When fifteen students from the Off Broadway Troupers take the stage on Sunday, July 17, in “The Orphan Train,” they will be portraying characters grounded in their own historical research. Throughout the summer, young actors have been busy learning lines, and learning the stories of the children who rode the trains from 1853 to 1929. This dramatic rendering by Aurand Harris tells the saga of orphans embarking on the greatest adventure of their young lives.

   The play is based on actual records of one of America’s greatest migrations and a period of American history unknown to many. The orphan trains were the labor of love of Charles Loring Brace (1826-1890), a Methodist minister. Brace saw the suffering of thousands of street children in America’s largest eastern cities who had been orphaned by death, disease, and poverty. To take those children to new homes, families, and a chance for a better life, he established The Children’s Aid Society which, along with other such charities on the east coast and in Canada, placed an estimated 200,000 children on orphan trains to the west.

   The Playmakers’ production of “The Orphan Train” brings to life the successes and the failures experienced by children who rode the trains. The haunting, poignant dramatizations are taken from the diaries of children who rode the trains and from The Children’s Aid Society’s staff reports of actual journeys. 

   The talented youth of the Off Broadway Troupers who portray not only the orphans but the adults in the stories as well include: Summer Brely, Drew Brown, Cyrus Crane, Riley DuBois, Audry Elmore, Caleb Horton, Justus Fletcher, Zachary Jones, Katie Kolczun, Kimberlynn Manley-Forrester, Brookelyn Popp, Lynsey Popp, Nadia Romero, Mason Standlee, and Kennedy Tackkett. Two adults, Tracy Horton and Carol Wilson, complete the cast.  Incidental music will be provided by Pam Leptich on guitar, harmonica, and dulcimer.

   The play is directed by Suzanne Boles and is produced with assistance from the Oklahoma Arts Council and by special arrangement with Dramatic Publishing Company of Woodstock, IL. It runs Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from July 17 through July 30. Evening performances take the stage at 7:30 PM with Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM. The suggested minimum maturity level is kindergarten so all can understand and enjoy this dramatic play.

   Necessary reservations may be made online at www.gcplaymakers.com. They may also be made by calling 918-786-8950 or emailing 1groveplaymakers@sbcglobal.net. Adult tickets are $15.00 including tax; students( K- 12) are $8.00 including tax. Pay What You Can tickets may be purchased for any performance, in advance, by calling the box office number above.