Dec 26, 2012

Now Registering for Winter Classes

Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater is pleased to announce that its Winter 2013 Session will begin the week of January 28.  Oddfellows’ programs use theater as a vehicle to build essential life skills, while exploring highly educational and artistic themes and plays.  There are a variety of performance options and technique based classes for students ages 3-18.

Classes for the Little Fellows (ages 3-4) include Around the World and Animal Adventures. Classes are offered on Saturday mornings.  Looking for something to do during the week with your little one?  Participatory classes include Parents & Tots and Arts Explosion on Thursday mornings at 10am. 

First Act (Grades K-1) offers Creative Drama courses themed around children’s books and adventures such as Fractured Fairytales and Jungle Safari Story Starters (Grades 2-3) encourage creative expression and promote confidence, self-esteem, and communication.  Once a week classes focus on skill building, while classes that meet twice a week short productions put those skills into action.  Classes include Peter and the Wolf and Create Your Own Story and a mini-production of Grimm FairytalesThe Kids Company (Grades 4-5) is the stage that students begin to focus more on skills and techniques.  These courses help develop the next set of vocal, physical and emotional skills.  Technique classes include Fundamentals of Acting, Create a Character and Fundamentals of Musical Theater. An original comedic mini-production is also on tap, called More Rubber Chickens.

The Junior Repertory Company (grades 6-8) offers a full production of Alice Threw the Looking Glass, a parody of Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style by John Walch.  In this comedy, First-year college student Alice is in serious danger of failing her English course when she follows her composition paper into the trash -- and ends up in a hallucinatory world where the rules of grammar are turned upside-down. If she wants to pass, she'll need to deal with gunslinging run-on sentences, thugs hawking colloquialisms, fearsome Modifier Leeches, and more. 

The Teen Repertory Company (grades 9-12) will be holding auditions on Tuesday January 29 from 7-9pm.

There are also private lessons, stagecraft, directing and playwrighting classes available for middle and high school students.  A full list of program offerings and public performances can be found online at www.oddfellows.org.

Oddfellows programming is made possible through the generous support of the CDBG Scholarship Program, Citizens Bank, the CT Department of Economic and Community Development, the CT Department of Education, Daphne Seybolt Culpeper Memorial Fund, Elizabeth Carse Foundation, the Fund for Greater Hartford, the George A. and Grace L. Long Foundation, the Irving Kohn Foundation, the J. Walton Bissell Foundation, Liberty Bank Foundation, Maximilian E. & Marion O. Hoffman Foundation, Middlesex County Community Foundation, Middlesex United Way, the Middletown Commission on the Arts, Middletown YSB, the National Endowment for the Arts, Pratt & Whitney, Price Chopper Golub Foundation, the Stare Fund, Stop and Shop Foundation, Thomas J. Atkins Foundation, Triple Frog, LLC and WESU (88.1FM).

Dec 20, 2012

A Letter from our Executive Director

To our friends,

I planned today to write a letter to our supporters, our participants, our alumni – our community.  I had planned to tell them why in these challenging financial times, Oddfellows was an important and fragile resource for our community.  To write this now, after the tragedy of Sandy Hook, seems out of place, because our challenges as a society are clearly far greater than financial.

This weekend, I spent a lot of time working at Oddfellows Playhouse, not at home hugging my daughters as I would have liked to.  In the absence of my family, I thought about what the role of an arts organization, specifically what the role of our theater, Oddfellows Playhouse, has in our community in the wake of this terrible tragedy. What is Oddfellows’ proper role? What can the Oddfellows family do to help one person or many in lending an appropriate voice in the healing process?  As a community arts organization that focuses on the youth, do we need to decide whether we shall we speak on this at all? What are the limits of restraint? Shall we just continue on with our lives and program as is?

On Saturday morning, for several hours, families filled the rehearsal halls and theater at the Playhouse to celebrate the end of their fall classes.  The building was filled with joy, laughter and excitement as the students shared their work with their families, friends, and loved ones.  Elementary school students presented mini-productions of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “The Polar Express” to packed houses of the people who love them the most.  And maybe because of the events of the previous day, the messages of hope, love, faith and family seemed to be a little clearer.  Not a word was overheard from any parent or child about the events of the day before.

With every production and class, Oddfellows tries to bring us together, as audience and performer, as parent and child, as a community.  It may provide us with ideas and questions to consider, to share with others, it may give us hope and it may fill whatever void we feel.  Theater cannot undo tragedy, but it can inspire us to celebrate what is most precious, as I believe it did this weekend.

Thank you for being a part of the Oddfellows community.  I hope you all enjoy a great holiday season with your loved ones and look forward to working together to make 2013 the best it can be!



Warmly,
Matt Pugliese
Executive Director

Dec 6, 2012

A Uniquely American Holiday Production

Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater and Connecticut Heritage Productions are joining creative forces this holiday season with a co-production of Paula Vogel's A Civil War Christmas: An American Musical Celebration.  The play will be performed at Oddfellows Playhouse from December 6-15.  

“One of Paula Vogel’s original sources of inspiration for writing this play was to create a truly unique American Christmas production.  So many of our standard holiday cultural pieces are imported from other countries – A Christmas Carol, the Nutcracker, and so forth,” said Peter Loffredo, artistic director of Connecticut Heritage Productions.

The play, directed by Loffedo, will feature a multi-generational cast of actors from the community, including members of Oddfellows’ Teen Repertory Company.  The Connecticut Humanities Council is generously helping to fund this production because of its unique combination of historical significance, audience appeal, and educational storytelling.  

The play is set is Washington, D.C., on Christmas Eve 1864, during the Civil War.  President Lincoln has just been reelected and General Sherman is marching troops into battle.  Interweaving historical figures with fictional characters, A Civil War Christmas not only entertains but inspires the audience by portraying the real-life struggles that occurred and the human spirit that endured during one of the most difficult times in our history. Moving swiftly from scene to scene, it chronicles many aspects of the period, from something of the private life of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln to the moving story of an African-American soldier whose wife has been cruelly kidnapped.  Christmas carols and folk songs are sung throughout by the ensemble, with additional period music performed by a group of instrumentalists. 

A Civil War Christmas: An American Musical Celebration, was written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel, with music by Daryl Waters. Vogel is the former chair of the playwrighting department of Yale University and a writer-in-residence. The show premiered at Long Wharf Theater in New Haven, CT, in 2008, after which it was transferred to Boston's Huntington Theatre Company in 2009.  it is scheduled to have its off-Broadway debut in New York City this month.

