Abigail Breslin has landed a role in the Broadway play The Miracle Worker. Breslin will take the role of blind and deaf hero Helen Keller, and some people are pissed! There are those who feel that the role of Keller should have gone to someone from the deaf and blind community and not the 13-year-old Oscar nominated actress.
According to the New York Times, groups who represent blind and deaf actors have stated…
“We do not think it’s OK for reputable producers to cast this lead role without seriously considering an actress from out community. I understand how difficult it is to capitalize a new production on Broadway, but that to me is not the issue. There are other, larger human and artistic issues at stake here,” said Sharon Jensen, executive director of the Alliance for the Inclusion in the Arts.
However lead producer David Richenthal said in an interview that he wanted a star (and who better than Breslin) because it’s the only way to make money and that excludes any actress who are deaf or blind.
“It’s simply naive to think that in this day and age, you’ll be able to sell tickets to a play revival solely on the potential of the production to be a great show or on the potential for an unknown actress to give a breakthrough performance. I would consider it financially irresponsible to approach a major revival without making a serious effort to get a star,” said Richenthal.
Seems to make sense sadly. It all comes down to time and money. Chances are that working with Breslin, a seasoned performer, will be easier than a new-comer and she’ll sell more tickets at the same time. Isn’t it a shame all us viewers are so vain?
The Miracle Worker debuted in 1959 with actress Patty Duke as Helen Keller, and went on to the big screen and television, in which the lead was played Duke, Melissa Gilbert, and Mare Winningham — and let me point out that none of those actresses were deaf nor blind.
Who do you think is right to play the Helen Keller role? Breslin or a deaf and/or blind actress?