The Lost Boy
January 8, 2013 - February 10, 2013
By Susan Mach
Directed By Allen Nause

In a culture of fear and exhibitionism, who preys upon whom?

A 4-year-old boy is snatched and held for ransom by down-on-their-luck roustabouts. His father, the police and P.T. Barnum attempt to outsmart the captors using newspaper headlines, trains and death-defying trickery, while a mother mourns what she has lost.  Meanwhile, Tom Thumb, the Strong Man, a trapeze artist and a Circassian psychic create their own acts at the boy’s expense. Loosely based on true story, this media frenzy and entertainment spectacle of 1874 is a tightrope mystery where a boy’s life hangs in the balance amid the self-serving interests of white collars and circus-folk vying for the upper hand.
World Premiere


Christian Ross Michael Fisher-Welsh*
Sarah Ross Dana Millican
Detective Heins  Doren Elias
Bill Mosher Duffy Epstein
Joseph Douglas Sean Doran
P.T. Barnum  Gray Eubank*
Zalumna Agra Luisa Sermol*
Tom Thumb Sam Dinkowitz
Circus Performers  Elizabeth Houghton, Geoff Kanick
Charley Ross Agatha Day Olson, Logan Tibbetts
Walter Ross Harper Lea












Set Designer Jeff Seats
Lighting Designer Jeff Forbes
Sound Designer Rodolfo Ortega
Costume Designer Sarah Gahagan
Props Designer Rusty Tennant
Stage Manager Stephanie Mulligan*
Assistant Director Louanne Moldovan
Assistant Stage Manager   Bailey Maxwell*






*Member of Actors Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States
^ Member of Artists Rep's Resident Acting Company


BEHIND THE SCENES: Join the cast for a Post-Show Discussion after the 2pm matinee performances on January 13, 20, 27, 30 and February 3.

Happy Hours, Surprise Nights and Book Clubs! Click here to see a full schedule of Audience Enrichment Events.

Click here to read a detailed synopsis of our productions. Spoiler Alert!

STUDY GUIDE! Click here to download a detailed Study Guide for this production. A great resource!

Click here to check out the playbill for the production.

Check out photos of the production by Owen Carey here.

"Writing plays is like committing crimes, Portlander Sue Mach says: "You always tell yourself you're only going to do one more." The Oregonian's Marty Hughley wrote a feature article on playwright Susan Mach that graced the cover of this week's A&E section. Read the full story here.


This world premiere is based on the historical events surrounding what is generally considered to be the “first ransom kidnapping” in America. In 1874, 4-year-old Charles Ross, or “Little Charlie,” and his 6-year-old brother were lured by two men into a carriage outside their home in Philadelphia.  The men drove them around the city for two hours before dropping off the older boy.  Charlie, however, was never seen again.  His father, a wealthy businessman named Christian Ross, received a letter demanding $20,000 for the safe return of his son.  Countless publications nationwide, including the New York Times, and circus promoter P.T. Barnum, who offered a $10,000 reward for Charlie, helped raise awareness of the case but also benefited from the chaos they created.  For years, Christian Ross received hundreds of tips of sightings of Charlie across the United States, Canada, and England, including men claiming to be Charlie himself; none were legitimate.  The two kidnappers were named but died before going to trial, and the fate of “Little Charlie” remains unknown. In 2009, Mach read from The Lost Boy as part of the Made in Oregon series at JAW Playwrights Festival, sponsored by Portland Center Stage.

Susan Mach has an MA in Playwriting from Boston University. Her first play, Monograms, was produced at Theatre for the New City in New York City, the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble in Bloomsburg, PA, Portland Repertory Theatre in Portland, OR, and the Icaras Theatre Ensemble in Ithaca, New York. The script, published by Rain City Press in Seattle, also received a Portland Drama Critics Circle Award. Her second play, Angle of View, was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award and received readings at Portland Repertory Theatre and Boston Playwrights’ Theatre. For her third play, The Shadow Testament, she received a Woman Writers Fellowship from Literary Arts, Inc. This piece has been workshopped by Artists Repertory Theatre, ACT in Seattle, WA, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, and New York Theatre Workshop. Her play, The Difficult Season, a collaboration with renowned jazz pianist and songwriter Dave Frishberg, was also workshopped at Artists Rep. The Lost Boy, commissioned by The Haven Project, earned her an Oregon Book Award in 2011 and an Oregon Literary Fellowship in 2007. Susan has received grants from the Regional Arts and Culture Commission, the Oregon Arts Commission and the Oregon Council for the Humanities.

Dates: January 8 - February 10
Performances: Tuesday - Sunday @ 7:30pm; Sunday @ 2:00pm
Opening Night is Friday, January 11 



 The Oregonian


City Center Parking  

The Reviews...

"Education might be changing, but, at least for this playwright and teacher, the old adage still holds: write what you know," writes Aaron Scott for Portland Monthly Magazine's Culturephile in a feature article on playwright Sue Mach. Click here to read the full story.

Marty Hughley reviews the world premiere production of The Lost Boy, noting many strong performances and calling Allen Nause's direction "psychologically scrupulous" - read the full review here.

“That was a unique cultural experience and why I love living in Portland!” - Audience member

"There’s no doubt of Mach’s craft as a writer here," said Alison Krieger in a review for Portland Stage Reviews. "The artful use of metaphor and imagery underscore the visual aspects of set design, resulting in an aesthetically pleasing experience throughout." Read the full article here.

 “I loved it.  I loved the script, I loved the set, I am so glad I saw it.” - Audience member posted a nicely detailed "Photo Flash" article about Sue Mach and The Lost Boy -- replete with many photos. Check it out here.

“A very interesting tale from the 1800s which resonates today.” - Audience member
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