Nominee! 2013 Outer Critics Circle Award, Outstanding Revival of a Play
Off-Broadway audiences gave this moving drama standing ovations. Two brothers live in a house in North Philly. Although adults, there is something child-like about these orphans. The eldest supports himself and his slightly retarded brother by petty thievery. One night he brings home a rich older man to get him drunk and rob him. It turns out that the man-Harold is very rich and on the lam from a hitman. Harold establishes the house as a base of operations and, in a strange, hilarious and moving way, becomes the father figure the boys have always yearned for.
"A weird, wonderful thriller filled with suspense, pathos and packing an emotional wallop." - WMCA Radio, 1985
"Keeps you transfixed." - New York Daily News, 1985
"Bracing energy, dark humor, and tender spirit...Briskly entertaining, deeply affecting" - USA Today, 2013
"An exceptionally effective vehicle for three strong actors." - Wallstreet Journal, 2013
"A testosterone-laden darkly humorous piece" - Associated Press, 2013
"Electrifying...Scorching...Making the descent from black comedy into tragedy in a bracing theatrical thrill ride...Wickedly funny one minute and powerfully emotional the next." - Hollywood Reporter, 2013
"Kessler's three-man drama remains a vibrant exploration of masculinity and the challenge of forming an maintaining family connections." - Entertainment Weekly, 2013
"Orphans is a giddy delight - an acting treatm a fast-talking adrenaline jolt and lots of fun. Serious fun, OK, but definitely fun." - Newsday, 2103
Orphans was first presented at the Matrix Theatre in Los Angeles on August 31, 1983. It was directed by John Lehne. The play was subsequently presented at the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago on February 3, 1985. It was directed by Gary Sinese and also played the Westside Arts Theatre Off Broadway and the Apollo theatre on London's West End.
Orphans made its Broadway premiere at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre on April 18, 2013. It was directed by Daniel Sullivan.