THE MIRACLE WORKER celebrates its 50th Anniversary of Opening on Broadway

Photo: Abigail Breslin & Alison Pill

Kate Keller: Is it possible, even, to teach a deaf blind child half of what an ordinary child learns? Has it ever been done?

Annie Sullivan: No         

"Before she would inspire millions, one woman would inspire her."

William Gibson’s Tony Award® winning play THE MIRACLE WORKER celebrates its 50th Anniversary of opening on Broadway with its first revival.

THE MIRACLE WORKER stars Academy Award® nominee Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine) and Tony Award® nominee Alison Pill (The Lieutenant of Inishmore) as Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan, iconic roles made famous by Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke in the Tony Award® winning play and landmark feature film adaptation. The cast also features Golden Globe® and Emmy Award® nominee Matthew Modine (And the Band Played On, Short Cuts), Jennifer Morrison (the Fox series House M.D., the film Star Trek), both making their Broadway debuts, and Tony Award® winner Elizabeth Franz (Death of a Salesman).

The cast also features Golden Globe® and Emmy Award® nominee Matthew Modine (And the Band Played On, Short Cuts), Jennifer Morrison (the Fox series House M.D., the film Star Trek), both making their Broadway debuts, and Tony Award® winner Elizabeth Franz (Death of a Salesman).

This production marks the first time THE MIRACLE WORKER is being staged in the round; Kate Whoriskey (Ruined) directs.

Before I get into the FAQ's regarding the show. I would like to do a shout out to one of the behind the scenes workers at Circle In the Square, known as Miss Ellen. She is back working in the art production department that creates the sets, clothing etc. A lovely lady that a year ago had a most terrible scare with deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Her doctor recommended an IVC filter to be implanted in her large vein, the inferior vena cava, which carries blood from the lower body to prevent blood clots from reaching her heart or lungs. Unfortunately, complications occurred from the implanted medical device. Her family had to hire an IVC filter lawyer who specialized in defective medical devices. The particular IVC filter her surgeon implanted by C. R. Bard turns out to have been defective. In 2010 the FDA issued a recommendation that implanting physicians and clinicians responsible for the ongoing care of patients with retrievable IVC filters consider removing the filter as soon as protection from pulmonary embolism is no longer needed. Miss Ellen has recovered from her ordeal, although the lawsuit is still pending against the manufacturer. Miss Ellen, we welcome you back.


Set in the American South in the 1880s, THE MIRACLE WORKER tells the story of real-life Medal of Freedom winner Helen Keller, who suddenly lost her sight and hearing at the age of 19 months, and the extraordinary teacher who taught her to communicate with the world, Annie Sullivan.

Who wrote it?

William Gibson.

Who is directing it?

Kate Whoriskey.

Who’s in it?

The first Broadway revival of THE MIRACLE WORKER celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the play's Broadway premiere. It stars Academy Award® nominee Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine) and Tony Award® nominee Alison Pill (The Lieutenant of Inishmore) as Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan, iconic roles made famous by Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke in the Tony Award-winning play and landmark feature film adaptation.

The cast also features Golden Globe® and Emmy Award® nominee Matthew Modine (And the Band Played On, Short Cuts), Jennifer Morrison (the Fox series House M.D., the film Star Trek), both making their Broadway debuts, and Tony Award® winner Elizabeth Franz (Death of a Salesman).

Where has it played before?

The Tony®-winning premiere production of THE MIRACLE WORKER opened at Broadway’s Playhouse Theatre in 1959, starring Patty Duke as Helen Keller and Anne Bancroft as Annie Sullivan. This is its first Broadway revival.
Has it won any awards?

The premiere production won four Tony® Awards in 1960, including Best Play, Best Actress in a Play (Anne Bancroft), Best Direction of a Play (Arthur Penn) and Best Stage Technician (John Walters). It was also Tony-nominated for Best Scenic Design (Play). Patty Duke won a 1960 Theatre World Award for her portrayal of Helen Keller.

Is THE MIRACLE WORKER appropriate for children?

Kids 12 and older will have the best experience, but children 5 and up are welcome.

THE MIRACLE WORKER contains no objectionable content, but the material might best be understood and enjoyed by children who have started elementary school.

Please note that children under the age of four are not permitted in the theatre.

Will my grandparents enjoy THE MIRACLE WORKER?


I’m not familiar with Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan.

Medal-of-Freedom winner Helen Keller (June 27, 1880 – June 1, 1968) was an American author, political activist and lecturer, who was blind and deaf from infancy. She was the first person who was both blind and deaf to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree, and she inspired the world with her courage, intelligence and fortitude. Throughout her life, she worked to improve the lives of the blind and deaf.

THE MIRACLE WORKER tells the story of how Keller's teacher, Annie Sullivan (April 14, 1866 – October 20, 1936), broke through the isolation imposed by a near complete lack of language. Her work with Helen Keller is still the blueprint for the education of children who are blind, blind and deaf, or visually impaired.

I’m not familiar with the work of William Gibson. Will I like THE MIRACLE WORKER?

If you like beautifully written family drama that tells an inspirational story about real-life people, you will love THE MIRACLE WORKER.

