Tuesday, July 31, 2012

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. 

Thursday, July 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.

Media support is provided by Comcast and WEDU 88.1FM.

Announcing 2012-2013 Season for Teen & Jr. Rep


Oddfellows Playhouse, under the direction of Executive Director Matthew Pugliese is pleased to announce its 2012-13 Season for its Junior and Teen Repertory Company. 

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 1590, presented by Beverley and Tony Bellisio,  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 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 Junior Repertory Company follows with 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, will be directed by Lorra Webb, is the second of Coble’s work produced at the Playhouse, following 2006’s Gold in the Bones
Picture from the 2008 Long Wharf premier.
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, will be directed by Peter Loffredo, is a co-production with Connecticut Heritage Productions, and will feature a multi-generational cast made up of Oddfellows’ Teen Rep company and CT Heritage Productions actors.   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. 
In the winter, The Birds: A Modern Adaptation by Don Zolidis from the play by Aristophanes tells the story two miscreants that flee to the kingdom of the birds for a simpler life. While living there, the two scheme up a financial jackpot that could turn the birds' land into a powerful utopia. Their only obstacle: the wrath of the gods.
The season concludes with the 2011 Tony nominee for Best Book and Best Musical, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, and will be directed by Ken O’Brien.  The musical, with book by Alex Timbers and Music by Michael Friedman, reinvents the seventh president of the United States as an emo-rock star.  In this alternate universe, America's first political maverick. A.J. kicked British butt, shafted the Indians and smacked down the Spaniards all in the name of these United States--who cares if he didn't have permission?   Ben Brantley said in his review of the show ”for the most part, [Bloody] doesn’t take sides or make overly obvious connections. What it does, very well, is identify the abiding strain in the American character that will always be ruled by its gut instead of its head in making political choices. Long before rock ’n’ roll was invented, it seems, the United States was a sucker for the rock-star charisma of a maverick politician.”
Fall auditions for shows: Tuesday, September 18 and Wednesday, September 19
Winter auditions for shows:  Tuesday, January 22, 2013 and Wednesday January 23, 2013
For more information about the 2012-13 season, or to purchase tickets, visit www.oddfellows.org
ODDFELLOWS PLAYHOUSE 2012-13 SEASON
William Shakespeare’s Land of the Dead: A True Account of the Zombie Plague of 1599
By John Heimbuch
Directed by Hannah Simms
November 9-17


This production is being produced by the generous support of Beverley and Tony Bellisio.
London, 1599, Shakespeare’s Henry Henry V opens the Globe Playhouse, but while the actors strut and fret, an excess of bile plagues the populace outside.  After the opening of his newest play, the company’s costumer is bitten by an afflicted madman, and the Queen and her men arrive seeking safety, as life in the playhouse takes a turn for the worse.  As the affliction spreads throughout London, the Globe is placed in quarantine and the survivors within must fight for their lives.  Can they escape?  Is there a cure? Is artistic integrity ever worth dying for?
Huck Finn
By Eric Coble
Adapted from the novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Directed by Lorra Webb
November 28 – December 1

This is the story of Mark Twain’s hero Huckleberry Finn and his friend Jim. 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. 

A Civil War Christmas: An American Musical Celebration
By Paula Vogel
 Music by Daryl Waters
Directed by Peter Loffredo
December 6-15

It’s 1864 and Washington, D.C. is settling down to the coldest Christmas Eve in years.  In the White House, President and Mrs. Lincoln plot their giving, while others plot his end.  On the banks of the Potomac, a young rebel challenges a Union blacksmith’s mercy.  In the alleys downtown, an escaped slave loses her daughter just before finding freedom.  This musical by Pulitzer Prize-winner Paula Vogel intertwines historical and fictional characters, to explore life in wartime and the warmth and gladness of our hearts. 

The Birds: A Modern Adaptation
By Don Zolidis
Adapted from the original play by Aristophanes
Directed by Missy Burmeister
April 5-13

In this comic story, two miscreants that flee to the kingdom of the birds for a simpler life. While living there, the two scheme up a financial jackpot that could turn the birds' land into a powerful utopia. Their only obstacle: the wrath of the gods. A hilarious and satirical look at politics, religion, and the foolishness of mankind that revives and revamps Aristophanes' classic comedy

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
Book by Alex Timbers Music by Michael Friedman
Directed by Ken O’Brien
May 3-11

BLOODY BLOODY ANDREW JACKSON tells the story of America's first political maverick. A.J. kicked British butt, shafted the Indians and smacked down the Spaniards all in the name of these United States--who cares if he didn't have permission?  BLOODY BLOODY ANDREW JACKSON recreates the life of the seventh president, from his humble beginnings through his ascent to the Presidency.  It also asks the question, “is wanting to have a beer with someone reason enough to elect him? What if he's really, really hot?”


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, 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).

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Oddfellows Teams up With Rock Cats for Fundraiser!


It's summer time here in Connecticut, and you know what that means?  Hot dogs!  Long summer nights!  And Baseball!!

 Oddfellows Playhouse is pleased to announce that it will be hosting a fundraising event with the New Britain Rock Cats!!   Come join us on Saturday, August 11 at the Rock Cat Stadium to support Oddfellows with a night of baseball, fun, and fundraising!  Watch as the New Britain Rock Cats (Minnesota Twins) take on the Reading Phillies (Philadelphia Phillies).

Tickets for the game are only $6!! and

 Half the proceeds from all ticket sales and all the proceeds for concessions will go directly to the theater.  This is a great event for the whole family (and friends too!) to come out.  You can also come early that night and enjoy the pre-game block party that will be going on.

If you are interested in purchasing tickets, contact Director of Development Courtney Antonioli by phone at 860-347-6143 or email her at Courtney@oddfellows.org. 

            When: Saturday, August 11
            Where: New Britain Rock
            Gates open: 5:35 p.m. (pre-game block party starts)
            Game Time: 7:05 p.m.

Also, we are looking for volunteers to help us out that day to work concessions, the information table we will have set up, and helping us to sell tickets.  If you are interested in any of those, contact Courtney.


This is the first time Oddfellows is teaming up with the Rock Cats, and it is sure to be a fun night for everyone.

We hope to see you there!!