Oddfellows and CHP have joined forces on various projects in the past, including Higher Ground, an original play dramatizing the long struggle of African-Americans for freedom and equality, and the Connecticut Valley Student Playwriting Competition.  They approached this production with the goal of bringing together various perspectives and members of the community to explore the theme of life in wartime during the Christmas holiday.

“Our country has just concluded a very fiercely contended national election.  The differences were sharp and deep.  Spending time delving deeply into the American Civil War and the issues has provided the cast with not only a deeper understand of our nation’s history, but also another lens through which to view our current political climate. We are excited to bring this play to our community to further this discussion,” said Oddfellows’ Executive Director Matt Pugliese.

Director Peter Loffredo has incorporated historian/novelist Richard Slotkin and ethnomusicologist Ellen Lueck into the production process to help enlighten the cast about the play’s historical significance and provide community conversations on performance evenings with the audience. Slotkin will lead a talkback following the performance on Friday 12/7 about the actual history covered in the play, and Lueck will lead a conversation regarding the musical history of the folk songs and carols on Friday 12/14. 

The production runs December 6, 7, 8, 13,14, 15 at Oddfellows Playhouse.  All performances are at 7:30pm.  Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for students and seniors. Thursday December 6 and 13 is a Pay-What-You-Can Performance.  Please bring a non-perishable food item to donate to Amazing Grace Food Pantry.  Tickets are available online at ww.oddfellows.org or by calling860-347-6143.  The performance is made possible through special funding from the Connecticut Humanities Council, The Middletown Commission on the Arts, and Eli Cannon’s Tap Room.

Nov 28, 2012

Huck Finn On-Stage This Weekend


Huck Finn This Weekend


 Oddfellows Playhouse’s Junior Repertory Company will present Huck Finn by Eric Coble, Adapted from the novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Huck Finn flees the claws of "civilization" for the freedom of the mighty Mississippi, only to find himself running from mobs, getting shot at, stealing gold, digging escape tunnels and dressing as a woman. And perhaps his greatest adventure: unexpectedly finding his own moral compass in a world of corruption and hypocrisy.  This highly-theatrical adaptation presented by the Junior Repertory Company and directed by Lorra Webb, is the second of Coble’s work produced at the Playhouse, following 2006’s Gold in the Bones.  This classic tale of adventure is great for families and students of all ages.

The production runs Thursday thru Saturday, November 29, 30 and December 1  All performances begin at 7:00 p.m.  Tickets are $15 for Adults and $8 for Students/Seniors.  Anyone bringing a canned food item for Amazing Grace Food Pantry will receive a $2 discount on their ticket.  Tickets are available online atwww.oddfellows.org or by calling 860-347-6143.  



The production is made possible by major support from CT State Department of Education, Middlesex United Way, The Stare Fund, Pratt & Whitney, the Middletown Commission on the Arts, Eli Cannon’s Tap Room and Daphne Sebolt Culpeper Foundation.   Media support provided by Comcast and WESU 88.1FM. 

Nov 20, 2012

Holiday Offerings On Stage

With the holiday season approaching, there are multiple chance to take the family out to see some live theater here in Middletown. So you better start planning!

Huck Finn
by Mark Twain

Adapted by Eric Coble from the novel "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" 
November 29, 30 and December 1 - 7:00pm

Oddfellows Playhouse’s Junior Repertory Company will present Huck Finn by Eric Coble, Adapted from the novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. 

Huck Finn flees the claws of "civilization" for the freedom of the mighty Mississippi, only to find himself running from mobs, getting shot at, stealing gold, digging escape tunnels and dressing as a woman. And perhaps his greatest adventure: unexpectedly finding his own moral compass in a world of corruption and hypocrisy.  This highly-theatrical adaptation presented by the Junior Repertory Company and directed by Lorra Webb, is the second of Coble’s work produced at the Playhouse, following 2006’s Gold in the Bones.  This classic tale of adventure is great for families and students of all ages.

The production runs Thursday thru Saturday, November 29, 30 and December 1  All performances begin at 7:00 p.m.  Tickets are $15 for Adults and $8 for Students/Seniors.  Anyone brining a canned food item for Amazing Grace Food Pantry will receive a $2 discount on their ticket.  Tickets are available online at www.oddfellows.org or by calling 860-347-6143. 
A Civil War Christmas: An American Musical Celebration
by Paula Vogel, Music by Daryl Waters
December 6,7,8, 14, 15 - 7:30pm

The play, directed by Peter Loffedo, will feature a multigenerational cast of actors from the community, including members of Oddfellows’ Teen Repertory Company and CT Heritage Productions.  The Connecticut Humanities Council and Middletown Commission on the Arts is generously helping to fund this production because of its unique combination of historical significance, audience appeal, and educational storytelling.  

The play is set is Washington, D.C., on Christmas Eve 1864, during the Civil War.  President Lincoln has just been reelected and General Sherman is marching troops into battle.  Interweaving historical figures with fictional characters, A Civil War Christmas not only entertains but inspires the audience by portraying the real-life struggles that occurred and the human spirit that endured during one of the most difficult times in our history. Moving swiftly from scene to scene, it chronicles many aspects of the period, from something of the private life of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln to the moving story of an African-American soldier whose wife has been cruelly kidnapped.  Christmas carols and folk songs are sung throughout by the ensemble, with additional period music performed by a group of instrumentalists.

The production runs December 6, 7, 8, 14, 15 at Oddfellows Playhouse.  All performances are at 7:30pm.  Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for students and seniors. Thursday December 6 is a Pay-What-You-Can Performance.  Please bring a non-perishable food item to donate to Amazing Grace Food Pantry.  Tickets are available online at ww.oddfellows.org or by calling860-347-6143.  The performance is made possible through special funding from the Connecticut Humanities Council, The Middletown Commission on the Arts, and Eli Cannon’s Tap Room.





Nov 19, 2012

Welcoming New Leadership On Board

Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater recently held their annual meeting, welcoming aboard four new members to the Board of Directors. 

Patricia Labella, Spanish Language teacher at Mercy High School (Middletown), Steve Lovelace, President of Gener8or Communications/Moving Pictures, Inc, (Deep River), Leslie McKillip, Vice-President, Business Solutions at Liberty Bank (Madison) and Phil Ouellette, Owner, Eli Cannon’s Tap Room (Clinton) were elected to the governing body of the playhouse. 

“The ability to be able to innovate, I believe, has kept us in business for almost twenty years.  As the economy changes I think it is so important for kids to be allowed to create. These are not only fun opportunities for kids to have fun and grow, but it also prepares them for a job market that is ever more leaning toward innovation and creativity,” said new director Phil Ouellette. 

