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Witness 'The Miracle Worker' at Averitt Center


May 31, 2016

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    The Averitt Center for the Arts' latest play, The Miracle Worker, will tell the story of Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan over the weekend of June 3–5 in the Emma Kelly Theater.
    Drawn from true events, the play follows Helen's life after, at 19 months of age, she contracted an unknown illness that rendered her blind and deaf. Cut off from most human forms of communication, Helen turns into an unruly and “feral child.” Not knowing what else to do, Helen’s parents hire Anne Sullivan, a graduate of the Perkins School for the Blind, to help their daughter leave her world of darkness. However, Anne has her work cut out for her in teaching the blind, deaf child how to communicate — and if she is unsuccessful, the Kellers intend to put Helen in an insane asylum.
    Directed by Susan Jackson, a retired educator and part-time administrative assistant at the Averitt Center for the Arts, the play has been described as a serious, dark drama. Jackson says she hopes the show packs an emotional punch.
    Specifically, she said, “I hope the audience will be bawling their eyes out.” 
    Her ultimate goal is to entertain, but Jackson said she also wants this story to become personal to the audience. The staging portrays Helen’s dark world through the lighting, music and actors, evolving to show how language changes her whole life. 
    Brandi Harvey, who is carrying the part of Anne Sullivan, said The Miracle Worker is exciting and unique because it is based on a true story. The audience will get to see the dynamics — and the strength — of a family in crisis.
    “It opens a door for the audience to be inspired,” Harvey said.
    Playing Helen Keller is Abbey McMillan, a well-known face among the Averitt Center's younger cast of players. McMillan is best known for her performance as the plucky titular orphan girl in Annie, but her character in The Miracle Worker ­— a much more intense drama than the classic musical — will pose her most challenging role to date.
    Tickets for Friends of the Arts are $13 for adults, $10 for youth, and $15 box. For non-members, tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for youth, and $17 box. For more information about The Miracle Worker, visit www.averittcenterforthearts.com or call the box office at (912) 212-2787.


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