Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Alison Pill, Abigail Breslin to star in "The Miracle Worker" revival on Broadway


As we recently reported, William Gibson’s The Miracle Worker is coming to Broadway. The 50th anniversary production of the Tony-winning play will star Oscar nominee Abigail Breslin and Tony nominee Alison Pill. Directed by Kate Whoriskey, the revival will begin previews on February 12, 2010, at Circle in the Square and open on March 3. (Both are pictured.)

Set in Alabama in the 1880s, The Miracle Worker tells the story of real-life Medal of Freedom winner Helen Keller (Breslin), born blind and deaf, and Annie Sullivan (Pill), the extraordinary teacher who taught her to communicate with the world.

Breslin will make her Broadway debut in the role of Helen Keller. She made her breakthrough feature film appearance at the age of five in M. Night Shyamalan’s 2002 film Signs, and received an Academy Award nomination for her performance in the comedy Little Miss Sunshine.

Pill returns to the stage following starring on Broadway in Mauritius and in off-Broadway’s Reasons to Be Pretty and Blackbird, for which she received Lucille Lortel, Outer Critics Circle and Drama League Award nominations. She was nominated for a Tony Award for her Broadway debut in The Lieutenant of Inishmore. She recently appeared in the film Milk opposite Sean Penn and the HBO series In Treatment.

Whoriskey most recently directed the acclaimed and much-extended world premiere of Lynn Nottage’s Ruined at the Goodman Theatre and Manhattan Theatre Club and Inked Baby at Playwrights Horizons. Additional credits include regional productions of Heartbreak House, The Rose Tattoo, Drowning Crow, Antigone and Intimate Apparel, as well as off-Broadway’s Fabulation. Whoriskey has just been named artistic director of Seattle’s Intiman Theatre.

Gibson first adapted the story of Keller and her teacher into a TV teleplay called The Miracle Worker in 1957. He made his Broadway debut as a playwright with the love story Two for the Seesaw, starring Henry Fonda and Anne Bancroft, receiving his first Tony nomination for the show, which played 750 performances at the Booth Theatre. The Miracle Worker followed in 1959, with Bancroft as Sullivan and Patty Duke as Keller. The piece won the Tony Award for Best Play in 1960. Gibson’s other works include Golden Boy, Raggedy Ann, A Cry of Players and Golda. The scribe passed away in November 2008 at the age of 95.

A previous revival, starring Academy Award winner Hilary Swank as teacher Annie Sullivan and Skye McCole Bartusiak as Helen Keller, had been prepped for the Rialto in April 2003. Directed by Marianne Elliott, the show tried out during a sold-out engagement at the Charlotte Repertory Theatre before its scheduled move to the Music Box Theatre, but producers canceled the Broadway transfer shortly before it finished its tryout.