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Helen Keller Festival brings ‘The Miracle Worker’ to life on stage

TUSCUMBIA — An outdoor drama depicting the life of America’s first lady of courage attracts thousands of visitors to Tuscumbia every year.

Playwright William Gibson’s epic drama, “The Miracle Worker,” is performed on the grounds of Ivy Green, the birthplace of Helen Keller, showcasing to the world the miracle that took place in the late 1800s. The production will run Fridays and Saturdays, June 3-July 16.

Now in its 61st season, the performance recalls the childhood of deaf-blind Helen Keller, who lost her sight and hearing at the age of 19 months, and the extraordinary teacher, Annie Sullivan, who taught her to communicate with the world. The play carries the audience into the daily disappointments and then the miraculous breakthrough of the young Helen at the guidance of her teacher, with authentic costumes and sets.

Gates open at 7 p.m. and the play begins at 8. Admission is $15/reserve seats and $10 for general admission. A group rate is offered for groups of 20 or more for $13/person. Special seating is available upon request for persons with special needs with a two-week notice. Tickets may be purchased with a credit card by calling 256-383-4066.

Gibson, who died in 2008, was an American playwright and novelist. He won the Tony Award for Best Play for “The Miracle Worker” in 1959, which he later adapted for the film version in 1962. Both the play and the film adaptation featured Patty Duke as Helen Keller and Anne Bancroft as Annie Sullivan.

Tuscumbia pays an annual tribute to Keller with a four-day celebration each June with the Helen Keller Festival. This year’s event will be June 23-26.

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