you’ll have and the greater your chances of winning. Anyone can participate, and you don’t have to be present at the drawing to win

To add to the fun, download your very own cut-out of Phileas Fogg, the intrepid English traveler, and take him around Middletown between August 25 and November 13. To share Phileas’ journey around Middletown, take picture of him and upload them to Oddfellows Playhouse Facebook site or email them to 80days@oddfellows.org . Look for Phileas Fogg around Middletown this fall!

For a complete list of “Around Middletown in 80 Days” events and happenings, visit www.oddfellows.org . For more information, call (860) 347-6143.

Oddfellows’ 09-10 season is supported by grants from the CT State Department of Education, The J. Walton Bissell Foundation, Pratt and Whitney-Middletown, The Stare Fund, and the Middletown Commission on the Arts.



Jun 23, 2009

ODDFELLOWS PLAYHOUSE SEEKS MUSICIANS FOR CHILDREN’S CIRCUS BAND

The Children’s Circus of Middletown, run by Oddfellows Playhouse as part of the Middletown Commission on the Arts’ Kids Arts program, is, once again, looking for musicians to play in its circus band. The band is open to all adult and teenage musicians willing to make the commitment to rehearsals and the performance on Friday, July 31, at 5:00 pm. Band director is well-known local musician, Dirck Westervelt. Percussion, horns, woodwinds, strings (electric or acoustic) are all needed. There will be an organizational meeting on Thursday, June 25 from 6-9 pm at Oddfellows Playhouse, 128 Washington Street, Middletown, but it is not necessary to attend this meeting in order to participate. Rehearsals will be on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6-9 pm, beginning July 7. Although attendance at all rehearsals is not compulsory, band members are expected to have consistent attendance and must be available for the dress rehearsal on July 30 and the performance at Spencer School in Middletown on July 31. Professional or highly experienced musicians are often able to “sit in” by coming to a few rehearsals before the show. This is the 2st annual Children’s Circus, a 5-week program for Middletown youngsters ages 8 to 14. Over 200 young people learn such skills as juggling, stilt-walking, clowning, unicycling, acrobatics, and dance and present the results in a stupendous outdoor show, accompanied by live music by the circus band. The show annually attracts an audience of about 1,000. To sign up for the circus band, please call Oddfellows Playhouse at (860) 347-6143 or contact Dirck Westervelt at (203) 577-7548 or dirckwestervelt@earthlink.net.

May 14, 2009

ODDFELLOWS PLAYHOUSE HOLDS ARTS EXPLORERS EVENT

Oddfellows Playhouse invites the public to celebrate the accomplishments in visual arts, writing, and theater of 17 talented Arts Explorers on Thursday, May 21 from 7-9 pm. Visual arts students in this innovative program will exhibit hand-dyed silk scarves, writing students will offer readings of their poetry, and theater students will give a short performance.

Oddfellows, in partnership with the Middletown Youth Services Bureau, received one of five statewide pilot grants from the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism to offer creative, nonschool arts experiences to underserved youth. Arts Explorers, with additional support from The Hartford Courant Foundation, was designed to help middle-school students, particularly low-income and minority youth, experience the arts under the mentorship of a professional artist. Students chose to specialize in the visual, literary or performing arts and then spent the past 9 months working under the guidance of Oddfellows’ artists William A. Foster, III, Renee Soares, and Enza Giannone to develop their skills. This event on May 21 is the culmination of their program, and students will have their colorful scarves and a book of collected writings for sale.

Oddfellows Playhouse is located at 128 Washington Street in Middletown. For more information about the Arts Explorers program and this event, please call Oddfellows Playhouse at (860) 347-6143.

May 12, 2009

ODDFELLOWS’ WACKY WEDNESDAYS FOR PRESCHOOLERS

Oddfellows Playhouse is offering Wacky Wednesdays, a series of interactive monthly workshops for pre-schoolers, ages 2-6. The next workshop is on April 22 from 10-11 a.m. and features stories with crafts, music, and other activities. Taught by Kim West, these workshops engage children and their caregivers in creative structured group play designed to stimulate the imagination and nurture listening and motor skills.

Wacky Wednesdays are presented in partnership with KidCity Children’s Museum and made possible by a grant from the CT Commission on Culture & Tourism. The workshops are held at Oddfellows Playhouse, 128 Washington Street, Middletown. Cost is $10 per family. Members of KidCity receive a $5 discount.

Oddfellows Playhouse is more than a performing arts program. We aim to make a positive difference in the lives of young people by using the arts as tools to build self-confidence, communication skills, a sense of responsibility, and an appreciation for the richness and diversity of the world in which we live.

For more information or to reserve a spot in a Wacky Wednesdays workshop, call (860) 347-6143.

May 5, 2009

ODDFELLOWS PLAYHOUSE SECOND STAGE PLAYERS PRESENT “HANSEL AND GRETEL AND THE BIG WOODS”

Oddfellows Playhouse Second Stage Players present a mini-production of “Hansel and Gretel and the Big Woods.” Under the direction of Jane Harris, a cast of 13 young actors, ages 9-11, takes on this irreverent twist on the classic tale by the Brothers Grimm.

