Orphan Train Rider

Orphan Train Rider
Oliver Nordmark - Age 15 - Esbon KS

Monday, July 16, 2012



A wonderful new musical, Orphan Train, is coming to Iowa this summer. My friend RENEE WENDINGER, author of EXTRA! EXTRA! THE ORPHAN TRAINS AND NEWSBOYS OF NEW YORK, has worked with the director of this show for the past two years, and finally it is a reality. Hopefully the troupe, with much needed sponsorship, can bring this play into more states in the very near future.
Fending for oneself as a child is a rough endeavor. Rev. Charles Loring Brace, and the Children's Aid Society, had a vision to send children away from the over populated New York City streets, to find family homes. Especially with frontier families in the West in hopes of achieving a healthier, happier life away from big-city poverty and neglect. Brace’s foresight resulted in the “placing out” of nearly a quarter of a million orphaned, neglected, and homeless street kids by train across America, in what has become known as the Orphan Trains. The transfer was the first emigration plan and the largest mass migration of children in American history. The hope for these children facing a limited number of real life options, and a multitude of challenges during the 1850s through 1930 was simply--- to be chosen!!!!

This summer, an exciting and moving new musical telling their story is coming to Iowa.

Orphan Train (book by L.E. McCullough, lyrics by Michael Barry Greer, music by Doug Katsaros) will make its Midwestern premiere Aug. 3-12, 2012 at the Stephen Sondheim Center for the Performing Arts, 200 N. Main St., Fairfield, Iowa, for seven performances, presented by Way Off Broadway http://wobroadway.com.

Orphan Train is directed by legendary New York choreographer and director Patricia Birch. Ms. Birch has created the musical staging for original Broadway and off-Broadway shows including Grease, You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, The Me Nobody Knows, A Little Night Music, Candide,Over Here, The Happy End, Pacific Overtures, They're Playing Our Song, and many, many more. She is a five-time Tony nominee and winner of Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Barrymore, Billboard, and MTV awards, as well as a Directors Guild nomination and the prestigious Fred Astaire Award for her choreography and direction of music-driven projects ranging from Sondheim to the Rolling Stones.  Set design by Richard Finkelstein

Journey back in time to the turn of the century with the Orphan Train; witness the heartfelt stories of six young orphans who were forced out of New York and relocated by rail to Iowa in this new and sensational musical, based on a true story. Discover a candid and heartwarming family show that embraces dedication, rescue, friendship, abuse, love, separation, and more.

Tickets ($12-$38) may be ordered online at http://www.fairfieldacc.com, by calling the box office at (641) 472-2000 or emailing info@fairfieldacc.com.

Performance Times:

· Friday, Aug. 3 - 7:30 p.m.

· Saturday, Aug. 4 - 7:30 p.m.

· Sunday, Aug. 5 - 2:00 p.m.

· Thursday, Aug. 9 - 7:30 p.m.

· Friday, Aug. 10 - 7:30 p.m.

· Saturday, Aug. 11 - 7:30 p.m.

· Sunday, Aug. 12 - 2:00 p.m.

Having the capability to pay it forward to the next generation, this new musical is a call to address the problems of present day American youth whose childhood is scarred by poverty, homelessness, gangs and addiction. Like Brace, the orphan train team has a broader vision in taking the play into America’s Heartland where orphan trains legacy remains a meaningful part of the cultural landscape, and can serve as a rallying point for renewed social engagement.

As a joint professional and community based approach to presenting historic theater with contemporary relevance, this play is a perfect fund-raising vehicle for organizations; especially ones involving kids where proceeds can help our children attain success and education. The production is a perfect scenario for putting the cast on a train and retracing the route of the original orphan trains through an organized Orphan Train Heartland Tour.

With some support and muscle, the performance of the Orphan Train can make a difference in children’s lives, and leave behind something for people to think about. For more information on how you can make a difference in children facing an uncertain future, and arm them with courage and youthful innocence, sponsorship in bringing Orphan Train across America is exceptionally needed.

Please contact the Orphan Train Heartland Tour to be of assistance c/o Lawrence McCullough at lemccullough@mac.com.

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