Monday, December 13, 2010

Neighborhood Troupes & Arts Explorers

Several foundations have awarded generous grants to Oddfellows' Neighborhood Troupes/Arts Explorers program in 2010-11. The Elizabeth Carse Foundation, Thomas J. Atkins Memorial Fund and George A. and Grace L. Long Foundation all awarded grants this month to the 23 year old program.

In 2010-11, Oddfellows is collaborating with the Middletown public school system to hold the Neighborhood Troupes after-school program in Bielefield and Farm Hill Elementary Schools. This allows us to streamline our transportation costs by using the late buses at the schools. Oddfellows’ Troupes leaders and their student teaching assistants meet their Troupes at the schools one afternoon a week to work on activities that build performing arts and life skills. Bielefield School has one Oddfellows Troupe each for grades K-2 and 3-5; Farm Hill has two Troupes for these same grades.. The Troupes are still Oddfellows, but now in locations that we hope will better serve our students.

In an effort to keep at-risk middle-school students engaged, Oddfellows has integrated its innovative Arts Explorers program of in-depth arts training and job readiness with the Troupes this year. Giving this Troupe for ages 12-15 a distinct name and focus gives the youngsters a sense of maturity and transitioning to ad[EB3] ulthood. The 35 Arts Explorers Troupe members are from Keigwin and Woodrow Wilson Middle Schools. Students meet at the Playhouse one evening a week, and work exclusively with a professional artist on visual art, writing, or dance. Arts Explorers is a partnership with Middletown Youth Services, which provides extra support for the teens at the school level.

The Troupes and Arts Explorers expand the world view of young people who need extra support to grow up to be successful adults. These programs continue to serve Oddfellows’ mission and remain among our highest priorities.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Roof Update

After years of unexpected leaks, overflowing buckets, and stop-gap measures, Oddfellows’ roof was beyond repair, and the situation was critical. Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous friend of Oddfellows, the Maximilian E. & Marion O. Hoffman Foundation, and dozens of you, we now have a new roof. An energy audit pinpointed heat loss areas, and we had 3” of rigid foam insulation installed under the new roof to raise its R value. We now have architectural shingles on the Playhouse’s sloping front roof and a white/gray rubber EPDM membrane that decreases summer heat gain and lowers cooling costs on the two flat roofs in the rear. Best of all, no one will get wet in Oddfellows’ theater. Thanks to all of you for helping us “hold up our biggest umbrella”—our roof.

At this time, you have helped us raise $29,415 out of the $33,230 it costs to repair Oddfellows' roof!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Life of Galileo - Final Weekend

“The Life of Galileo”, by Bertolt Brecht, is not simply a biographic play about a famous scientist. This is a drama about the progress of science in our world and the struggle for truth. The Teen Repertory Company succeeds wildly in staging Brecht's epic play, which poses questions about knowledge and power that are still relevant today. Catch this fantastic production onstage this weekend.

Performances are Friday and Saturday December 10-11 at Oddfellows Playhouse. Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. The running time is 90 minutes, and the show is performed without an intermission. Tickets are $20.00 and can be purchased by calling the box office at (860) 347-6143 or by e-mail at

Photos by Ofer Levy.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Holiday Production!

SantaLand Diaries at Oddfellows, December 16-19

Oddfellows presents David Sedaris’ witty and sardonic holiday treat, The SantaLand Diaries, adapted for the stage by Joe Mantello. Well-known local actor Tony Palmieri as Crumpet the Elf brings to life this humorous account of a Christmas elf’s experience in Macy’s department store. This show, directed by Jeffery Allen, is intended for mature elves. Performances are 7:00 pm on December 16 & 17, 7:00 & 9:00pm on December 18 and 2:00 pm on December 19. Tickets are $25. For more information and reservations, call (860) 347-6143 or visit our website at

Many of the professional artists involved in this production are donating their services to Oddfellows in order to make this a fundraising event. With 50% of the students in our fall classes receiving scholarship aid, it is as important as ever to raise the funds to keep Oddfellows’ doors open and lights on, especially as we enter the cold winter months! We hope that the SantaLand Diaries is a Christmas event enjoyed by the community.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Fall 2010 Share Day

Oddfellows’ fall classes ended with a spirited Share Day on November 6. Over 140 exuberant youngsters from 27 central CT towns tried out their new skills in front of their friends and families, and the budding thespians in Stages 1 and 2 performed mini-productions. The 6-8 year olds made their own costumes, created music, and became “wild things” in telling the classic story, Where the Wild Things Are.

The Other Side of the Tale
, performed by 9-11 year olds, looked at fairy tales from the point of view of the villains—the wolf, rather than the three little pigs. But as one youngster wrote on his evaluation, he learned “that evil is not always bad.” The Junior Repertory Company presented a fall showcase of monologues, ranging from humorous and playful to edgy and poignant. This was a great tune-up for the Junior Rep’s March mainstage production, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

RUR kicks off Oddfellows' Main Stage

Oddfellows Playhouse will kick off its 36th Main Stage Season on Nov. 11 when its Teen Repertory Company performs Karel Capek’s RUR, adapted by Dr. Claudia Novack. Additional performance dates are Nov. 12, 13, 19 and 20. All performances begin at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $20 for Reserved Seating, $15 for Adults General Admission and $8 for Students/Seniors.

First written in 1920, the book, later adapted by Dr. Claudia Novack, is the first literature to coin the word “robot”. In the play The Rossum Company solves the world’s labor demand by creating a race of enslaved robots but when they revolt the future of humanity and what it means to be human are put to the ultimate test.

“All of our Teen Rep plays this year explore the ethics of science and creation,” said Jeffery Allen, Producing Artistic Director for Oddfellows Playhouse. “It’s a virtue of ours to choose mature plays that give our young people the chance to be challenged and to view their world through a different lens,” he said.

Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased by calling the box office at (860) 347-6143 or by e-mail at Thursday 11/11 is a Pay-What-You-Can Preview. Please bring a canned food item with you for Amazing Grace Food Pantry.

This production is made possible through the generous support of the CT State Department of Education, The CT Commission on Culture and Tourism, the Middletown Commission on the Arts, the Stare Fund, Pratt & Whitney-Middletown and our radio sponsor WESU 88.1FM. 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 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.