The Miracle Worker

The Miracle Worker is an engaging and hopeful play and the current revival (its first ever on Broadway) boasts a good cast and serviceable direction. Brought back to Broadway on the occasion of its 50th anniversary, The Miracle Worker tells the true story of Helen Keller and her teacher, Annie Sullivan. This main storyline is entirely compelling and alternately heart-wrenching and funny. The play stumbles a little when it veers off course, sometimes to explore the relationship between Captain Keller, Helen’s father, and his son from a previous marriage, James, and sometimes to provide a bit of Annie’s back story. Nevertheless, the play moves at a quick clip and despite knowing the ending, the play’s climax is thoroughly moving.

Alison Pill and Abigail Breslin are great as Annie and Helen, respectively. Pill’s Annie is spunky and determined, despite all the roadblocks set before her. (Annie, herself, was blind as a young girl and regained her sight after a series of surgeries.) Little Miss Breslin is really quite impressive here in her Broadway (and, for that matter, theatrical) debut. From the moment she steps on stage, she is present and does a wonderful job of finding action and non-verbal ways of expressing herself.

The rest of the cast is good, too. In particular, Matthew Modine (who made a guest appearance in season four of The West Wing!) is commanding and demanding as Captain Keller and Jennifer Morrison, (Kate Keller, Helen’s mom) is believable as a mother trying to figure our the best way to love her impaired daughter.

Despite being family friendly, this revival is having trouble finding an audience. Reviews were positive but not glowing, and have not ignited the box office the way producers would like. It’s currently up on TDF (i.e., you can get good cheap tickets!) and producers are mulling over its future. I recommend seeing it, and I’d go it now before the play leaves the boards.

Visit The Miracle Worker’s official website for more information.