Elizabeth Bobrick (Middletown) Chair,  Glenn Taylor (Manchester) Vice-Chair and Quentin “Que” Phipps (Middletown) secretary was the slate of leadership elected by the board. 

There were also some departures to the group.  Directors Melissa Schilke and Jane McMillan departed the board after more than 10 years of service and leadership.  Chairman Michael Sciola and director Noel Garrett also stepped down after completing their terms of service. 

“Melissa, Jane, Mike and Noel have been great friends and supporters of Oddfellows.  They have been committed to the theater and our community, and have guided Oddfellows with great care through many challenges over the past few years.  We are excited and ready to continue that leadership into the future, “ said newly elected Chair Elizabeth Bobrick. 

Nov 8, 2012

Teen Rep Begins Season


To Be or Not To Be...Eaten Alive by Zombies.  That is the question!

Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater will open William Shakespeare’s Land of the Dead: A True and Accurate Account of the 1599 Zombie Plague by John Heimbuch on Friday November 9 at 7:30pm  The talented Teen Repertory Company under the direction of Hannah Simms, brings this frightful and enjoyable play to life for two weekends.  The play is appropriate for students 13 and older. 

The production runs November 9, 10, 15, 16, 17.  All performances begin at 7:30 p.m.  Tickets are $15 for Adults and $8 for Students/Seniors.  Anyone bringing a canned food item for Amazing Grace Food Pantry will receive a $2 discount on their ticket.  Tickets are available online or by calling 860-347-6143. 

This production is being produced by the generous support of Beverley and Tony Bellisio and Eli Cannon’s Tap Room. The production is made possible by major support from CT State Department of Education, Middlesex United Way, The Stare Fund, Pratt & Whitney, the Middletown Commission on the Arts, and Daphne Sebolt Culpeper Foundation.   Media support provided by Comcast and WESU 88.1FM.

About Oddfellows Playhouse:
Oddfellows Playhouse is located at 128 Washington Street, Middletown.   For more than 35 years Oddfellows Playhouse has been more than just a performing arts program.  It aims to make a positive difference in the lives of 1,500 young people each year 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.

Oct 24, 2012

A message from our Zombies.

Hello out there, all of you undead friends,
Since our last update we have had 11 new individuals and families give to our Oddfellows Shakespeare Kickstarter!  Thank you to everyone who has given so far—however, it isn’t over yet!
We have 8 days left to our campaign and need EVERYONE’S help to spread the word, to encourage your friends to give (we love eating meeting new people) and for you to give.  Remember this is an all or nothing challenge!
Our production is 2 ½ weeks from opening night and we continue to want to give the kids the best experience possible.  What does that mean?  It means saturating their creativity with all the tools to help them perform, to give them confidence when the go on stage, and to help them in their lives.  Theater just isn’t about reciting lines on a stage—theater is about learning to understand the world through new eyes; igniting that spark to create; learning to work with a  group towards a final goal; and, most importantly, learning about yourself at an age when everything can seem confusing and mysterious.
video 
We have raised $1,530 so far and need to get to $3,500.
Check out this awesome video from two of our young actors:
Your donations go to directly support students just like them-- some on scholarship, some looking for a place to express themselves, to learn and grow, and for some, a place where they can be happy and feel comfortable.

Oct 19, 2012

Two Weeks Left!!

As some of you may or may not be aware, Oddfellows Playhouse is in the midst of its very first kickstarter campaign.  We only have two weeks left to raise money to help make this the highest quality production for the young actors.  Your support of William Shakespeare’s Land of the Dead:  True and Accurate Account of the Zombie Plague of 1599 goes directly to help highschool students have access to a professionally produced show and spark their creativity for the rest of their lives.

Kickstarter is all or nothing.  If we cannot secure at least $3,500 by Tuesday, October 30 then we will not be able to get the funding.  WE NEED YOUR HELP TO KEEP RAISING FUNDS!!
 
video
So far we have had 26 awesome backers help us to raise $1,175!!

Your donations would help us to support the cast of students (in grades 9-12) in the show.  Oddfellows provides scholarships to students49% of our students last year—and funding allows us to continue to give kids access to the arts.  

Check out this video of the cast rehearsing.  These are the very kids you will be helping!

Your donations also go to support all the individual artists and professionals who make this show possible!  Oddfellows uses local artists on all their productions and Land of the Dead.  This full-scale production, with dozens of zombies included!- will have professional  costumers, fight coordinators, directors, makeup artists, set designers, sound designers, and more!  We also couldn't make this happen without them OR YOU.

We had 12 days left and $2,325 left to raise.  

By making a contribution to this campaign, you are helping to make the difference in our community, with our artists, and our young actor’s lives.  You will help us to bring this show to audiences from around the state.   Click here to donate and check out our video.


And help us to spread the word on twitter (OddfellowsPlay, hashtag #SaveShakespeare) and on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/oddfellowsplayhouse)

You can also check out updates at our blog:  http://oddfellowspress.blogspot.com/

Oct 9, 2012

Feeling a Little Un-Dead Lately?

Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater is looking for zombie extras of all ages and abilities for their upcoming production of William Shakespeare's Land of the Dead: A True and Accurate Account of the 1599 Zombie Plague by John Heimbuch.  Cause 3 zombies are not scary.  30 zombies?  Scary!

  • Zombie extras must be willing to wear some makeup, appear in one performance (11/9, 11/10, 11/15, 11/16, 11/17 at 7:30pm) attend one tech/dress rehearsal (11/6, 11/7, or 11/8 - 6:30-10:30pm).  
  • Zombie extras can perform more than one night.  
  • Zombie extras will be required to stagger and wander about on stage with a lust to consume human flesh/brains.  
  • Zombie extras will not look attractive on stage.  
  • Zombie extras will not be allowed to eat the audience, only the actors.
Interested zombies can contact Oddfellows Playhouse at 860-347-6143 to sign up for a performance and rehearsal slot.  Call soon and get 'em while they're still warm!

Oct 2, 2012

Zombie Shakespeare Needs Your Help



Oddfellows Needs Your Help to Save William Shakespeare!

An Oddfellows First!

Oddfellows Playhouse is excited to announce that it is working with Kickstarter to help fund our most ambitious and exciting show:  William Shakespeare’s Land of the Dead:  True Account of the Zombie Plague of 1599.

Kickstarter is all or nothing.  If we cannot secure at least $3,500 by Tuesday, October 30 then we will not be able to get the funding.  WE NEED YOUR HELP

The Project

William Shakespeare’s Land of the Dead is our new and thrilling Teen Repertory Company production that is sure to get audiences jumping.   Your funding would allow Oddfellows, a non-profit youth theater, to bring this new and exciting production to life (or death!) on stage for the first time in Connecticut.

