Aug 28, 2013

Eli Cannon's Donates $2,250 to Oddfellows

Eli Cannon's Tap Room made a generous donation of $2,250 to Oddfellows on August 21.  The donation was from the Beer Godz Beer Fest on Monday August 5.  It was the third year in a row that the Beer Fest benefited the Playhouse.

“Oddfellows Playhouse and the Children's Circus are a vibrant piece of Middletown.  This is a great way to help support a local arts organization that has a huge impact on a lot of children.  It's not about us, it's about all of us" said Phil Ouellette, owner of Eli Cannon's.

Ouellette says in today's employment market, young people have to really stand out from the crowd of people vying for the same job and public speaking and other social skills, such as "how you animate yourself," give them a leg up on the competition in addition to confidence.

Last year's Beer Gods netted $1,000, with Ouellette making a personal donation of $500.

Matt Pugliese, executive director of Oddfellows, says the funds will "cover nearly all the royalties for the year. Every play we do, we pay out a certain number of royalties, which allows us to do five plays."

Events such as Beer Gods, Pugliese says, is "mutually beneficial. None of us can exist without the other."



Aug 27, 2013

Middlesex United Way Makes Generous Grant to Support Children's Circus


Oddfellows Playhouse is pleased to announce that is has received a generous grant of $33,250 from the Middlesex United Way to support the 25th Children’s Circus of Middletown.  The Middlesex United Way commitment to the Children’s Circus, in partnership with the City of Middletown Commission on the Arts, has been key to the community arts program’s ability to survive and thrive.

The Children’s Circus is a 5-week, half-day program for 150 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, 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, original costumes  and large scale scenic elements and puppets.  

The Children’s Circus also brings students together with their parents.  Twice per week “tech nights” offer circus staff, campers and parents the opportunity to get together and build, tape, paint and sew the costumes, props and technical elements of the Circus.  “Parents get to spend quality time with their children, meet their new friends and share talents – I’ve seen parents amazed at the creativity of their children, and kids surprised at their parents’ artistic skills.  It is hours that they are spending enjoying each other without the distraction of television and technology”, said Oddfellows Executive Director Matt Pugliese.

The Children’s Circus of Middletown is an exceptional community wide program where entire families come together to create this one-of-a-kind spectacle.  Circus Director Jason Leinwand, now in his 2nd year as Director, comments often on spirit of community  “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.”

Aug 20, 2013

Oddfellows Announces 2013-14 Productions


Oddfellows Playhouse is pleased to announce its 2013-14 Season for its Junior and Teen Repertory Company.  The first season under the guidance and direction of Artistic Director Kristen Palmer is filled with classics, family musicals and some new endeavors.

The season will begin with the Junior Repertory Company’s of The Seussification of Romeo and Juliet onstage November 14-16, 2013. Shakespeare’s classic tragedy Romeo & Juliet meets the whimsical rhythms of Dr. Seuss in this fast paced tongue-twister of a comedy by Peter Bloedel.  Young actors will get to sink their teeth into broadly comic characters, deliciously fun word play and be part of an exciting main-stage production.  Rehearsals begin the week of September 16, 2013 for students in grades 6-8.

The Teen Repertory Company follows with the Tony-Award winning musical OLIVER! By Lionel Bart.  Victorian London comes alive in this musical adaptation of Dicken’s classic.  Orphaned Oliver, abandoned to the workhouse, is sold into servitude, escapes to a den of thieves, is momentarily rescued by a wealthy benefactor and must navigate a hostile world with wits and courage.  Classic songs, indelible characters and a rich world will offer a entertaining and engaging show this holiday season, with performances December 5-17, 2013.   The production is a multi-generational show involving Oddfellows’ Teen Repertory Company and adult actors, in partnership with CT Heritage Productions.   Auditions for students in grades 9-12 and adults are September 16 and 18 from 7-9pm. This production is being supported in part by the generous donation from John and Mary Murphy.

“This fall we are excited to offer two such diverse projects, a classic musical based on Dicken’s Oliver Twist and a twisted take on Romeo and Juliet.  In the spring we will be echoing the whimsical adaption of the Fall with the Teen Rep’s performance of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet – with their own original approach to the classic.  Jr. Rep will perform its first ever musical, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, and we are proud to announce that for the first time our Elementary students in grades 3-5 will be performing on the main-stage in a lively, contemporary adaptation of Anderson’s The Little Mermaid, written by Krista Knight.” Said Kristen Palmer, Artistic Director.

Auditions will be Monday September 16 and Wednesday September 18 for OLIVER!  Interested Junior Repertory Company students should sign up before Tuesday September 17, 2013. 

Elementary actors (3-5th grade) should sign up for classes or a mini-production this Fall and Winter to be eligible for inclusion in the Spring Production.



For more information about the 2013-14 season, or to purchase tickets, visit www.oddfellows.org


ODDFELLOWS PLAYHOUSE 2013-14
OLIVER!
Book, Music and Lyrics by Lionel Bart
Directed by Peter Loffredo
Musical Direction by Joni Gage
December 5-17, 2013


This multi-generational musical is being produced in collaboration with CT Heritage Productions.

Victorian London comes alive in this musical adaptation of Dicken’s classic.  Orphaned Oliver, abandoned to the workhouse, is sold into servitude, escapes to a den of thieves, is momentarily rescued by a wealthy benefactor and must navigate a hostile world with wits and courage.  Classic songs, indelible characters and a rich world will offer all participants juicy performance opportunities and a lively holiday show for Middletown.

The Seussification of Romeo and Juliet
By Peter Bloedel
Adapted from William Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet
Directed by Lorra Webb
November 14, 15, 16th.  7:30pm


Shakespeare’s classic tragedy Romeo & Juliet meets the whimsical rhythms of Dr. Seuss in this fast paced tongue-twister of a comedy.  Young actors will get to sink their teeth into broadly comic characters, deliciously fun word play and be part of an exciting main-stage production.

You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown
based on The Comic Strip “Peanuts®” by Charles M. Schultz
Book, Music and Lyrics by Clark M. Gesner
March 10, 11, 12


Schultz’s beloved characters share their hopes, hearts and dreams while they navigate childhood in this delightful, sweet-hearted musical for all audiences.

Romeo & Juliet
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Kristen Palmer
May 8 – 17th


The star-crossed lovers seek their paradise in a world of warring parents, street violence, prejudice, economic inequity, and an uncertain future.  Renaissance Verona or contemporary Connecticut?  This production of the classic will be a fast-paced, exciting take on Shakespeare’s classic romance.

For Feet’s Sake (The Wild Tail of a Little Mermaid)

by Krista Knight
Directed by Kristen Palmer
June 6, 7th


A wildly theatrical, craftily contemporary adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson’s classic story.  This inaugural Elementary Rep production will make this story live anew for audiences with fanciful staging, engaging story and its main character who faces what it means to grow up and make choices that can’t be unmade.

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.