"Once upon a time, deep in the woods, there lived a young boy called Hansel and a young girl called Gretel." From this familiar beginning, playwright Jeannette Jaquish turns the fairy tale upside down. Oddfellows’ talented actors introduce us to two siblings who annoy everyone around them, a witch with fleas, a stepmother with migraines, a fairy dog mother and a fairy frog mother, and 7 dwarfs named Bossy, Smelly, Twitchy, Clumsy, Narcolepty, Whiny, and Sneezy. But everyone stills lives happily ever after.

This fun-filled production is appropriate for all ages and runs approximately 30 minutes. Shows are Friday, May 22 at 7 pm and Saturday, May 23 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.

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, Pratt and Whitney—Middletown and The J. Walton Bissell Foundation.

Apr 9, 2009

ODDFELLOWS PLAYHOUSE PRESENTS THE AMERICAN CLOCK

Oddfellows Playhouse Teen Repertory Company presents a mainstage production of The American Clock by Arthur Miller from April 30-May 9. Jill Giles directs a cast of 18 talented teens, in this powerful story of the Great Depression, based in part on Studs Terkel’s book, Hard Times.

In a play he dubs “a vaudeville,” Arthur Miller has captured the era’s tension between the painful hardship suffered by so many individuals and the exhilarating optimism of the songs and radio shows of the popular culture. Between 1929 and 1945, the stock market crashes, homes are foreclosed upon, unemployment soars, and people stand in bread lines— and the radio plays “Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries.” Oddfellows’ Teen Repertory Company recreates a timely and timeless story that helps us better understand and cope with today’s events.

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, Pratt and Whitney—Middletown and The J. Walton Bissell Foundation. The American Clock previews at Oddfellows Playhouse at 128 Washington Street in Middletown on Thursday, April 30 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 1, 2, 8, and 9 at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $12 adults and $8 students and seniors. For more information or to reserve tickets, call (860) 347-6143.

SUMMER SHAKESPEARE ACADEMY, ODDFELLOWS PLAYHOUSE

Oddfellows Playhouse is now scheduling placement auditions for its Summer Shakespeare Academy, an intensive 4-week program that runs from June 29-July 25. The Shakespeare Academy is open to anyone ages 14 to 18 who has completed 9th grade. Teens will work with Playhouse producing artistic director Jeffery Allen and other professional artists and present mainstage performances of William Shakespeare’s romantic comedy, Love’s Labour’s Lost, on July 23-25. Auditions are by appointment at Oddfellows Playhouse, 128 Washington Street, Middletown. Come prepared to perform a short Shakespeare monologue from 12-20 lines, which must be memorized. For information or to schedule an audition, call (860) 347-6143 or email info@oddfellows.org.

Apr 7, 2009

ODDFELLOWS’ WACKY WEDNESDAYS FOR PRESCHOOLERS

ODDFELLOWS’ WACKY WEDNESDAYS FOR PRESCHOOLERS
Oddfellows Playhouse is offering Wacky Wednesdays, a series of interactive monthly workshops for pre-schoolers, ages 2-6. The next workshop is on April 22 from 10-11 a.m. and features stories with crafts, music, and other activities. Taught by Kim West, these workshops engage children and their caregivers in creative structured group play designed to stimulate the imagination and nurture listening and motor skills.

Wacky Wednesdays are presented in partnership with KidCity Children’s Museum and made possible by a grant from the CT Commission on Culture & Tourism. The workshops are held at Oddfellows Playhouse, 128 Washington Street, Middletown. Cost is $10 per family. Members of KidCity receive a $5 discount.

Oddfellows Playhouse is more than a performing arts program. We aim to make a positive difference in the lives of young people by using the arts as tools to build self-confidence, communication skills, a sense of responsibility, and an appreciation for the richness and diversity of the world in which we live.

For more information or to reserve a spot in a Wacky Wednesdays workshop, call (860) 347-6143.

Mar 26, 2009

ODDFELLOWS PLAYHOUSE NAMES NEW CHILDREN’S CIRCUS DIRECTOR

Oddfellows Playhouse proudly announces that Skyler Sullivan is the new director of the Children’s Circus of Middletown. Sullivan is an extraordinary circus artist as well as an actor, singer, dancer, and mime. He has been a teaching artist with Circus Minimus in New York since 2001 and has an ongoing role as a juggling chicken on the well-known public television show, “Sesame Street.” He also appears as Arthur on “The Electric Company,” a Sesame Workshop on public television. Sullivan taught clowning, juggling, trapeze, tight wire, and acrobatics at the San Francisco School of Circus Arts. He takes over from Jake Weinstein, who led the Children’s Circus for the past 2 summers and has moved to Tennessee to pursue circus activities there.

