"Beginning in 1853 and for more than 70 years, the Children's Aid Society of New York, and later the New York Foundling Hospital and other charities, worked to move more than 150,000 orphaned boys and girls off the city's streets into stable homes with adoptive families," press notes state. "The 'surplus children,' as they were called, boarded railroad cars at Grand Central Depot (the Terminal's predecessor) and Grand Central Terminal (when it opened in 1913) to points across the country, joining families in nearly every state in the union. The majority went west to farm families in burgeoning communities. The initiative is credited with launching the organized foster care movement in America."
The process of moving the orphans was controversial, as some saw the initiative as sending away problem children, while others viewed it as a positive change for them.
"With Orphan Train, we can explore the personal impact Grand Central had on so many young lives in its earliest days. The Terminal is an endlessly vibrant part of New York City life, and this performance is yet another way Metro-North enhances the experience for customers and visitors alike," Randall Fleischer, vice president, Grand Central Terminal, said in a statement.
"I've been asked to bring Orphan Train to New York before, but it wasn't until the opportunity arose to stage it at Grand Central that I thought, ‘Yes! This is the right time to produce it here,'" director Birch said in a statement. "I am so pleased this show, created and performed by so many talented people, will be seen by New Yorkers in this amazing space. This is going to be an emotional, immersive experience for the cast and the audience alike."
Birch said plans are underway for a tour to communities where orphan trains delivered children to new homes and families.
Reservations are required due to limited seating and can be made by visiting orphantrain.eventbrite.com. Show times are Oct. 11 at 2:45 PM and 7:30 PM and Oct. 12 at 11:30 AM, 2:30 PM (with post-show discussion) and 5:30 PM. Tickets must be printed out and will be checked at the performance prior to seating.
More information can be found by visiting orphantrainmusical.com.