The Miracle Worker Comes to the Barton Theatre Stage February 21-23

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UPDATE — As a result of the Winter Advisory for Wilson County, the Thursday evening performance of “The Miracle Worker” has been canceled. Those planning to attend the Friday or Saturday evening performances, or the Sunday afternoon performance, are encouraged to reserve tickets in advance at https://www.barton.edu/theatre/tickets/

WILSON, N.C. — February 20, 2020 — Theatre at Barton is pleased to present “The Miracle Worker” by William Gibson, as this dramatic production traces the life story of Helen Keller and her relentless, devoted young teacher, Annie Sullivan.

Because of the Winter Advisory for Wilson County, the show will delay its opening until Friday, Feb. 21, at 7:30 p.m., in the Kennedy Family Theatre on the campus of Barton College. Additional performances will be held on Saturday evening, Feb. 22 at 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday afternoon, Feb. 23, at 3 p.m.

Those planning to attend are encouraged to buy tickets in advance at https://www.barton.edu/theatre/tickets/. Tickets will also be sold at the door as seats remain available. General admission is $10 for adults, $6 for seniors (65 and over), alumni, and military, and for non-Barton students. Tickets are free for Barton College students, faculty, and staff with a valid Barton ID.

This story celebrates a teacher’s dedication to her student, as she struggles to navigate in a dark and unknown world. The challenges were immensely frustrating for everyone, thrust into an unfamiliar territory of extremes and sometimes hopelessness. The family responds to the reality that Helen is blind, deaf, unable to speak, and exhibiting untamable behavior.  All relationships begin to disintegrate, as they search desperately for any means of communication. Annie Sullivan was a blind student herself and recovering from several eye surgeries when the family hired her as a tutor. She began working with Helen, and, together, they made discoveries of love and knowledge, strength, and optimism.  They created a bond that would triumph against all odds, cementing a friendship that would last their entire lives.   

The emotionally charged journey created a historic moment for the sight- and hearing-impaired, as American Sign Language crossed a barrier and led a little girl to empowerment with the ability to understand, speak her mind, and become one of America’s most iconic women. As a writer, much of Helen Keller’s known commentary focuses on happiness, vision and purpose. Some of her famous quotes are “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.”  Philosophically, she also offered, “What I’m looking for is not out there, it is in me.”  

Those searching for an inspiring story will find this optimistic and truthful biography has all the ingredients and is suitable for the entire family.   

“My goal is for these students to experience and present a story that has a high volume of intense physical interaction and emotional investment,” shared Sherry Lee Allen, interim director of Theatre at Barton and artist-in-residence for musical theatre. “A lesson in not taking for granted the blessings bestowed on us, and the courage to pursue answers, rely on faith and human connection. The desire to change a hopeless situation is a calling to ‘expect a miracle.’”  

A stellar cast has been assembled for this production, including Jamie Allen, Ashley Keefe, Zachery Rayburn, Brianna Tenhet, Daniel Toler, Juli Wall, Trey Scoggins, and Savannah Wall. Sherry Lee Allen is the director of the production.  

And, with the assistance of Diana Torres, dean of Arts & Humanities and a Theatre Arts teacher at the Sallie B. Howard School for the Arts and Education, her students will join the Barton Theatre cast, performing as blind students and in other small roles for this production. Those students include Lydia Denton, Qamar Javid, Kemberli Ellis, Elliot Barnes, Jimmie Sullivan, Kaylie Purvis, Amina Lee, Timothy Stewart, and Amberleigh Jones.  

Costume and props have been designed by Dorothy Austin-Harrell, with Alex Warren also working on props; and set and lighting has been designed by technical director Michael Dornemann. The sound designer is Nicholas Leek. The production stage manager is Megan Hickey, and the assistant stage manager is Synthandria Stockwell. Jaidan Payne is the production intern.  

Celebrate this 10th anniversary season in the Kennedy Family Theatre, as this year’s graduating theatre majors perform their final roles in this dramatic production. 

For additional information about this event, please contact Sherry Lee Allen at slallen@barton.edu or 252-399-6492.   

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