This play from the NY Fringe Festival takes place backstage on the opening night of Shakespeare’s Henry V.   Dealing with drama behind the scenes becomes more complicated when an afflicted madman enters the Globe and attacks.  As the affliction spreads through London, the Globe is placed in quarantine and the survivors within must fight for their lives.

Your donations would help us to support the cast of students (in grades 9-12) in the show.  Oddfellows provides scholarships to students—49% of our students last year—and funding allows us to continue to give kids access to the arts.

Your donations also go to support all the individual artists and professionals who make this show possible!  Oddfellows uses local artists on all their productions and Land of the Dead.  This full-scale production, with dozens of zombies included!- will have professional  costumers, fight coordinators, directors, makeup artists, set designers, sound designers, and more!  We also couldn't make this happen without them OR YOU.

Your Part

By making a contribution to this campaign, you are helping to make the difference in our community, with our artists, and our young actor’s lives.  You will help us to bring this show to audiences from around the state.

Follow this link to give: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/281446790/william-shakespeares-land-of-the-dead-zombie-plagu

And help us to spread the word on twitter (OddfellowsPlay, hashtag #SaveShakespeare) and on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/oddfellowsplayhouse)

You can also check out updates at our blog:  http://oddfellowspress.blogspot.com/

Thank you in advance for your support!!

Sep 28, 2012

Fall Session 2 Registration Underway!

Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater is pleased to announce its second Fall 2012 Session will begin the week of October 29.  The youth theater, which provides afterschool and weekend theatrical programming, is excited about the overhaul in program offerings and expansion of the second fall session.  Oddfellows’ programs use theatre as a vehicle to build essential life skills, while exploring highly educational and artistic themes and plays. 

“We asked our families and students for input on what Oddfellows was offering them and what they wanted to see added.  We have classes offered nearly every day of the week and all morning on Saturdays in order to provide an opportunity to fit into a family’s busy schedule,” said Executive Director Matt Pugliese.   Classes are offered Monday through Thursday from 4-7pm and Saturdays for students K-8. 

There are also more classes that explore areas outside of traditional acting.  New class offerings focus on musical theater, improvisation, circus skills, audition coaching, directing, technical theater, and playwrighting. 

Classes for the Little Fellows (ages 3-4) include Magic Suitcase Adventures and We’re Going on a Bear Hunt!  First Act (Grades K-1) offers Creative Drama courses themed around children’s books and adventures such as Dinosaur Adventures,  Angelina Ballerina, and Goodnight, Gorilla.  Story Starters (Grades 2-3) encourage creative expression and promote confidence, self-esteem, and communication.  Once a week classes focus on skill building, while classes that meet twice a week short productions put those skills into action.  Short productions include Alice in Wonderland, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The Kids Company (Grades 4-5) is the stage that students begin to focus more on skills and techniques.  These courses help develop the next set of vocal, physical and emotional skills.  Short productions of The Polar Express  and The Nutcracker!  Sweet! will be offered.  A class in the Fundamentals of Musical Theater is offered on Saturdays.

The Junior Repertory Company (grades 6-8) offers skill based workshops throughout the week. A musical theater dance class on Wednesdays helps students build around dance and acting as storytelling devices.  Musical Theater Cabaret will put together select complete numbers on Saturdays.  More skill based classes for the aspiring young thespian such as Classic Scene Study and Improve Your Audition Skills are offered as well.

The Teen Repertory Company (grades 9-12) is an opportunity for adventurous, committed teenagers to experience cutting-edge theater in a supportive, challenging and non-competitive environment.  The company takes on mature, thought-provoking work with bold energy and high artistic standards.  Skill building classes and private coaching are available as well.  Courses in directing and playwrighting are featured this fall.

A full list of program offerings and public performances can be found online at www.oddfellows.org.

Oddfellows programming is made possible through the generous support of the American Savings Foundation, the CDBG Scholarship Program, the CT Department of Economic and Community Development, the CT Department of Education, Daphne Seybolt Culpeper Memorial Fund, Elizabeth Carse Foundation, the Fund for Greater Hartford, the George A. and Grace L. Long Foundation, the Irving Kohn Foundation, the J. Walton Bissell Foundation, Liberty Bank Foundation, Maximilian E. & Marion O. Hoffman Foundation, Middlesex County Community Foundation, Middlesex United Way, the Middletown Commission on the Arts, Middletown YSB, the National Endowment for the Arts, Northern Middlesex Cable Advisory Council, Pratt & Whitney—Middletown, Price Chopper Golub Foundation, the Stare Fund, Stop and Shop Foundation, Thomas J. Atkins Foundation, Triple Frog, LLC and WESU (88.1FM).

Sep 26, 2012

A Tribute to Rachel Carson

50 years ago, government scientist Rachel Carson recognized that widespread pesticide use on crops and in back yards was causing devastation in some biological communities.  She wrote about this scientific finding in a compelling book, “Silent Spring”, published in 1962.  It was a turning point in environmental awareness, and environmental regulation, but it did not happen easily.

Thursday night, September 27, 2012, acclaimed actress Kaiulani Lee brings Rachel Carson to life in “A Sense of Wonder” at Oddfellows Playhouse.  “A Sense of Wonder”, a one-person play written by Ms. Lee, has been performed by her at venues across the country and abroad, including at the United Nations, Congress, and The Smithsonian.  The play celebrates Rachel Carson and her work, and reveals a strength of character that allowed Ms. Carson to defend her science against an onslaught of opposition mounted by a chemicals industry fearful of the business consequences of her revelation – an onslaught attempting to discredit Ms. Carson personally, and the quality of her scientific studies.

The play is sponsored jointly by the Connecticut Groundwater Association and the Connecticut Society of Women Environmental Professionals.  Many of the members of these two organizations owe their profession and environmental awareness to Rachel Carson.

“To me, Silent Spring’s  legacy is the realization that environmental science and business were, and often still are, uncomfortable bedfellows.  There are ongoing efforts by business to weaken the environmental scientist’s ability to discover and investigate pollution, and the environmental scientist must have the perseverance and backbone of Rachel Carson to not give in to special interests” said Dennis Waslenchuk, CGA President and organizer of the tribute. 

The production runs one night only, Thursday, September 27, 2012 beginning at 8:00 p.m.  Limited general public tickets are available at $20.  Tickets can be reserved for “Will Call” by calling 860-443-7638.  Please do not call Oddfellows, as we are not handling the reservations.

