Another key character is the Rev. Charles Loring Brace, head of the Children's Aid Society.
"Rev. Brace is a historical character," McCullough said. "We made composite characters of the others."
Those composite characters, though, are rooted in real life.
"All of the stories in our show are real," Katasaros said. "Each is based on a single, compelling story."
Although some of those stories are tough to watch " the orphan train movement did not have a happy ending for all of the kids who took part in it " McCullough said the characters resonate with the audience.
"People have great emotional reactions," McCullough said. "So many people think about their own childhood. They think, gee, that was me or could have been me."
Both Katasaros and McCullough said that what makes "Orphan Train" compelling is not just the stories it tells, but the look it offers at a problem that still persists today, with children still needing foster care and other safeguards.
"There's still a lot of trouble in the world of orphans," Katasaros said.
To that end, The show will preview for the public on Saturday, April 17, at 8 p.m. as a benefit for Vanderheyden Hall. Opened as the Troy Orphan Asylum in 1833, Vanderheyden Hall today describes itself as "an agency that provides a safe haven for children, youth and adults who have experienced family disruption, emotional difficulty and learning problems."
Other shows are Sunday, April 18, 2 p.m.; Friday, April 23, 8 p.m.; Saturday, April 24, 8 p.m.; Sunday, April 25, 2 p.m. and weekdays, April 16, 20, 21, 22, 23 at 10 a.m.. Tickets are $20 for adults, $16 for seniors and students and $10 for children.
For information, visit www.nysti.org or call 274-3256""