Cover photo compliments of Playwrights' Arena

The Orange Grove

Tom Jacboson
Book Item Icon $15.95
PDF ePlay Item Icon
Enter total users


A small Lutheran choir in its death throes provides the backdrop for this Chekhovian warning of the impending doom of mainline Protestantism in America. Laughter through tears with nice lemon bars.

Production Info

Cast: 9 total (4 female, 5 male)
Full Length Dark Comedy (about 100 minutes)
Minimal Set Requirements
Contemporary Costumes
Category: Tag:

Press Quotes

“It takes a special leap of imagination — a leap of faith, even — to look at a mild-mannered Lutheran pastor and see in him Madame Ranevskaya, the disastrously sentimental widow of Anton Chekhov’s THE CHERRY ORCHARD. Or, by extension, to compare the current senescence of mainline Protestantism to the destabilizing decline of Russia’s landed gentry a hundred and twenty years ago. But then Tom Jacobson (OUROBOROS) is no ordinary playwright. His ambitious new THE ORANGE GROVE is inspired by the valedictory tones of Chekhov’s final masterpiece and by Jacobson’s experiences as a member of Westwood’s Lutheran Church of the Master, where his play is being staged. The result is a vivid, despairing portrait of a community in decline … Like Chekhov’s landowners, the church leaders of ORANGE GROVE — a warm but diffident pastor, a touchy choir director, a dithering caretaker, a selfless volunteer, a staunch old-timer — are in denial about the congregation’s mounting fiscal crisis and don’t want to hear practical proposals from new member Larry. After all, the church is a sanctuary not only for them but for a well-meaning if volatile homeless man and a part-time secretary, a Jew who nonetheless relishes the church’s ad hoc family. This family is fictive, but its dysfunctions are real. As an unexpectedly circumspect choir diva observes, ‘Almost everyone here is single, and that’s not a coincidence.’ Chekhov devotees will find much to savor in Jacobson’s deft character composites and references. The most Chekhovian thing about THE ORANGE GROVE, though, is the sense of real-time rapport … We may leave despairing the future of church-bound faith but not the enduring power of theatrical communion.” —Rob Kendt, Los Angeles Times

About the Author


  • Tom Jacobson

    Tom Jacobson has had more than 80 productions of his plays, including SPERM at Circle X Theatre Company, THE ORANGE GROVE at Playwrights Arena, and the award-winning BUNBURY, TAINTED BLOOD, OUROBOROS and THE FRIENDLY HOUR at The Road Theatre Company. THE TWENTIETH-CENTURY WAY premiered at The Theatre @ Boston Court and the New York International Fringe Festival (five Ovation Award nominations, four Los Angeles Drama Critics' Circle nominations, one GLAAD Award nomination, Fringe Festival Award for Outstanding Production of a Play, PEN Center Award for Drama) and moved Off Broadway to Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre. MAKING PARADISE: THE WEST HOLLYWOOD MUSICAL was produced by Cornerstone Theater Company (Critic's Choice in Back Stage West). He has been a co-literary manager of The Theatre @ Boston Court, a founding member of Playwrights Ink, and a board member of Cornerstone Theater Company and The Theatre @ Boston Court. Most recent productions include the world premieres of THE CHINESE MASSACRE (ANNOTATED) at Circle X and HOUSE OF THE RISING SON at Ensemble Studio Theatre-LA (Critic's Choice in Back Stage West and Los Angeles Times, nominated for a GLAAD Award and winner of two Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards). Film: PRAIRIE SONATA (based on THE FRIENDLY HOUR). Opera: HOPSCOTCH, commissioned by The Industry.

About the Book

Book Information

Publisher BPPI
Publication Date 1/18/2018
Pages 104
ISBN 9780881457483

Special Notes

Special Notes

Licensees are required to include the original stage producers credits in the following form on the title page in all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play and in all advertising in which the full cast appears in size of type not less than ten percent (10%) of the size of the title of the Play:

THE ORANGE GROVE premiered in January 2004
at Lutheran Church of The Master in Los Angeles,
produced by Playwrights' Arena

The following must appear within all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play:
The Orange Grove is produced
by special arrangement with Broadway Play Publishing Inc, NYC