Sep 25, 2012

CT Humanities awards grant to Oddfellows

Middletown, Conn.- Oddfellows Playhouse is pleased to announce that is has received its very first grant of $6,500 from Connecticut Humanities in support of its winter production of A Civil War Christmas: An American Musical Celebration.  This play is being produced as a joint venture with Connecticut Heritage Productions.

Connecticut Heritage Productions is helping to fund this production because of its unique combination of historical significance, audience appeal, and educational opportunities.    A Civil War Christmas: An American Musical Celebration, was written by Pulitzer Prize (1988, How I Learned to Drive) winning playwright Paula Vogel.  Vogel, the former Chair of the Playwrighting department of Yale and a writer-in-residence, had this play premiered at Long Wharf Theater in New Haven, CT in 2008, then transferred to Boston's Huntington Theatre Company in 2009.  Later this year, it is scheduled to have it off-Broadway debut in New York City. 

Vogel has been quoted as having written the play because she was tired of having Christmas shows made with no American heritages; only Victorian (British) shows are ever put on.  The play is set is Washington D.C. on Christmas Eve in 1864, during the Civil War.  President Lincoln has just been reelected and General Sherman is marching troops into battle.  The play intersects historical figures with fictional characters.  The play not only entertains, but it is meant to educate and inform about the real-life struggles and the human spirit that endured during one of the most difficult times in our history.

The production will be including a multi-generational cast of local adult actors and students from the Teen Repertory Program.  With generous funding from the Connecticut Humanities, director Peter Loffredo will be incorporating the local historical society, Historian Richard Slotkin, and ethnomusicologist Ellen Lueck into the production process to help educate the cast about the play’s historical significance, and provide community conversations on performance evenings with the audience. 

A Civil War Christmas: An American Musical Celebration will be performed at Oddfellows Playhouse from December 6-15.  Ticket information can be found online at www.oddfellows.org, or call 860-347-6143.  For more information about the Connecticut Humanities, please check out their website at http://cthumanities.org/.

Oddfellows programming is made possible through the generous support of the American Savings Foundation, the CDBG Scholarship Program, the CT Department of Economic and Community Development, the CT Department of Education, CT Humanities Council, Daphne Seybolt Culpeper Memorial Fund, Elizabeth Carse Foundation, the Fund for Greater Hartford, the George A. and Grace L. Long Foundation, the Irving Kohn Foundation, the J. Walton Bissell Foundation, Liberty Bank Foundation, Maximilian E. & Marion O. Hoffman Foundation, Middlesex County Community Foundation, Middlesex United Way, the Middletown Commission on the Arts, Middletown YSB, the National Endowment for the Arts, Northern Middlesex Cable Advisory Council, Pratt & Whitney—Middletown, Price Chopper Golub Foundation, the Stare Fund, Stop and Shop Foundation, Thomas J. Atkins Foundation, Triple Frog, LLC and WESU (88.1FM).

Aug 29, 2012

Teen Repertory Company Auditions


Oddfellows Playhouse is pleased to announce its Fall 2012 auditions for William Shakespeare’s Land of the Dead: a True Account of the 1599 Zombie Plague by John Heimbuch and A Civil War Christmas: An American Musical Celebration by Paula Vogel, with music by Daryl Waters.

The season will begin with a “historical” piece by John Heimbuch, William Shakespeare’s Land of the Dead: A True Account of the Zombie Plague of 1599, takes the stage in November.  This play from the NY Fringe Festival takes place backstage on the opening night of Shakespeare’s Henry V.   Dealing with drama behind the scenes becomes more complicated when an afflicted madman enters the Globe and attacks.  As the affliction spreads through London, the Globe is placed in quarantine and the survivors within must fight for their lives.   This production is being produced by the generous support of Beverley and Tony Bellisio.

“This play is fun.  That is what initially drew me to it.  But the genre of horror is a reflection of our society, and it says a great deal about where our fears are today that we have become recently fixated on zombies and the risk of some pandemic outbreak.  During the Elizabethan era, the term “afflicted” was used synonymously for madness, illness or even demonic possession.  This play is about the fear of others,” said Pugliese.

Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater and Connecticut Heritage Productions are joining creative forces this holiday season with a co-production of A Civil War Christmas: An American Musical Celebration by the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel.  The play will perform at Oddfellows Playhouse from December 6-15.  A Civil War Christmas received its world premiere at Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven in 2008.  The play is by Paula Vogel, with music by Daryl Waters.

“One of Paula Vogel’s original sources of inspiration for writing this play was to create a truly, unique American Christmas production.  So many of our standard holiday cultural pieces are imported from other countries – A Christmas Carol, the Nutcracker and so forth,” said Peter Loffredo, artistic director of Connecticut Heritage Productions. 

The play, directed by Loffedo, will feature a multigenerational cast of actors from the community.  The play is set in Washington, D.C., and along the Potomac during a Christmastime near the end of the Civil War. Vogel weaves together notable historical facts and figures with fictional characters and events to explore the celebration of Christmas and the state of our nation during wartime.

Pre-audition workshops, recommended for student actors, to learn more about the Playhouse, the plays and to sharpen audition skills are held from 7-9pm on Tuesday and Wednesday September 11 and 12. Auditions will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday September 18 and 19 from 7-9pm.  There is no charge to audition.  There is a tuition fee for the Teen Repertory Company.

Oddfellows Playhouse is located at 128 Washington Street, Middletown.   For more than 35 years Oddfellows Playhouse has been more than just a performing arts program.  It aims to make a positive difference in the lives of 1,500 young people each year 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.

Oddfellows programming is made possible through the generous support of the American Savings Foundation, the CDBG Scholarship Program, the CT Department of Economic and Community Development, the CT Department of Education, Daphne Seybolt Culpeper Memorial Fund, Elizabeth Carse Foundation, the Fund for Greater Hartford, the George A. and Grace L. Long Foundation, the Irving Kohn Foundation, the J. Walton Bissell Foundation, Liberty Bank Foundation, Maximilian E. & Marion O. Hoffman Foundation, Middlesex County Community Foundation, Middlesex United Way, the Middletown Commission on the Arts, Middletown YSB, the National Endowment for the Arts, Northern Middlesex Cable Advisory Council, Pratt & Whitney—Middletown, Price Chopper Golub Foundation, the Stare Fund, Stop and Shop Foundation, Thomas J. Atkins Foundation, Triple Frog, LLC and WESU (88.1FM).

Aug 27, 2012

Multi-Generational Cast Takes to the Stage

Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater and Connecticut Heritage Productions are joining creative forces this holiday season with a co-production of A Civil War Christmas: An American Musical Celebration by the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel.  The play will perform at Oddfellows Playhouse from December 6-15A Civil War Christmas received its world premiere at Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven in 2008.  The play is by Paula Vogel, with music by Daryl Waters.

