Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Miracle Worker On Broadway

Two nights ago I had the chance to see a preview performance of The Miracle Worker on Broadway. Prior to that I had never seen a live production or one of the many movie or television versions of the show. Now I knew going in that it would probably be a little heavy. It is about Helen Keller after all. Plus I was looking forward to finally seeing Alison Pill on stage as I have been a big fan of her film and television work and heard great things about her prior performances on the New York stage.

So there I sat in my third row seat at the Circle in the Square Theatre waiting for the show to begin. For those of you that are not familiar with the theatre it is in the round which usually means all the seats are good. Anyway the show began and to be honest I found it to be a little over the top at first. In fact I was sure I was going to be in for a disappointing night at the theatre. Well that all changed when Alison Pill walked on stage. That was the moment that I began to see the show for what it was and before you knew it I was totally enthralled with everything that was going on.

I guess my only complaint with the show is that because it was in the round there were many times when I could only see their backs. Because of that I feel like I missed a lot of key moments between the performers. Now don't get me wrong. There were many times where the staging worked. I just felt I would have enjoyed it more if it had been staged on a proscenium or thrust stage. Now despite my problems with the staging I thought the acting was quite good and thought the actor's were very committed to their roles.

Besides Alison Pill and Abigail Breslin who both at times broke my heart I was very impressed with Matthew Modine and Jennifer Morrrison who besides portraying Helen's parents were also making their Broadway debuts. Bravo to them for not only picking a show as dramatic as The Miracle Worker but doing so in a show where you are so close to the audience. To me that is what made the show so thrilling at times. You felt like you were right there with them the whole time.

Now while the show did have it's dramatic moments there was a lot of humor throughout the script. I was not expecting that. I mean when you think about the story of Helen Keller you don't think of it being funny. In fact at the beginning of the show I almost started to laugh but that was more because of what was going on during the actor's performance then anything else. Having said that I think the show is a must see and once they work out a few kinks and it's staging problems it should be in fine shape.In fact I expect many of it's cast members as well as the play to receive Tony nominations this May. We will soon find out. Until next time theatre fans.

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