Skyler Sullivan received his BFA in acting and musical theatre from Emerson College and brings a wealth of skills to the Children’s Circus. He has extensive training in mime, wire walking, stilting, juggling, partner acrobatics, clowning, stage combat, and Commedia dell’Arte. He is an accomplished dancer and plays the guitar, piano, and harmonica. He has performed with the American Mime Theatre in New York, the San Francisco Mime Troupe in California, and at the New York City Clown Fest as well as serving as the ring master for Circus Minimus. He appears frequently on stage and television and in films. Sullivan is sure to make the 2009 Children’s Circus one to remember.

The Children’s Circus of Middletown, part of the Middletown Commission on the Arts’ Kids’ Arts activities, was begun in 1988 by former Oddfellows’ artistic director Dic Wheeler. Each summer, 175 young people, ages 8 to 14, learn stilting, juggling, clowning, acrobatics, dance, unicycling, visual art, and other fantastic circus skills in this 5-week, half-day program. A challenging full-day Advanced Circus Program for veteran circus participants, ages 12-15, helps them take their skills to the next level. The circus concludes with a spectacular outdoor performance that has become a summer tradition in this area. With music by a live circus band and an audience of over 1,000, nearly 200 youngsters dazzle the crowd with circus acts and a level of skill that belie the youthfulness of the performers.

This year’s circus runs from June 29-July 31, with the gala circus show on July 31. Registration for Middletown youngsters began March 1; registration for out-of-town young people opens April 1. For more information, call Oddfellows Playhouse at (860) 347-6143.

Mar 10, 2009

ODDFELLOWS PLAYHOUSE PRESENTS INHERIT THE WIND

Oddfellows Playhouse Teen Repertory Company presents a mainstage production of Inherit the Wind, directed by Jeffery Allen and performed by a talented cast of 20 teens from throughout central Connecticut, from March 26-April 4. This fictionalized account of the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial employs the debate between teaching evolution vs. creationism in the public schools as the background for a drama intended to criticize the anti-Communist hysteria and the threats to America’s intellectual freedom in the 1950s.

John T. Scopes’s conviction for teaching Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution to a high school science class caused a media sensation in 1925. Evolutionism was contrary to Tennessee state law, which prohibited the teaching of anything but creationism. Inherit the Wind, written by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee, opened on Broadway in 1955 and incorporated the trial’s historical events and larger-than-life figures of William Jennings Bryant and Clarence Darrow in this fictionalized critique of the McCarthy era.

As relevant today as when it was first performed, Inherit the Wind warns against repeating the wrongs of the past and raises questions with grace, humanity, and power about how we still use faith and science as both shield and sword.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, and The J. Walton Bissell Foundation.

A “can-can” preview of Inherit the Wind will be performed on March 26 at 7 pm. All tickets are “pay-what-you-can,” and audience members are asked to bring a nonperishable food item for the Amazing Grace food pantry. Additional performances are on March 27 and 28 April 3 and 4 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.

Feb 3, 2009

ODDFELLOWS’ WACKY WEDNESDAYS FOR PRESCHOOLERS

Oddfellows Playhouse is offering Wacky Wednesdays, a series of interactive monthly workshops for pre-schoolers, ages 2-6. The next workshop is on February 18 from 10-11 a.m. and features stories with crafts, music, and other activities. Taught by Kim West, these workshops engage children and their caregivers in creative structured group play designed to stimulate the imagination and nurture listening and motor skills.

Wacky Wednesdays are presented in partnership with KidCity Children’s Museum and made possible by a grant from the CT Commission on Culture & Tourism. The workshops are held at Oddfellows Playhouse, 128 Washington Street, Middletown. Cost is $10 per family. Members of KidCity receive a $5 discount.

Oddfellows Playhouse is more than a performing arts program. We aim to make a positive difference in the lives of young people by using the arts as tools to build self-confidence, communication skills, a sense of responsibility, and an appreciation for the richness and diversity of the world in which we live.

For more information or to reserve a spot in a Wacky Wednesdays workshop, call (860) 347-6143.




Jan 6, 2009

*ODDFELLOWS’ WACKY WEDNESDAYS FOR PRESCHOOLERS *

Oddfellows Playhouse is offering Wacky Wednesdays, a series of interactive monthly workshops for pre-schoolers, ages 2-6. The next workshop is on January 21 from 10-11 a.m. and features stories with crafts, music, and other activities. Taught by Kim West, these workshops engage children and their caregivers in creative structured group play designed to stimulate the imagination and nurture listening and motor skills.

Wacky Wednesdays are presented in partnership with KidCity Children’s Museum and made possible by a grant from the CT Commission on Culture & Tourism. The workshops are held at Oddfellows Playhouse, 128 Washington Street, Middletown. Cost is $10 per family. Members of KidCity receive a $5 discount.

Oddfellows Playhouse is more than a performing arts program. We aim to make a positive difference in the lives of young people by using the arts as tools to build self-confidence, communication skills, a sense of responsibility, and an appreciation for the richness and diversity of the world in which we live.

For more information or to reserve a spot in a Wacky Wednesdays workshop, call (860) 347-6143