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By Lyle Kessler

Directed by Sarah Becker


ORPHANS is the story of two brothers living on their own in a North Philadelphia row house. Treat steals for a living while Phillip stays at home, hidden from the world, surviving only on canned tuna fish sandwiches. One night, Treat brings home a drunk older man, Harold, in the hopes of robbing him, but Harold is too smart for Treat's tricks. He convinces the boys to use their house as a base of operations for petty thievery. In a strange, hilarious, and moving way, Harold begins to care for the orphaned brothers. Anyone can be a father, it takes someone special to be a Dad. 

September 3





ORPHANS is presented by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH, INC.


Chris Alvarenga

Aaron Johnson

& Michael Stuart


"Sarah Kimberly Becker has done a superb job mining the script for both the inherent dark humor and tragedy. The pacing is crisp and the touch deft, moving the evening along to its shattering conclusion.

The production is blessed with a trio of formidable performances... Michael Stuart comes back to the material with a poignant and heartwarming performance as Harold. There's a sly wit to his characterization that makes him endearing. Aaron Johnson, as Phillip, gives yet another accomplished and nuanced performance. Just when I think I have seen into the depths of this fearless actor, he astonishes me anew by his unflinching ability to lay bare his soul on stage... ORPHANS is very much an actor's play that requires a strong cast to make it work... and this one fills the bill quite nicely... Great theatre doesn't come along every day. Make your reservations now, because it was sold out the night I went. And there's a reason for that." (Entire Review)

Frank Benge,

"The characters in Kessler's tale are eccentric and beguiiling enough to entice you into a suspension of disbelief. Stuart as the fatherly Harold at first seems entirely too good to be true, but he delivers the emotional goods to this desperately needy pair... Though we're initially led to think that this play is about inhibited Philip, it becomes evident that the real catharsis is reserved for Alvarenga as Treat. And Alvarenga delivers with a burning authenticity throughout this parable." 

(Entire Review)

Michael Meigs, CTX Live Theatre




Aaron Johnson


Michael Stuart*


* Member Actor's Equity Association

sarah becker


Kayleigh Axtell

Rehearsal stage manager

Lyle Kessler


Paul Feinstein

Production stage manager


Funding 'ORPHANS' would not be possible without the generosity of our producers. To join our forces as a producer, please contact

Street Corner Arts

Sarah Becker

Aaron Johnson






I was born in Philadelphia, and I’ve tried to escape that city all my life. I end up writing plays that force me back to Philadelphia, at least psychologically if not physically. I’ve been trying to run away and here I am.

really in touch with but was trying to put into a dramatic framework. We all experience aspects of the play's characters: Phillip, who is hidden and scared, afraid to go out; Treat, with his underbelly of rage and anger when

Orphans reflects unconscious elements in myself that were, at the time, indigestible and butting up against each other in my psyche; issues I wasn’t 

slighted. We keep our reactions within civilized boundaries, of course, but Treat doesn’t. He has no impulse control, so when slighted, he hits back. Harold, obviously, is the man who brings them together and makes them whole.

The “father” we all look for.

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cast & creative

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