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The Miracle Worker (play): Wikis


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The Miracle Worker
Written by William Gibson
Characters Annie Sullivan
Helen Keller

James Keller
Captain Keller
Date premiered 19 October 1959
Place premiered Playhouse Theatre
Original language English
Setting Tuscumbia, Alabama
IBDB profile

The Miracle Worker is a three-act play by William Gibson adapted from his 1957 Playhouse 90 teleplay of the same name. It is based on Helen Keller's autobiography The Story of My Life.

The play is set in Tuscumbia, Alabama, where an illness renders infant Helen blind, deaf, and consequently mute. Pitied and badly spoiled by her parents, she learns no discipline and grows into a wild, raging creature by the age of six. Desperate, the Kellers hire Anne Sullivan to serve as a governess and teacher for their young daughter. After several fierce battles with the little girl, Annie convinces her parents she needs two weeks alone with the child if she is to achieve any progress in her education. In that time, she teaches Helen discipline and language through the use of her fingers, a breakthrough that has a direct effect on everyone's life and the way they live it.

The Broadway production was directed by Arthur Penn. It opened at the Playhouse Theatre on October 19, 1959 and closed on July 1, 1961 after 719 performances.


Principal opening night cast

Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke

Patty Duke remained with the play for its entire run. Suzanne Pleshette eventually replaced Anne Bancroft.

Principal production credits

Critical reception

Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke on the December 21, 1959 issue of Time

Time called the play "fairly makeshift, at times clumsy, and, when sound-tracking voices from the past, occasionally embarrassing" but praised "the extraordinary performances, the magnificent teamwork of Anne Bancroft and ten-year-old Patty Duke, and the brilliant direction of Arthur Penn."[1]

Awards and nominations


Screen adaptation

Gibson, Penn, Bancroft, and Duke reunited for a highly acclaimed 1962 film adaptation. Gibson and Penn were nominated for Academy Awards and both actresses won Oscars for their performances.

West End Production 1994

DIRECTOR: Richard Olivier, Bill Kenwright Ltd.

THEATRE: National Tour to Wyndham's Theatre


Broadway 2010 (The 50th anniversary production)

DIRECTOR: Kate Whoriskey

THEATRE: Circle in the Square Theatre



  1. ^ Time writers (2 November 1959). "New Plays on Broadway". Time.,9171,892828,00.html. Retrieved 2008-06-17. 

External links


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