“One of Paula Vogel’s original sources of inspiration for writing this play was to create a truly, unique American Christmas production.  So many of our standard holiday cultural pieces are imported from other countries – A Christmas Carol, the Nutcracker and so forth,” said Peter Loffredo, artistic director of Connecticut Heritage Productions. 

The play, directed by Loffedo, will feature a multigenerational cast of actors from the community.  The play is set in Washington, D.C., and along the Potomac during a Christmastime near the end of the Civil War. Vogel weaves together notable historical facts and figures with fictional characters and events to explore the celebration of Christmas and the state of our nation during wartime.

Oddfellows and CHP have joined forces on various projects in the past including Higher Ground: an original play dramatizing the long struggle of African-Americans for freedom and equality, and the Connecticut Valley Student Playwrighting Competition.  They approach this production with the goal of bringing together various perspectives and members of the community to explore the theme of life in wartime and an examination of our celebration of the Christmas holiday.

“Oddfellows and CHP thought this was a great production to approach with a multigenerational cast because of the age range of characters in the play.  There is a lot to learn as an actor when you are portraying a character your own age, rather than someone 20 or 30 years older.  Equally as important is the different point of views that a cast with different life experiences brings to a production.  It is important that we teach our young people different points of view on the world and on our history as a nation,” said Oddfellows’ Executive Director Matt Pugliese

Auditions will be open to all members of the community and will held be at Oddfellows on September 18 & 19 from 7-9pm.  Auditions will consist of readings from the script, and a prepared acapella song - such as a traditional carol or "happy birthday".


Connecticut Heritage Productions was founded in 1981 under the artistic direction of Peter Loffredo.  Its initial project was the documentary film William Gillette: A Connecticut Yankee and the American Stage.   The documentary, which features rare film footage, interviews, and re-enactments from the works of William Hooker Gillette, was six years in the making.  It had its public debut at the Wadsworth Athenaeum on June 6, 1986, and its television debut on Connecticut Public Television on July 11, 1994.  The film set the tone for CHP's early focus:  the development of new plays by Connecticut playwrights by means of the staged readings of works in progress.  During this period, Connecticut Heritage Productions also produced An Evening in the Theatre of William Gillette, which featured a revival of Gillette’s The Painful Predicament of Sherlock Holmes; Chasing Rainbows, a new musical; and a revival of Eugene O’Neill’s Hughie.

Since then, CHP has presented over 100 stage productions including Faith Healer, The Price, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?   Equus, The Lion in Winter, Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde and Body & Sold. Connecticut Heritage Productions' mission is to inspire, nurture, and sustain an appreciation of the performing arts by entertaining, enlightening, and connecting our audiences to the ever-changing sensibilities of our times.

Oddfellows programming is made possible through the generous support of the American Savings Foundation, the CDBG Scholarship Program, the CT Department of Economic and Community Development, the CT Department of Education, Daphne Seybolt Culpeper Memorial Fund, Elizabeth Carse Foundation, the Fund for Greater Hartford, the George A. and Grace L. Long Foundation, the Irving Kohn Foundation, the J. Walton Bissell Foundation, Liberty Bank Foundation, Maximilian E. & Marion O. Hoffman Foundation, Middlesex County Community Foundation, Middlesex United Way, the Middletown Commission on the Arts, Middletown YSB, the National Endowment for the Arts, Northern Middlesex Cable Advisory Council, Pratt & Whitney—Middletown, Price Chopper Golub Foundation, the Stare Fund, Stop and Shop Foundation, Thomas J. Atkins Foundation, Triple Frog, LLC and WESU (88.1FM).

Aug 13, 2012

Support from Middlesex United Way

Support from Middlesex United Way

Oddfellows Playhouse is pleased to announce that it has received a grant from the Middlesex United Way for $36,510 in support of the Neighborhood Troupes/Arts Explorers program and the Children's Circus of Middletown.

Middlesex United Way has been a constant and generous supporter and partner of Oddfellows Playhouse, and the August 3rd performance of The Circus of Science was a perfect example of how they help children and their families each and every day.

Over 120 children from this community participated in this extraordinary summer program, learning a variety of Circus skills, engaging in non-traditional forms of physical activity, and learning to work together as a group to create a piece of art.  Daily students spent over two hours outside running, jumping, stilting, juggling, and much more, while making new friends and gaining life skills.

The Middlesex United Way is an important partner in making this happen.  This year, 72% of students who participated in Circus received financial aid.  The funding Oddfellows receives ensures that all students, regardless of means, are able to participate in this program and have access to high-quality, arts-based summer programming.  It is important for students, especially when school is out, to have the ability to continue growing and engaging in physical and enrichment activities.

On behalf of all the students, families, and staff who benefit from this support, we thank the Middlesex United Way.

Aug 6, 2012

Oddfellows Announces Program Overhaul for Fall

Oddfellows Playhouse is pleased to announce its Fall 2012 Programming.  The youth theater, which provides afterschool and weekend theatrical programming, is excited to unveil a large overhaul and upgrade in its programmatic offerings.  Oddfellows’ programs use theater as a vehicle to build essential life skills, while exploring highly educational and artistic theatrical material.

“We asked our families and students for input on what Oddfellows was offering them and what they wanted to see added,” said Executive Director Matt Pugliese. 

One of the biggest changes in the Playhouse schedule is a switch from eight week to six week class sessions.  Instead of three trimesters of classes during the year, there will be four 6 week quarters.  “There are still 24 weeks of programming during the school year, but hopefully the six week course schedule fits better into families’ busy schedules,” said Pugliese.  Fall Session 1 runs for six weeks from September 17 until October 27.  Fall Session 2 runs for six weeks from October 29 through December 15.  Winter and spring session will follow, beginning January 28. 

Another effort to accommodate families with multiple children is an increase in simultaneous class offerings on weekday afternoons.  Classes are offered from 4-7pm Monday through Thursday for students K-8.  “We saw how popular Saturday morning classes were with families with multiple children.  It took a lot of logistical coordination, but nearly every afternoon, a parent can drop off their children for an hour or more and have a program at every school age level.” 

There are also more classes that explore areas outside of traditional acting.  New class offerings focus on musical theater, improvisation, circus skills, audition coaching, directing, technical theater, and playwrighting. 

