Orphan Train

by  Dennis North

Full Length Play, Drama  /  22m, 8f, 1boy(s)

In the late 1920s, close to a million orphans roamed the dirty streets of New York City. A very fortunate few were placed on Orphan Trains and sent west, looking for loving homes. Nettie MacCleary, a young Kansas farm wife, is devastated by the loss of her baby. Nettie has a gift - one that tells her to somehow hold on...that her dead child will return to her.

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Orphan Train

by  Dennis North

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    22m, 8f, 1boy(s)
  • Duration

    Duration

    105 Minutes
  • SubGenre

    Subgenre

    Period
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult
    • Senior
    • Teen (Age 14 - 18)

Additional Info

In the late 1920s, close to a million orphans roamed the dirty streets of New York City. A very fortunate few were placed on Orphan Trains and sent west, looking for loving homes. Nettie MacCleary, a young Kansas farm wife, is devastated by the loss of her baby. Nettie has a gift - one that tells her to somehow hold on...that her dead child will return to her. The last Orphan Train departs New York City, and the two abusive Placing Agents in charge have decided to make this final trip their most personally profitable. A last-minute orphan is added to their cargo - a mysterious little boy with no past. The boy is guided and guarded by a "friend" only he can see. Worlds of faith and evil, love and greed collide as the train makes its' way to Kansas.
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Considerations

Performing Groups

  • High School/Secondary
  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $75 per performance

Production

Details

  • Time Period: 1920s
  • Duration: 105 Minutes
  • Setting:

    Multiple settings, incl:
    The MacCleary's Front Porch
    The General Store
    Aboard the 'Orphan Train'

  • Features / Contains: Period Costumes

Music

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

Casting

22m, 8f, 1boy(s)
NETTIE MACCLEARY - Strong willed Kansas farm wife
TYLER MACCLEARY - Nettie's husband, a hard-working farmer
GRACE - A young Angel, waif-like face with a ruddy, windblown complexion
MRS. LEECH - Corrupt Orphan Train Placing Agent
MR. LEECH - Her husband 
J.C. (JAMIE) MACCLEARY - Tyler's father
HYPACIA -  An African-American woman who works on the MacCleary farm
RUFUS - Hypacai's husband, a farm hand at MacClearys. Rufus and Hypacia are like family to the MacClearys.
JAKE - Young orphan
CONRAD STRACHEN - The local banker, sharp features, a true bean counter, bottom-line man
GLADYS STRACHEN - Spinster sister of Conrad, warm and simple, still cherishes the belief that her brother is in the banking business to help people
EMMETT - Local sheriff, good-hearted man juyst trying to do his job
REVEREND - Town pastor, genuinely concerned for his flock
WILLIS - Musician and farmer
HARLEN - Farmer
TOM MASON - Farmer
DOUGLAS - The grocer
DORENE - Douglas' wife
MAYLENE - Dorene's friend
MISS. BAXTER - Placing agent
WALTER - The porter
SHERIFF - In New Light
MAYOR - Of Bluff Creek
CLIFFORD
EUREKA TOWNSHIP FARMER
LITTLE YAZOO FARMER
AUCTIONEER
SERENDIPITY FARMERS 1 & 2
CASHIER
PALMER - The station master
MISSOURI FARMER
ANGEL CHORUS - Optional
EXTRAS
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Cast Attributes

  • Reduced casting (Doubling Possible)
  • Room for Extras

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Authors

Dennis North

Dennis North

Orphan Train was originally commissioned and give its world premier by The Purple Rose Theatre Co., in 2001 and was directed by Jeff Daniels.

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