Wright State University will open its 2012–13 theatre season with the Tony Award–winning play The Miracle Worker.
“This is probably one of the most popular dramatic plays,” said W. Stuart McDowell, chair of the Department of Theatre, Dance and Motion Pictures. “It’s a poignant story because it’s true and it deals with triumph over all odds. It’s an affirmation of life—one of those plays where everybody changes.”
Anchoring the show are the two young women in dynamic lead roles. Sophomore musical theatre major Kate Mueller portrays Helen Keller, a young girl who is both deaf and blind. Senior acting major Cyndii Johnson plays Anne Sullivan, the dedicated teacher who connects Keller to the outside world.
The production is helmed by theatre faculty member Lee Merrill. Audiences may remember her as Linda Loman in last season’s Death of a Salesman.
“She’s an actor’s director,” said McDowell. “She understands a play from the inside out.”
The Miracle Worker is a three-act play by William Gibson. It originally opened on Broadway in 1959 and starred Patty Duke as Keller and Anne Bancroft as Sullivan. That production won four Tony Awards, including Best Play and Best Actress for Bancroft.
The play was adapted into a 1962 film in which Bancroft and Duke reprised their Broadway roles; both actresses received Academy Awards for their performances.
“Helen Keller became one of the most important people of her generation,” said McDowell.
The Miracle Worker runs Sept. 20 through 30 in the Festival Playhouse of the Creative Arts Center on Wright State’s Dayton campus.
The rest of this year’s mainstage lineup includes the classic musical Funny Girl (Oct. 25–Nov. 30); the return of the Wright State original 1913: The Great Dayton Flood (Jan. 24–Feb. 10); and the rarely performed, five-time Tony Award–winning musical Grand Hotel (March 14–31). Audiences can also enjoy Spring Awakening (Nov. 9–18) and All in the Timing (Feb. 15–17) in the “blackbox” Herbst Theatre.
Tickets for mainstage productions, including The Miracle Worker, are $20 for adults and $18 for students/seniors. They can be purchased by calling the Theatre Box Office at (937) 775-2500.