What’s New?

Orphan Train Visits the Heartland!

Orphan-Train-RotatorOrphan Train will be performed at University of Nebraska-Kearney Oct. 3-7, 2018, with a special two-day academic conference — The Orphan Train Colloquium — providing a platform to examine, study and discuss The Orphan Train Movement through multiple disciplines and perspectives.

Organized by UNK faculty member Dr. Anne Foradori, the Oct. 2-3 colloquium features presenters in the humanities, social sciences and arts. Events will be held on the UNK campus, The Archway and the Museum of Nebraska Art.

The colloquium concludes on Wednesday evening with the opening night performance of the musical, Orphan Train.

Patricia Birch has served as Guest Director for the production, and composer Doug Katsaros has been guiding the music ensemble. L.E. McCullough will present a workshop titled All the World’s a Classroom: Using Theatre to Teach Basic Curriculum”, and Pat, Doug and L.E. will be on a special colloquium panel talking about how Orphan Train was created.

Anybody finding themselves in Nebraska in early October, stop on by and catch some great theatre!

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*** In October, 2013, Orphan Train was performed live to 5 sold-out audiences in historic Vanderbilt Hall at Grand Central Terminal as part of GCT’s gala Centennial Celebration! ***

The all-star cast of veteran actors and up-and-coming youngsters included Steven Blanchard (star of Broadway’s Beauty and the Beast), tap dance virtuoso DeWitt Fleming Jr. (Riverdance, Cotton Club Parade), Katie Brady, Kayla Wickes, David Girard, John McGuire, Carol Smith, Jose Velasquez, Jason Pinter and more — plus Rosie O’Donnell’s Theatre Kids and a bevy of talented actors and stage crew from Marymount Manhattan College Theatre Arts Program!

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We were thrilled to bring the Orphan Train saga back to its historic roots … the first trains the Children’s Aid Society sent west had departed from Grand Central Station (as it was known in the mid-1800s).

To see our young actors performing on the actual grounds where their Orphan Train “ancestors” had voiced their youthful hopes and dreams was truly inspiring.

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ORPHAN TRAIN in The Big Apple …the Pre-Party @ Grand Central-NYC

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On Friday, Feb. 1, 2013 the Metropolitan Transportation Authority of New York (MTA) and Metro-North Railroad celebrated the 100th anniversary of Grand Central Terminal with a full day of speakers and musical performances.

Orphan Train was represented by Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter and actress Melissa Manchester, who performed the show’s anthem song (“Travelin’ Far”) accompanied by the Celia Cruz Bronx High School Choir and Orphan Train composer Doug Katsaros.

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It was a powerful emotional moment that brought a momentary hush to the bustling depot, as the voices of hope-filled children from a bygone era echoed across the marble expanse.

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WABC-TV anchor Liz Cho

The centennial anniversary of the opening of Grand Central Terminal in 1913 would be celebrated in gala style – with Orphan Train as part of the festivities.

Hosted by WABC-TV news anchor Liz Cho, the hour-long re-dedication program featured speakers and celebrities sharing their connections to the storied history of New York’s greatest transportation hub:

Actress Cynthia Nixon, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins … Centennial Committee Chair Peter Stangl, MTA executives Fernando Ferrer and Tom Prendergast … Trans-Siberian Orchestra violinist Sarah Charness, baseball standout Keith Hernandez, two current descendants of 19th-century Grand Central visionary Cornelius Vanderbilt (Alfred G. Vanderbilt III and Paul Szapary) … and most especially Caroline Kennedy — whose mother, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, was the leader in the fight to save Grand Central from being torn down a generation ago.

“We’re thrilled that Orphan Train can be part of the Centennial,” says director Patricia Birch. “Grand Central has always been a place where new history and new hope spring into motion each day. And that is the story of our play.”

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Click here for a Playbill article about Orphan Train @ Grand Central.

Click here for a glimpse at Melissa Manchester’s rehearsal with the Celia Cruz Choir!

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Composer Doug Katsaros (red beret!) and the Orphan Train Band standing by…

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Melissa Manchester, Celia Cruz Choir & The Official Centennial Cake

* Orphan Train show photos © 2013 Richard Finkelstein
* Grand Central pre-party photos © 2013 L.E. McCullough

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One thought on “What’s New?

  1. Pingback: Saving America’s Surplus Children … Then and Now | ORPHAN TRAIN, THE MUSICAL

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