The Miracle Worker
A play by William Gibson
Directed by Kate Whoriskey
Starring Allison Pill, Abigail Breslin, Matthew Modine, Jennifer Morrison, Elizabeth Franz, Tobias Segal, Daniel Orsekes, Michael Cummings, Simone Joy Jones, Yvette Ganier, Lance Chantiles-Wertz
Performances began February 12, 2010
Circle in the Square Theater/235 West 50th Street
The Miracle Worker—the heartwarming story of the blind and deaf Helen Keller and her teacher Annie Sullivan—might not be a classic, but playwright William Gibson’s melodramatic account can hit the emotional high notes in the right hands.
Whoriskey‘s cast comprises Matthew Modine, making an auspicious Broadway debut as Captain Keller, Helen’s stern father; Jennifer Morrison, who’s a decent Kate, Helen’s loving mother; and Tobias Segal (Keller’s son James), Elizabeth Franz (Helen’s Aunt Ev) and Yvette Gainer (the family maid Viney), all of whom enliven stock parts.
Allison Pill—a young actress who has, in a handful of onstage appearances, shown that she never strikes a false note in her characterizations—is a formidable Annie Sullivan, never eclipsing Anne Bancroft’s legendary portrayal but making the willful, often injudicious teacher all her own. That she looks (Annie’s supposed to be 20) and sounds (a good Boston accent) the part are pluses.
Teenager Abigail Breslin brings to mind Patty Duke’s classic interpretation of Helen as a headstrong young girl, which is not a bad thing. Breslin and Pill’s intensely physical performances during their head-on collisions are the most memorably successful parts of a play that, however burdened by creaky dialogue and melodramatic excess, never fails to stir the soul: even in a competent, flawed production as this.
originally posted on timessquare.com