SEARSPORT, Maine — “The Orphan Train,” an original musical, will premiere at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 12, at Searsport District Middle/High School cafetorium, with additional performances at 7 p.m. Friday-Saturday, May 13-14, and 2 p.m. Saturday, May 14. The show is appropriate for all ages.
Directed by SDHS senior Jessica Ploszaj and assisted by senior Marion Nickerson, the show began as a collaborative effort in 2006 of the “Let’s Write a Show” program. Some of the actors in the show were part of that original effort. This year, Ploszaj wrote in the characters and the dialogue and is bringing it to life on stage as part of her senior experience at the high school.
As the show opens, Grandpa and Grandma are traveling with their grandchildren by train to an uncle’s house. The train is delayed, and the two begin to tell the story of how they met, singing “Once Upon a Day Gone By.” The storyline then takes grandchildren Floyd and Vicky back to the time in history when orphan trains headed west from the east coast of the United States to find street children new homes. They meet a group of these children at the Sunny Dale orphanage who sing “Come On I’ll Show You Around” and do a rousing clean up in “Sometimes Life Can be a Chore!” John and Johanna sing about family lost and a hope for finding “A Family for Me.”
The two grandchildren ride with the children on their “Train of Hope.” When riding “The Orphan Train,” not all the children find families on their first, second or even third stops, and they sing about their sadness at this situation in “Losing Hope.” Floyd and Vicky find the bonds of friendship are strong, however, even through tough times, and the hopeful orphans sing of the “Best Day of My Life.”
Cast and crew of the production are Miles Martin, Karigen Coffin, Cassi McKay, Madison Philbrick, Sophie Noonyenooneam, Jade Hanson, Marion Nickerson, Alicen Brooks, Mackenzie Philbrick, Hannah Valliere, Emma Reynolds, Morgan Hutcheson, Heidi Ploszaj, Jazmine Robbins, Brooklyn Alberts, Jessica Ploszaj, Makala Coyne, Mikaela Ally, Kaylee Knowles, Grace O’Brien, Holden Clapp, Cole DuBois, Hannah Nadeau, Brianna Housman, Paige Ireland, Vicki Wilbur, Lindsay Ward, Alivia Cross, Joe DuBois, Naya Krienke and Chris Goosman. Lighting is by Jason Brooks and sound, Mackenzie Philbrick. The play is produced by Chris Goosman. Parent support comes from Joe DuBois.
Tickets at the door are $5, $3 students, children and senior citizens.