Who is producing THE MIRACLE WORKER?

Performances begin on February 12, 2010; opening night is scheduled for March 3, 2010.
David Richenthal, Eric Falkenstein and Randall Wreghitt.

How long will THE MIRACLE WORKER be running?

Tickets for THE MIRACLE WORKER are currently on sale through August 1, 2010. Please check back on our website for information on new performance dates!


Approximately 2 hours, with one 15-minute intermission.

Where is it playing?

The Circle in the Square Theatre, which his located at 235 West 50th Street (between Broadway & 8th Ave). Click here for information about the theatre.



Abigail Breslin (Helen Keller) made her breakthrough film appearance as Mel Gibson’s leading lady at the tender age of five in M. Night Shyamalan’s 2002 film Signs. She is perhaps best known for her critically acclaimed title-role performance in the runaway hit comedy Little Miss Sunshine. Abigail received Academy Award, SAG and BAFTA best supporting actress nominations and was honored with a Best Actress award from the Tokyo International Film Festival, as well as being named ShoWest’s “Female Star of Tomorrow” in 2008. Other film credits include Raising Helen, No Reservations, Definitely Maybe, Nim’s Island and Kit Kittredge: An American Girl. This summer, she starred opposite Cameron Diaz in the Warner Brother’s film My Sister’s Keeper and can currently be seen starring in Columbia’s hit horror comedy Zombieland opposite Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg and Emma Stone. Abigail can next be seen opposite Johnny Depp in Rango, Gore Verbinski’s animated adventure film for Paramount Pictures.
Alison Pill (Annie Sullivan) most recently starred on Broadway in Mauritius and in the Off-Broadway hits reasons to be pretty and Blackbird, for which she received Lucille Lortel, Outer Critics Circle and Drama League nominations. She was nominated for a Tony® Award for her Broadway debut in The Lieutenant of Inishmore and for a Lucille Lortel Award for On the Mountain. She won a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Ensemble in the U.S. premiere of The Distance from Here and starred in an Off-Broadway run of None of the Above. Film work includes Scott Pilgrim vs The World, Milk, Dan in Real Life, Dear Wendy, Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen and Pieces of April. Television includes In Treatment (HBO), The Book of Daniel (NBC), Life With Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows, and the upcoming miniseries The Pillars of the Earth.
Matthew Modine (Captain Keller) A veteran of over 50 films, Modine has starred in Alan Parker's Birdy, Jonathan Demme's Married to the Mob, Harold Becker's Vision Quest, Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket, Alan J. Pakula's Orphans, John Schlesinger's Pacific Heights and Oliver Stone's On Any Given Sunday to name a few. In 1984, he was recognized by the Venice Film Festival for his work in Robert Altman's Streamers, while he and his cast mates received an unprecedented Best Actor Golden Lion Award. In 1993 he received a second award from the Venice Film Festival —a Volpi Cup for Best Ensemble Cast—in Robert Altman's Golden-Lion-Award-winning Shortcuts, with the cast winning the Golden Globe® for Best Ensemble. Matthew earned Golden Globe® and Emmy Award® nominations for his performance in HBO's critically acclaimed, Emmy Award®-winning drama And the Band Played On. Modine received a Golden Globe® nomination for his performance in the 1998 Hallmark Entertainment production What the Deaf Man Heard (CBS), the highest rated television movie at that time on any network since 1991. Matthew also appeared in the Emmy Award® nominated CBS miniseries Hitler: The Rise of Evil. Recently, Matthew starred in the feature film Opa! and just completed filming The Trial. Three of his short films, When I Was a Boy (co-directed with Todd Field), Smoking and Ecce Pirate debuted at the Sundance Film Festival to critical acclaim. When I Was a Boy also premiered at the prestigious New Directors/New Films at New York's Museum of Modern Art. I Think I Thought had its North American premiere at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival. Cowboy premiered at the 2008 Los Angeles United Film Festival. Each of these films have since played major film festivals throughout the world. Modine's first feature, If…Doug…Rabbit starred John Hurt, Kevin J. O'Connor, Bruce Dern, Lisa Marie and David Keith. On stage he starred in the critically acclaimed Hartford Stage production of To Kill a Mockingbird and in the world premiere of Matthew Modine Saves the Alpacas at the Geffen Playhouse, a satire about the film industry. Modine directed the play 12 Angry Men starring F. Murray Abraham, Wallace Shawn and Seymour Cassel at the New Mercury Theater co-founded by Matthew and Todd Field in Beverly Hills, California. THE MIRACLE WORKER marks Modine’s Broadway debut.
