Disability news, Accessibility Issues, Disability Issues, Accessiblity News

Group criticizes casting for ‘Miracle Worker’

October 31st, 2009

From the New York Times:

A group of disability advocates has sharply criticized the casting of Oscar-nominated child star Abigail Breslin (“Little Miss Sunshine”) for the role of Helen Keller in this winter’s Broadway revival  of “The Miracle Worker.” The Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts says the role should have been given to an actor who is blind or deaf.

Producer David Richenthal said that casting a star as Helen was essential to securing a $3 million investment for a commercial production, and that his research did not turn up any well-known young actresses who were deaf or blind. He said he would consider casting a deaf or blind actress as Breslin’s understudy.

One Response to “Group criticizes casting for ‘Miracle Worker’”

  1. Jamie Says:

    No commentary? Where do you stand on this hot issue, Ms. Bauer? Me, I’m disappointed in the selection of Abigail Breslin (without even giving a deaf, blind, or deafblind actress a chance at the role) because as far as I know, the role of Helen Keller has never been played in a high profile production by a deaf, blind, or deafblind actress. It has always been a hearing actor in the high profile productions. (High profile meaning Broadway, movies, or television movies).

    Furthermore, the real problem seems to be with the investors. Are they really that unwilling to support a non-star in the role? It sounds like the producer had no choice but to give the role to Ms. Breslin in order to get the needed funding. And the reason there aren’t any well known young deaf/blind actresses is because they aren’t getting the roles they need to become well known in the first place!

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