Mainstage Center for the Arts submitted the following information on its production of The Miracle Worker:
“At the beginning I was only a little mass of possibilities. It was my teacher [Anne Sullivan] who unfolded and developed them. When she came, everything about me breathed of love and joy and was full of meaning,” wrote Helen Keller in her autobiography, The Story of My Life.
Playwright William Gibson captured the way Anne Sullivan brought meaning to Helen Keller’s dark, silent world in The Miracle Worker. Mainstage Center for the Arts (MCA) will present this true, inspirational tale Feb. 8-16 at Camden County College’s Dennis Flyer Theatre.
The Miracle Worker tells the story of Keller, who lost her sight and hearing at 19 months due to illness, and Sullivan, the extraordinary teacher who taught her to communicate with the world. The 1960 Broadway production won five Tony Awards, including Best Play.
Mainstage’s production will feature three Gloucester Township residents: Casey Williams-Ficarra of Glendora is Annie Sullivan; Chase Catling, 8, of Blackwood will portray Jimmy, Annie’s younger brother; and Aleem Ogunsanya, 8, of Winslow/Sicklerville, plays Percy, a servant of the Kellers. Anastasia Korbal, 12, of Cinnaminson, is Helen Keller.
The Miracle Worker brings back special memories for Williams-Facarra.
“The Miracle Worker was the very first play I saw. I was just 5 years old. Although I was too young to grasp most of the concepts in the piece, I was very engaged by the story, since so much of it is physical staging and easy for even a child to follow. I remember being very, very moved by the end of the play,” she said.
“Annie is certainly a compelling person, and I hope to bring justice to her strength of character and moral fiber. She is truly a pioneer in the field of education for the disabled, when such a thing hardly existed at the time.
“Her perseverance in the face of adversity, her spunk, and her tireless efforts to change the way the world looked upon those that they did not understand are to be admired. I am humbled to be portraying such a person,” Williams-Facarra said.
Catling and Ogunsanya are also enthusiastic about their roles in The Miracle Worker. Both boys are acting students at Mainstage Center for the Arts.
“I’m really looking forward to the show,” said Catling. “I’m in a flashback and I have to pretend I’m scared and in pain. It’s fun to act out those emotions. I love acting.”
Ogunsanya was “blown away” when he learned he had the part. “I was so excited to learn I had the part. Acting is a part of me. I love to be on the stage and expressing my feelings.”
The cast also includes: Shawn O’Brien of Laurel Springs (Captain Keller), Samantha Clarke of Philadelphia (Kate Keller), Eli Wood of Berlin (James Keller) and Toni Richards of Camden (Viney).
Award-winning director Chris Melohn leads the talented cast.
The Miracle Worker runs Feb. 8, 9, 15 and 16 at 7:30 p.m., in the Dennis Flyer Theatre, Lincoln Hall, Camden County College, Blackwood, NJ. The Saturday, Feb. 16 performance is sign interpreted. For tickets in the interpreted section, please call 856-302-6485.
Ticket prices are $18 for adults, $14 for senior citizens and $12 students 18 and under. For tickets, visit mainstage.org or call 856-302-6485.