William Gibson’s “The Miracle Worker,” based on the true story of Helen Keller and her teacher Anne Sullivan, opens Friday, April 26 at the Empress Theatre.
Over 30 actors will bring the story of Keller and Sullivan’s first summer working together to life. Although fourth grader Hadley Houston, who plays Keller, only speaks once, she appears on stage for most of the show.
“I am very proud of her,” said director Teresa Willis, of Houston’s role in the performance.
With Katie Williams playing Anne Sullivan, Julia Roberts as Katie Keller, Thad Mayhugh as Captain Keller and Isaac Hay as Helen’s stepbrother, Wills said this cast make the production easy.
Wills is a Theatre Workshop of Owensboro board member who said that although she has directed several youth and holiday productions, this has been the most interesting and challenging production in her career.
“This story is one that I have been passionate about for years and I feel fortunate to direct it,” Wills said.
This is a production for all ages and has a cast of all ages, according to Wills, of the show set in the 1890s South.
“It is an inspirational, motivational and emotional show,” Wills said. “We have an exceptional cast that is very talented.”
Audience members will notice the intentionally minimalist set design and the “different twist” on the use of sound and light.
“Helen’s view of the world would be very different from ours,” Wills said. “The structure of the set leaves some things to [the audiences’] imagination.”
The play is sponsored by Reynolds and Associates and Robynn Clark with Edward Jones.
Performances are April 26 and 27 at 7:30 p.m. and April 28 at 2 p.m. The same schedule repeats the weekend of May 3, 4 and 5.
Advance tickets are $18 for adults, $12 for students. There will be a $2.00 surcharge for all tickets purchased at the door. For tickets call 270-683-5333 or visit their website.