Skye Bartusiak will portray Helen Keller opposite Hilary Swank's Annie Sullivan in an upcoming Broadway revival of The Miracle Worker. The New York Daily News reports that Bartusiak beat out hundreds of other young performers to co-star with the Academy Award-winning Swank in the April revival.
Bartusiak appeared as Dove in the Swank film "The Affair of the Necklace," although her scenes were cut prior to the movie's debut. Bartusiak's other screen credits include "Firestarter 2: Rekindled," "Riding in Cars with Boys," "Don't Say a Word," "Blonde," "The Darkling," "The Prophet's Game," "The Cider House Rules" and "Storm of the Century."
Academy Award winner Hilary Swank is in negotiations to play Annie Sullivan in an upcoming Broadway revival of The Miracle Worker, according to Variety.
The trade paper reported that the Oscar-winning star of "Boys Don't Cry" may headline the 2002-03 revival, which is being produced by Fran and Barry Weissler (Chicago, Seussical). The Weissler office had no comment on the project Sept. 5. The William Gibson drama about blind and deaf Helen Keller and her feisty teacher, Annie Sullivan, memorably starred Patty Duke and Anne Bancroft in the 1959 Broadway run and later film.
Marianne Elliott, an artistic director at London's Royal Exchange, will reportedly direct the production. Her directorial credits include Noël Coward's Private Lives for Royal Exchange as well as an acclaimed staging of The Little Foxes for London's intimate Donmar Warehouse. Swank has also appeared in "The Gift," "The Affair of the Necklace" and the recent Al Pacino film, "Insomnia." Miracle Worker would mark the actress' Broadway debut.
Gibson's drama about the true story of Helen Keller, a blind child whose life was transformed when she met teacher Sullivan, debuted at Broadway's Playhouse Theatre in October 1959. Anne Bancroft (Sullivan) and Patty Duke (Keller) headed the cast of the production, which ran for 719 performances. Arthur Penn directed that original Broadway mounting, which received Tony Awards for Best Play, Best Director of a Play (Penn), Best Actress in a Play (Bancroft), Best Scenic Designer (George Jenkins) and Best Stage Technician (John Walters).
Bancroft and Duke re-created their roles in the 1962 film; both won Oscars for their performances. Duke later played Annie in a TV film of the work, with Melissa Gilbert as Helen. A sequel, Monday After the Miracle, showed Helen and Annie as adults, dealing with very different issues.
—By Andrew Gans