Orphans

by  Lyle Kessler

Full Length Play, Dramatic Comedy  /  3m

Updated Broadway Version!

Two brothers, Phillip, sensitive, reclusive, never venturing out of his North Philly home and Treat, a violent pickpocket and thief who kidnaps a mysteriously wealthy businessman who turn the table on the two brothers and in strange, hilarious and moving way, becomes their long lost father figure.

Read more +
License Estimator

Use this tool for cost estimates based on your specific needs.

  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    3m
  • Duration

    Duration

    105 Minutes
  • Accolades

    Accolades

    From Broadway, From Off-Broadway, From West End
  • Suggested Use

    Suggested Use

    • Cutting Approved for Competition
    • Monologues
    • Scene work
    • UIL Approved
    • Competition or audition material
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult

Additional Info

Broadway and Off Broadway audiences gave this moving drama standing ovations. Orphans has been an international success throughout the world. Albert Finney won the Olivier Award in London’s West End production. Two brothers, Phillip, sensitive, reclusive, never venturing out of his North Philly home and Treat, a violent pickpocket and thief who kidnaps a mysteriously wealthy businessman who turn the table on the two brothers and in strange, hilarious and moving way, becomes their long lost father figure. 
Read more +

Accolades

  • Nominee! 2013 Outer Critics Circle Award, Outstanding Revival of a Play

Reviews

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 treat, a fast-talking adrenaline jolt and lots of fun. Serious fun, OK, but definitely fun." - Newsday, 2103

"Orphans has enduring appeal, its powerful theme of fathers and sons searching each other out. Alec Baldwin mines the vein of tenderness that lies deep in the play." - Variety

"Orphans is wickedly funny one minute and powerfully emotional the next. Kessler uses humor as a subversive force, making the shift into despair a visceral gut punch." - The Hollywood Reporter

"Orphans will keep you laughing and crying. By far the best play I've seen this season." - WOR Radio

Considerations

Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Professional Theatre
  • Shoestring Budget
  • Large Stage
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups

Cautions

  • Caution Alcohol Alcohol
  • Caution Strong Language Strong Language
  • Caution Mild Adult Mild Adult Themes

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $75 per performance
  • Optional Music/Media Fee: $15 per performance

Production

Details

  • Time Period: Present Day
  • Duration: 105 Minutes
  • Setting: The action takes place in an old row house in North Philadelphia in the not too distant past. 
  • Features / Contains: Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes

Music

  • Musical Style: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Vocal Demands: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Chorus Size: N/A (Not a musical)

Casting

3m
PHILLIP - A Wild Child who has never ventured from his house. 
TREAT - A Pick Pocket and Thief; violent, suppressed emotions. 
HAROLD - A Commanding Presence, able to handle any situation. Loving under a tough exterior. 
See all +

Cast Attributes

  • All Male

Resources

Rehearsal Resources

Music Material Rental Packages Glyphs / UI / Tooltip

Full Package

16 performance tracks available. 

Contact your licensing representative for more information. 

More

Authors

Lyle Kessler

Lyle Kessler’s Orphans has been an international success in almost every country in the world since its Steppenwolf Theater Production in Chicago and New York, directed by Gary Sinise. Albert Finney starred in London’s West End production. The Broadway revival starred Alec Baldwin and Ben Foster, directed by Dan Sull ...

View full profile

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.

Now Playing

Community Experiences