‘Miracle Worker’ to open on Monmouth stage on Nov. 1

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Immortalized onstage and screen by Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke, this drama is based on the remarkable true story of Helen Keller and her teacher, Annie Sullivan. Young Helen Keller, (performed by Olivia Degen), blind, deaf, and mute since infancy, is in danger of being sent to an institution because her inability to communicate has left her frustrated and violent.

In desperation, her parents seek help from the Perkins Institute, which sends them a “half-blind Yankee schoolgirl” named Annie Sullivan (Ashleigh Dunham) to tutor their daughter. Despite the Kellers’ resistance and the belief that Helen “is like a little safe, locked, that no one can open,” Annie suspects that within Helen lies the potential for more, if only she can reach her.

Through persistence, love, and sheer stubbornness, Annie breaks through Helen’s walls of silence and darkness and teaches her to communicate, bringing her into the world at last.

Other cast members include Buffy Dumont as Helen’s forever hopeful mother, “Kate Keller,” Rick Messana as “Captain Arthur Keller,” Helen’s stoic yet loving father, and Christopher Dumont as “James Keller,” Helen’s half-brother. “Aunt Ev” is played by Ginger Smith, Viney, the Keller family’s maid, is performed by Cindy Dunham, and Andy Tolman does double-duty acting both parts of the “doctor” and Mr. Anagnos. The parts of “Martha” and “Percy” are played by Annie Giroux (Ashley Cray on the Nov. 9 performance) and Oliver Wilson. The “blind girls” include Leah Herrick, Elia Morgan, Kate Spadafora, Ashley Cray, Julia Tague-Lacrone, Gabby Low, Lexi Gallant, and Annie Giroux. Julia Tague-Lacrone, Gabby Low, and Lexi Gallant also double as “crones,” and Rocco Scott plays the role of Annie Sullivan’s younger brother, “Jimmy.”

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This production is directed by Lucy Rioux, co-founder and former artistic director of MCP, and is stage managed by Tenisha Bourget. The producer is Rich Howard, costume design is by Lyn Ballou, lighting by Greg French, props by Christine Heckman, and sound by Rita Moran.

Ticket prices are $14 for general admission, $12 for students/seniors, and can be ordered in advance at http://monmouthcommunityplayers.com/tickets or 1-800-838-3006.

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