BWW Reviews: ORPHANS at Wichita Center for the Arts is Exemplary

Orphans, the Tony award winning play by Lyle Kessler, is running at Wichita Center for the Arts for another weekend. Shaun-Michael Morse and his small but mighty cast of three have created an unforgettable evening of theatre.

Morse directed the intimate production in the round on stage at Center for the Arts, immersing the audience in the intense lives of the characters. Due to the reconfiguration of the space, seating is extremely limited- get your tickets immediately. Morse has an eye for the little things, and knows how to bring a script to life. Every element of the production was defining- fights by Danette Baker, props by John Boldenow and set by John Hammer created another reality.

The titular Orphans, played by Sean Gestl and Damian Padilla, are perfection. David Bailey, as the drunk-turned-con-man-turned-father-figure is subtle and mesmerizing. The three deliciously talented actors are completely unrecognizable from their canon of work thus far. The script is complicated and challenging, but it is in excellent hands. Every moment is clear, and the two hours race by all too quickly.

The post-show discussion was almost as interesting as the script. The audience, deeply affected, took something away, but for each person, the lesson was different. Psychologically devastating and visceral, Orphans explores the best and worst of humanity. Loss and liberation. Family and loneliness.

Wichita Center for the Arts is the most underrated theatre in town. The little gem on the East side consistently delivers high quality, socially important, cerebral theatre. Go see Orphans because you love drama. Go see Orphans because you support the arts. Go see Orphans because you're bored and need something to do. It doesn't matter why you go. As a member of the human race, you must go.

Orphans will run for one more weekend- September 26th through 28th, with Friday and Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 2pm. Tickets are $15 to $25. Wichita Center for the Arts is located at 9112 E Central. For tickets or more information call (316)315-0151 or visit

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From This Author Alison Bridget Chambers

Alison Bridget Chambers holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from Shenandoah University Conservatory and an MFA in Acting from The New School for Drama. A (read more...)

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