Classes for the Little Fellows (ages 3-4) include Fairytales and Folksongs, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt! and Dinosaur Adventures.  First Act (Grades K-1) offer Creative Drama courses themed around children’s books and adventures such as Harry the Dirty Dog, Angelina Ballerina, and The Paper Bag Princess.  Story Starters (Grades 2-3) encourage creative expression and promote confidence, self-esteem, and communication.  Once a week classes focus on skill building, while classes that meet twice a week short productions put those skills into action.  Short productions include Dr. Seuss Stories and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The Kids Company (Grades 4-5) is the stage that students begin to focus more on skills and techniques.  These courses help develop the next set of vocal, physical and emotional skills.  Short productions of Connecticut Ghost Stories, The Polar Express¸ and The Nutcracker!  Sweet! will be offered.  A class in the Fundamentals of Musical Theater is offered on Saturdays.

The Junior Repertory Company (grades 6-8) offers skill based workshops throughout the week. A musical theater dance class on Wednesdays helps students build around dance and acting as storytelling devices.  Musical Theater Cabaret will put together select complete numbers on Saturdays.  The Junior Repertory Company will present a full production of Huck Finn by Eric Coble, Adapted from the novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.  Huck Finn flees the claws of "civilization" for the freedom of the mighty Mississippi, only to find himself running from mobs, getting shot at, stealing gold, digging escape tunnels and dressing as a woman. And perhaps his greatest adventure: unexpectedly finding his own moral compass in a world of corruption and hypocrisy.  This highly-theatrical adaptation, directed by Lorra Webb, is the second of Coble’s work produced at the Playhouse, following 2006’s Gold in the Bones. 

The Teen Repertory Company (grades 9-12) is an opportunity for adventurous, committed teenagers to experience cutting-edge theater in a supportive, challenging and non-competitive environment.  The company takes on mature, thought-provoking work with bold energy and high artistic standards.  Skill building classes and private coaching are available as well.  Courses in directing and playwrighting are featured this fall.

The season will begin with a “historical” piece by John Heimbuch, William Shakespeare’s Land of the Dead: A True Account of the Zombie Plague of 1599, that will take the stage in November.  This play from the NY Fringe Festival takes place backstage on the opening night of Shakespeare’s Henry V.   Dealing with drama behind the scenes becomes more complicated when an afflicted madman enters the Globe and attacks.  As the affliction spreads through London, the Globe is placed in quarantine and the survivors within must fight for their lives.   This production is being produced by the generous support of Beverley and Tony Bellisio.

“This play is fun.  That is what initially drew me to it.  But the genre of horror is a reflection of our society, and it says a great deal about where our fears are today that we have become recently fixated on zombies and the risk of some pandemic outbreak.  During the Elizabethan era, the term “afflicted” was used synonymously for madness, illness or even demonic possession.  This play is about the fear of others,” said Pugliese.

The holiday season brings a new holiday offering to the stage, with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, Paula Vogel’s A Civil War Christmas: An American Musical Celebration.  The play, directed by Peter Loffredo, is a co-production with CT Heritage Productions, and will feature a multigenerational cast made up of Oddfellows’ Teen Rep company and CT Heritage Productions.   The piece, which received its world premiere at Long Wharf Theatre in 2008, tells the story of a Christmas Eve in Washington, D.C. in 1864.  Vogel weaves together historical fact with humanizing detail and inventive fiction to explore the celebration of Christmas and our nation during wartime. 

Auditions will be Tuesday September 18 and Wednesday September 19 for the fall shows, and Tuesday January 22, 2013 and Wednesday January 23, 2013 for the winter/spring productions.
For more information about the 2012-13 season, or to purchase tickets, visit http://www.oddfellows.org

Jul 31, 2012

The Circus Comes to Town

24th Annual Children’s Circus of Middletown to perform August 3

Design by Jason Leinwand

Oddfellows Playhouse and the Middletown Commission on the Arts present the 24th Children’s Circus of Middletown: The Circus of Science.  The one-time-only show will be presented on August 3 at 5 PM at Macdonough School, with a rain date of August 4 at 5 PM.
The talented young performers of the Circus of Science will bounce around like molecules in an atom, explore the elements of fire, earth, air and water, and of course a mad scientist or two.  The Circus of Science will explore a range of scientific subjects all the way from the dinosaurs and marine biology to string theory.  And of course many famous scientists, or at least famous scientist clowns, will be making an appearance.

The Children’s Circus is a 5-week, half-day program for 130 children ages 8-14 that has become not only a huge local event but also a national model for nonprofit municipal partnerships.  Over the five weeks, participants learn a huge variety of circus skills such as acrobatics, dance, juggling, unicycling, stilt walking, clowning, and visual arts.  After deciding on two areas of specialization, the participants train daily and perform for the camp at the end of each week.  For the last two weeks of the program, the participants are cast into featured roles in a circus act, and rehearse these acts before performing in front of over 1,000 people. The performance features the live circus band of local musicians led by Dirck Westervelt, costumes by Betsy Spiro, and scenic and prop design by Ro Seidleman.  
Photo by Andy Szegedy-Maszak

The Children's Circus offers an exceptionally unique program where the whole family and the entire whole community, can get involved in the making of something truly inspiring and special.  Jason Leinwand, this year’s circus director, is especially excited about the community focus of this arts program, “As the Technical Director I was fortunate to spend a lot of time building, paper macheing, painting, cutting watermelon and laughing with circus kids and their families during our bi-weekly tech sessions held in the evenings at the Remington Rand space.”  Leinwand goes on to say, “In my opinion, this is the essence of what the circus is. It's a place where everyone is welcome to participate. The circus is a place where all of our individual skills are collaged together to create an unbelievable spectacle that everyone can be proud to be a part of. We become a community of artists and over time, one big circus family.”
Photo by Andy Szegedy-Maszak

This year, Oddfellows is asking everyone to bring a non-perishable food item to donate to Amazing Grace Food Pantry.  Bring a lawn chair and enthusiasm to Macdonough School and enjoy the spectacle.  The 24th Children’s Circus of Middletown: The Circus of Science will perform at 5 PM on August 3 at 66 Spring Street in Middletown.  Parking is limited to street locations, so carpooling is recommended. The Macdonough School lot is reserved for handicapped and elderly patrons.

Tickets are available at the gate for $5 for Adults and $3 for Students and Seniors.

The Children’s Circus is made possible by the Middletown Commission on the Arts, the Middlesex United Way, Stop and Shop Foundation, Peter Abare-Brown and Courtney Antonioli and Oddfellows Playhouse’s many generous supporters.  For more information, call (860) 347-6143.

For more information on programs, to register for classes or to purchase tickets to performances, call Oddfellows at (860) 347-6143 or log onto www.oddfellows.org. 

