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).