Historical Theater

Advisor: Ann Bowman - Mondays 12:30-2pm  $64 per month.

This year KATS Historical Theater is opening up for Middle School Students who are not taking the full Monday block of classes for 1st semester.  They will be performing an original play written by Mrs. Bowman.  Here are the details:


From 1854 to 1930, over 250,000 orphans were sent from east coast cities to adoptive families across the Midwest.  Some of these orphans found wonderful lives with their new families.  Others found lives that more resembled slavery than a family.  But all of the records from these orphans in their later years say that they were better off being adopted by strangers than continuing in their lives on the streets of eastern cities.

Orphan Train Christmas takes place just before Christmas in 1894 when the Children’s Aid Society of New York City is ready to send a group of orphans to new homes in Ohio and Illinois.  At the last minute, the experience matron who is to supervise the group breaks her arm.  The young new helper, Christina Blakely, convinces Rev. Loring Brace to let her take the children to their new homes.  As she and the 11 children travel west, each child’s character, hopes, and fears come to light.  They meet sympathetic townspeople who decide to adopt, and others who are prejudiced against them because they are orphans.  And they get unexpected help from a Fuller Brush salesman who ends up on the same train.  As they travel, Christina tells them the stories of Mary and Joseph, who also traveled at this time of year, who didn’t know what the future held, and who faced their own hopes and fears.  Romance blooms and a surprise ending brings happiness to the orphans no one seems to want.  Cast of 30-44, doubling will be necessary.

Older students are desirable for a variety of parts:

REV. LORING BRACE  (Founder of the Children’s Aid Society in New York City)

MRS. WILSON  (Secretary at the Children’s Aid Society; a bit opinionated and bossy)

CHRISTINA BLAKELY (mid-20s, competent and caring; chaperones children on train)

CONDUCTOR (older man, focused on doing his job and keeping the train running)

SIMON WRIGHT (about 30; a Fuller Brush salesman with a big heart)

MAYOR LUCAS (mid-40s; mayor of Columbus, OH)

  1. KNIGHTLY (mid-30s; doesn’t like the Irish)

MRS. KNIGHTLY (mid-30s; also doesn’t like the Irish)

MRS. LUCAS (about 40; the mayor’s wife, self-important, aware of social standing)

IRENE SLATER (about 40; a hard woman; runs a dining room at the hotel)

MRS. MADISON (early 60s; opposed to orphans coming to town, outspoken)

  1. STRAUSS (early 40s; a good-hearted, practical farmer)

MRS. STRAUSS (about 40; a kind but strict farming wife)

MARY DAWES (about 30; runs a dress-making business; kind, but sad)

JOHN WASHBURN (mid-40s; a harsh, no-nonsense farmer; wants a strong farmhand)

MRS. PRUITT (late 40s; high society know-it-all)

REV. FRANK CRUMBIE:  (about 40; generous, wants to do what’s right)

ELEANOR CRUMBIE (about 35; kind, wants to help others)




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