Oddfellows programming in 2012-13 is made possible through the generous support of the American Savings Foundation, the CDBG Scholarship Program, the CT Department of Economic and Community Development, the CT Department of Education, Daphne Seybolt Culpeper Memorial Fund, Elizabeth Carse Foundation, the Fund for Greater Hartford, the George A. and Grace L. Long Foundation, the Irving Kohn Foundation, the J. Walton Bissell Foundation, Liberty Bank Foundation, Maximilian E. & Marion O. Hoffman Foundation, Middlesex County Community Foundation, Middlesex United Way, the Middletown Commission on the Arts, Middletown YSB, the National Endowment for the Arts, Northern Middlesex Cable Advisory Council, Pratt & Whitney—Middletown, Price Chopper Golub Foundation, the Stare Fund, Stop and Shop Foundation, Thomas J. Atkins Foundation, Triple Frog, LLC and WESU (88.1FM).

Bubblemania


Casey Carle’s ‘Bubblemania’ – Comedy, Artistry, BubbleOlogy takes the stage at Oddfellows Playhouse on Saturday August 4 with two performances, at 11am & 2pm.    Bubblemania! will mesmerize  children and adults of all ages.  Tickets are $10. 

Based on his professionalism, talent, and proven success as bubble artist, scientist, entertainer and consultant, he has made a historic soap bubble debut at the acclaimed Lincoln Center in New York City as a Principal Performing Artist for "The Little Orchestra Society" under the musical direction of Maestro Dino Anagnost, been chosen by Cirque du Soleil to act as their consultant on soap bubbles and featured on The Discovery channel.

Casey Carle grew up in the woods of Greene, NY. He graduated cum laude from S.U.N.Y. Geneseo with a B.A. (Bachelor of Arts) in Drama and also from The Ringling Bros. Clown College with a B.F.A. (Bachelor of Fun Arts!). Casey has worked professionally in theatre, on and off stage, since 1985. In 1990 he went solo with BubbleMania!


For more information on programs, to register for classes or to purchase tickets to performances, call Oddfellows at (860) 347-6143 or log onto www.oddfellows.org. 

Jul 12, 2012

National Endowment for the Arts Awards Oddfellows $50,000


The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced 80 Our Town grant awards totaling $4.995 million and reaching 44 states and the District of Columbia.  Oddfellows Playhouse is one of the grantees and will receive $50,000 for the Design of a New Facility

Through Our Town funding, the NEA’s ambition is to support the idea of creative placemaking and projects that help radically transform communities.  In creative placemaking, partners from the private, public, nonprofits, and community groups work together to fundamentally reshape a community—physically, socially, and culturally around the arts. The grantee projects will improve quality of life, encourage creative activity, create community identity and a sense of place, and help revitalize local economies. 

Creative placemaking is an investment into the future successes of towns and cities in the United States.  This transformation will improve the quality of life for all citizens by revitalizing the local economy through job creation, increasing the livability of city or town, fostering private and public collaboration, reshaping the local landscape, and promoting the arts.

Oddfellows’ grant was requested for the design of a cultural facility, which is the first phase of a long-term project to purchase, renovate, and move the Playhouse to a new, larger facility in downtown Middletown.  As a strategy of creative placemaking, Oddfellows is designing a facility that will re-use a building that has been vacant and will be working with Northeast Collaborative Architects on this endeavor.  The design, and ultimately the renovation and the launch of programming after relocation, will not only strengthen the artistic excellence of Middletown, but also by the need to improve the quality of life for all citizens through job creation and social change

All Our Town grant awards were made to partnerships that consisted of a minimum of a not-for-profit organization and a local government entity. “Oddfellows is a key institution in CT that provides young people with a dynamic learning experience in the arts.  Middletown will continue to support Oddfellows as intensively as we can,” said Mayor Dan Drew. 

Oddfellows does not merely want to exist as an entity independent of all others in Middletown; rather, the design of the new building will directly relate to broader community needs.  Partnerships will be made with the adjacent restaurants, shops, and companies.  In turn, the increased traffic, stemming from more classes, programs, and mainstage productions, will impact the local businesses and stimulate the local economy.  The design will includes two, fully functioning theaters to allow for revolving productions from Oddfellows and other arts groups.  We will look to form strategic partnerships with arts organizations in town and regionally to create a constancy of opportunity and vibrancy in the community. 

"Cities and towns are transformed when you bring the arts – both literally and figuratively – into the center of them,” said NEA Chairman Landesman. "From Teller, Alaska to Miami, Florida, communities are pursuing creative placemaking, making their neighborhoods more vibrant and robust by investing in the performing, visual, and literary arts. I am proud to be partnering with these 80 communities and their respective arts, civic, and elected leaders."

“Oddfellows is honored to be recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts as a recipient of the Our Town grant.  We have a lot of work ahead of us, but this is a great step towards the successful completion of this endeavor.   We look forward to working with the arts organizations and artists that call Middletown home to build a stronger community.  This grant is not only for Oddfellows.  It is for all of Middletown,” said Executive Director Matthew Pugliese. 

Pugliese continued, “The NEA received 317 applications for Our Town that were assigned to one of three application review panels based on their project type- arts engagement, cultural planning and design, or non-metro and tribal communities.  With only 80 grants emerging from the 317 applications, or a success rate of 25 percent, competition was strong.  We are very appreciative of the work that the City of Middletown put into this project with us, as well as Northeast Collaborative Architects.  Oddfellows is incredibly proud to have received our first grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for this project. 

 For a complete listing of projects recommended for Our Town grant support, please visit the NEA web site at arts.gov. For more information on programs, to register for classes or to purchase tickets to performances, call Oddfellows at (860) 347-6143 or log onto www.oddfellows.org. 

About Oddfellows Playhouse:
Oddfellows Playhouse is located at 128 Washington Street, Middletown.   For more than 35 years Oddfellows Playhouse has been more than just a performing arts program.  It aims to make a positive difference in the lives of 1,500 young people each year 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.

Oddfellows programming is made possible through the generous support of the American Savings Foundation, the CDBG Scholarship Program, the CT Department of Economic and Community Development, the CT Department of Education, Community Foundation of Middlesex County, Daphne Seybolt Culpeper Memorial Fund, Elizabeth Carse Foundation, the Fund for Greater Hartford, the George A. and Grace L. Long Foundation, the Irving Kohn Foundation, the J. Walton Bissell Foundation, Liberty Bank Foundation, Maximilian E. & Marion O. Hoffman Foundation, Middlesex United Way, the Middletown Commission on the Arts, Middletown Youth Service Bureau Afterschool Incentive Grant, National Endowment for the Arts, Pratt & Whitney, Price Chopper Golub Foundation, the Stare Fund, Stop and Shop Foundation, Thomas J. Atkins Foundation, Triple Frog, LLC.

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