The Miracle Worker premiered on Broadway in 1959, bringing acclaim to playwright William Gibson and director Arthur Penn. Gibson and Penn both earned Tonys for their work, as did Anne Bancroft for her portrayal of Annie Sullivan. Two decades later, Gibson and Penn reunited for a sequel called Monday After the Miracle. Jane Alexander, by then a Tony winner and three-time nominee, played Annie Sullivan. Karen Allen, fresh from Hollywood success in Raiders of the Lost Ark, played Helen Keller.
The play opened at the Eugene O'Neill on Dec. 14, 1982. Though New York Times reviewer Frank Rich panned the production, he defended the effort to revisit the characters of The Miracle Worker. "No one can accuse Mr. Gibson or Mr. Penn of exploiting their Broadway hit of a generation ago," he wrote. "How one wishes that the work itself rose to the high level of its creators' aspirations." In light of poor critical reception and attendance, the play closed four days later.