Jan 24, 2013

Master Class Series Announced

MIDDLETOWN, Conn.- Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater announces a Master Class series that will take place beginning in February for middle school, high school students and young adults.   Additional Master Classes will also be announced shortly for the spring. 

The series begins with The Art of the Monologue on Saturday February 2 from 11am-2pm, with guest artist Emily Hope Webster.  Participants will explore opportunities for storytelling and character development in this classic theatrical device.  The class will cover aspects of the monologue from selection of the piece to analyzing text to performance.  Participants should prepare a classic or contemporary monologue to work with.  The cost of the master class is $50.

 Emily is a thirty-year veteran of the entertinament world, finding her earliest success in front of the camera.  As a child actress her television credits include a five year run on the FOX hit Small Wonder, starring roles in such films as Troop Beverly Hills and Caddie Woodlawn and the Emmy-award winning series Christy.  She also worked on the New York City stage at WPA and with playwright John Guare at Lincoln Center. 

The series will continue with Improv Bootcamp on Saturday February 16 and Sunday February 17 from 12-4pm.  This two day bootcamp is led by Sam Shaw, founder of the San Francisco Improv Festival.  A alumnus of Middletown High School, Wesleyan University, and Oddfellows Playhouse, Sam has a 25+ year career in improvisational theater, performing and leading dozens of comedy troupes. 

In this two day improve boot camp, actors will throw the script out the window, set the improve games aside, and teach students how to improvise truthful scenes from their own experiences and to collaborate effectively as an ensemble.  Learn how to say “yes-and”, “play to the top of your intelligence” and most importantly, “play hard!”.   The cost of the workshop is $90, and it will end with a performance for friends and families at 7pm on Sunday February 17, joined by some of central CT and Wesleyan’s finest improve groups. 

Interested students should visit www.oddfellows.org to sign up for the Master Class.  The Master Classes are limited to 20 students.  Call 860-347-6143 to register or to find out more information. 

 About Oddfellows Playhouse:
Oddfellows Playhouse is located at 128 Washington Street, Middletown.   For  38 years Oddfellows Playhouse has been more than just a performing arts program.  It aims to make a positive difference in the lives of over 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.

Jan 22, 2013

Go Back in Time with Circophony

A talented and energetic cast of eleven teenage circus performers will transport you back to the 1920’s in Circophony’s Vaudeville Circus on January 25 and 26 in Middletown. Whether you are a fan of classic jazz, a circus enthusiast, a devotee of physical comedy, or just love a good CanCan, Circophony has something to keep you on the edge of your seat.

Directed by ARTFARM’s Executive Director Dic Wheeler, Circophony is a co-production of ARTFARM and Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater. The show will preview in a 40 minute version at Middletown’s “Middnight on Main” celebration December 31, but the full hour-long performance will not reach the stage until January 25 and 26 at 7:30 pm at Oddfellows, 128 Washington Street in Middletown.

Wheeler, who founded the Children’s Circus of Middletown and has been directing circuses with both teenagers and professionals since the 1980’s, calls this show “different than any circus that I have ever directed before.”

“This is actually a circus-saturated evening of classic Vaudeville,” he says, “and audiences will receive an entertaining education about that particular genre. Vaudeville was immensely popular from the 1890’s up until the Second World War, only fading with the advent of film and television. Vaudeville shows contained a little bit of everything – music, circus, dance, comedy, melodrama, magic – and Circophony’s Vaudeville Circus aims to do just that.”

The show features many acts one would normally associate with Circus – juggling, acrobatics, balancing, contortion – but it also contains comedy sketches, dancers, live musicians, flappers, dashing fellows in suits and hats, a five minute original melodrama presented by the Temperance Theatrical Society, and a rabbit is indeed pulled out of a hat. The musical accompaniment, both live and recorded, represents the best of early jazz, including Cab Calloway, Fats Waller, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Charlie Chaplin, Duke Ellington, the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, and more.

Circophony is a high-level youth circus touring company for which members are selected by audition. Current company members come from Hartford, Cromwell, Portland and Middletown. Circophony’s Vaudeville Circus will be touring to schools, festivals and special events throughout Connecticut for the next six months, culminating in the Company bringing their talents to the American Youth Circus Festival in Seattle in August.

Tickets for these performances of Circophony’s Vaudeville Circus are $15 for adults and $8 for students and seniors. For reservations please contact Oddfellows Playhouse, (860) 347-6143 or go to www.oddfellows.org. For information about booking a performance on the Circophony tour, contact ARTFARM at (860) 346-4390 or www.art-farm.org.

New, Exciting Teen Rep Experience Begins Tonight

This season adventurous, committed teenagers can experience cutting-edge theater in a challenging, new way.  The winter/spring Teen Repertory Company will be not be approaching theater in the same old way.  Students in grades 9-12 will have the unique opportunity to expand not only their acting skills, but their directing, designing and producing skills as well.  

This winter the Teen Repertory Company is putting together an experience we like to call an[Not-Yet- Titled Awesome Evening of Theater].   Company members, guided by director Ken O’Brien and a team of skilled professional designers, will be immersed in all aspects of the theatrical production experience--acting, directing, design and producing.  At the beginning of the process, students will form production “teams”.  Each team will produce a one-act play.  Not only are the students acting in one (or several) of these plays, they also take on a creative production role from different production departments.  In this way, the company members gain more experience in areas “behind the scenes” and can help guide the vision of the plays.

“The growth that a young actor experiences when they have the opportunity to stand on the other side of the stage is monumental.  Directing a play not only teaches you another set of artistic skills, but it makes you realize more about the craft of the actor.  Being able to understand the role and responsibilities of other departments, makes you a better collaborator.  Not just on stage, but in life,” said Executive Director Matt Pugliese.  

“We are really excited to have the opportunity to tackle great one-act and short plays that our company is normally not able to stage” said director Ken O’Brien. 

Production teams will be assembled after the audition process, and will meet on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 7:00-9:30pm beginning February 5.  The final performance is scheduled for May 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 at 7:30pm.  

A Pre-Audition workshop will give students a chance to build skills prior to the auditions.  ThePre-Audition workshop will be Tuesday, January 22 from 7:00-9:00pm Auditions will be Tuesday, January 29 from 7:00-9:00pm.  Students that are not available at this time can contact Oddfellows to make an individual appointment.   There is no cost to audition.  Tuition for the Teen Repertory Company is $250.   Scholarship assistance is available.  

Registration for Oddfellows' Winter Session of classes is going on now, with classes beginning the week of January 28.  Classes in technical theater, playwrighting and acting are offered for students ages 3-18.  Visit www.oddfellows.org for a full list of offerings.