Jennifer Morrison (Kate Keller) makes her Broadway debut in THE MIRACLE WORKER. She can currently be seen as Dr. Allison Cameron on Fox’s critically acclaimed drama House MD, which has received nominations for the 2009 Screen Actors Guild Award, Primetime Emmy Award® for Outstanding Drama Series in 2008, 2007 and 2006 and a 2008 Golden Globe Award®. She was recently nominated for a 2008 WIN Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series for her performance on the hit show. This fall she can be seen in the upcoming Lion’s Gate feature film Warrior directed by Gavin O’Conner starring opposite Nick Nolte and Joel Egerton. This summer she appeared in J.J. Abrams’s film Star Trek as Captain James Kirk’s mother, Winona. She was recently seen in 20th Century Fox’s Mr. and Mrs. Smith opposite Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Dreamworks’ Surviving Christmas starring Ben Affleck and Christina Applegate, the independent film Flourish in which she stars in and produced and in the Lifetime feature The Murder of Princess Diana based on the novel by Noel Botham. Other film credits include Grind, Urban Legends: Final Cut and the Kevin Bacon thriller Stir of Echoes. On television she played a recurring role on Dawson's Creek and appeared in the series Any Day Now and The Chronicle. Morrison studied with the celebrated Steppenwolf Theatre Company and earned a theater degree from Loyola University.
Elizabeth Franz (Aunt Ev) made her Broadway debut in Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. Since then she has appeared on Broadway in Neil Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs (Tony® and Drama Desk Award nominations), The Cherry Orchard, The Octette Bridge Club, The Cemetery Club, Getting Married, Uncle Vanya. Ms. Franz is best known for her powerful interpretation of Linda Loman in the 1999 production of Death of a Salesman (Tony Award®, Chicago’s Jefferson Award, Boston’s Eliot Norton Award, Los Angeles’ Ovation Award, New York’s Fany Award, Drama Desk Award nomination and Outer Critics Circle Nomination). Her performance was recorded for television and she was nominated for Screen Actors Guild and Emmy Awards®. She and Sam Waterston starred in an acclaimed New York production of Long Day’s Journey Into Night before she returned to Broadway in the multiple Tony®-nominated production of Morning’s At Seven for which was nominated for Tony®, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards. Off Broadway: originated the title role in Christopher Durang’s Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You (Obie Award, Drama Desk nomination), world premiere of Kelly Masterson’s Against the Rising Sea at Queens Theater in The Park and The Piano Teacher at The Vineyard Theatre (2008 Lucille Lortel Award). Other performances include The Cripple of Inishman, The Comedy of Errors, Minutes from the Blue Route and Madwoman of Chaillot. Regional credits include Lion in Winter, The Glass Menagerie, A View from the Bridge, The Matchmaker, The Wizard of Oz, Great Expectations, Model Apartment, Woman in Mind. In 2003 she was awarded the Dramatist’s Guild Sidney Kingsley and Madge Evans Lifetime Achievement in the Theater Award. Film: Christmas with the Kranks, The Substance of Fire, Sabrina, The Pallbearer, Stephen King’s Thinner, Fish in a Bathtub, Secret of My Success, School Ties and Jacknife. Television movies A Town’s Revenge (Emmy® nomination), A Girl Thing, The Rise and Rise of Daniel Rocket Dottie, Love and Other Sorrows and House of Mirth. Numerous television series including Law & Order: Cold Case, Judging Amy, Roseanne and The Gilmore Girls.
Tobias Segal (James) is excited to make his Broadway debut. Last season, he played roles in The Cherry Orchard and A Winter's Tale in Sam Mendes's Bridge Project (BAM, Old Vic, European and Asian Tour). Off-Broadway, Toby appeared in From Up Here at MTC (Drama Desk and Drama League nominations) and Doris to Darlene at Playwrights Horizons. Regional credits include Equus (Barrymore Award). Film/TV: Rocky Balboa, New Year Parade (Slamdance Grand Jury Prize), Medium, Law & Order, Law & Order SVU.
Daniel Oreskes (Doctor/Anagnos) originated the role of “Big Davey” in Billy Elliot. Other recent credits include “Theseus” in Midsummer Night's Dream (Public), “Jupiter” in Cymbeline (Lincoln Center). Film: The Thomas Crown Affair, Devil's Advocate. TV: The Sopranos, Waterfront, Third Watch, Law and Order.
Michael Cummings (Percy) Broadway: Lincoln Center Theatre: Joe Turner’s Come and Gone. Off-Broadway: Ty Jones’s Emancipation, Radha Blank's seed (Classical Theatre of Harlem), A Single Winter's Day (Concordia Conservatory). TV: One Life to Live, Late Show with David Letterman, Sesame Street.
Simone Joy Jones (Martha) is excited about her Broadway debut. She enjoys reading, writing, singing, dancing, and acting. Thanks to Mom, Dad, Sean Jr. and Shirley Grant Management.
Yvette Ganier (Viney) Broadway: King Hedley. London: Jitney. Off-Broadway: Breath Boom (2002 OBIE), Jitney, For Colored Girls (25th Anniversary). Regional: Steppenwolf, The Goodman (Hedley, Gem of the Ocean), Mark Taper (Gem), Intiman, Seattle Rep, Pittsburgh Public, Center Stage, Dallas Theatre Center, Cleveland Playhouse, Great Lakes.
Lance Chantiles-Wertz (Jimmie) Broadway Debut! Off-Broadway: The Widowing of Mrs. Holroyd. New York City Ballet: The Nutcracker (Prince), Mother Goose. Eight Operas with the Met, MTV, Nickelodeon, The Onion News. Thanks to family, friends, teachers, SAB, Abrams, especially my mother. We did it!