Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Sterling Playmakers The Miracle Worker

By • Apr 26th, 2007 • Category: Reviews

Listen to our review of Sterling Playmakers The Miracle Worker [MP3 6:27 1.8MB].

Laura: Friday evening we saw the opening night performance of Sterling PlaymakersThe Miracle Worker in Sterling, Virginia.

Mike: The Miracle Worker is a play written by William Gibson. It is based upon Helen Keller’s autobiography. It tells the story of the relationship between the deaf and blind Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan, the teacher who is brought in to teach Helen how to live.

Laura: I thought this was a very well performed show. Everybody did a really good job. The camaraderie between Helen and Anne Sullivan I thought was very real. They worked together closely. The rest of the family also did a good job trying to help Helen be normal, but at the same time pitying her and letting her get away with a lot. I really enjoyed enjoyed this show and I thought everybody did a good job.

Mike: This was a very well done show. I enjoyed myself watching it. I wasn’t really looking forward to it. I’ve seen the movie a few times and thought it was kind of boring. But right when the show started, it pulled me right in and kept my interest the whole time. It was a long show. The first act was just over an hour and a half long. The second act was 36 minutes long. Be prepared for a long first act of the show. It was very well done and I think you will really enjoy the show.

Laura: Helen Keller, the deaf and blind girl was played by Emily Price. She did a really good job. She looked blind. Anything that was going on around her she was oblivious to. However, you could see the wheels turning in her head. She could be a mischief maker especially when she didn’t get her way. She had some pretty good temper tantrums. It was really interesting to watch her and the other members of the family tried to give her what she wanted just so she would be quiet. Then her teacher came and would have none of that. I thought she did a really excellent job.

Mike: Anne Sullivan, Helen’s teacher, was played by Rachel Gray. She did a great job with this role. I felt very sorry for her having to deal with the antics of Helen Keller and the family that really wasn’t supporting her. They were happy to get Helen back just a little bit better tan she used to be. That was pretty gut wrenching and I liked how that all came together.

We met with some of the actors after the show and I talked with Rachel Gray about the fight scene where Anne was trying to teach Helen to use her napkin and spoon to eat with. That scene went on for a good ten – fifteen minutes. It was pretty thorough. There was some laughter from the audience. It was a very involved scene. I asked Rachel Gray about that fight and she told us that after the roles were cast, they had about a month off before the first rehearsal. They spent that month going over that scene.

The fight director was Kevin C. Robertson. He worked with them that month to get the fight scene coordinated. Rachel Gray said she was looking forward to only having to do that scene a handful more times because it’s so tiring and so much work. She would actually have bruises when the fight scene got really involved. Be careful if you sit in the first few rows because there is food and silverware flying around the stage.

Laura: Kate Keller, Helen’s mother, was played by Maria Bissex. She also did a very good job. She was trying to be supportive. She wanted to just hold her daughter and give her everything she wanted just so she would behave. She wanted to put up with her tantrums. Then towards the end of the show she began to realize what needed to be done and actually stood up to her husband by saying “No, Helen needs to depend on her teacher for everything.” I thought she did a very good job.

Mike: Helen’s father, Captain Arthur Keller, was played by Nate Granger. He did a pretty good job of getting the point across thaat he was the master of the family and what he says goes. Unfortunately, he kept losing battles in the war of the sexes. He kept getting overruled by his wife, by his daughter, by his sister, and even by Anne Sullivan. He was kind of put down upon throughout the show, but he definitely showed that love and that warmth he had for Helen. I really liked how he played the frustrated father.

Laura: The set was very creative. The Set Designer was Sharon Nelson. It was on two levels. You had an outside of the house and then you had dining room area as well as an upstairs bedroom where Anne Sullivan slept. They did a very good job of keeping everything straight. They went inside the house and then through another door to go outside to a garden instead of just walking across the stage. I thought that was really good.

Mike: I think the whole cast worked very well together. One note about a scene that I thought was really funny unintentionally, was James Keller, who was Helen’s half brother, played by Jonathan Dyer. He had a scene where he was carrying in Anne Sullivan’s trunk as she was moving into the house. There was a scene going on between Anne and Helen and James just kind of stood there holding this trunk full of clothing and other belongings. He just stood there for five minutes holding this trunk. I thought that was just a little funny, maybe he forgot to put it down or maybe he wasn’t told to put it down. But I really don’t think he would standing there holding this trunk for that along. All the actors did a great job with this show.

Laura: Between the scenes there was background music that was playing. The song they were playing was “Be Thou My Vision,” which I thought was a really interesting touch. The Sound Designer was Darin Weisenberger.

Mike: The Miracle Worker is playing at Sterling Middle School through Sunday the 29th. Friday and Saturday night at 8 PM and Sundays at 2. If you can get out to Sterling I definitely encourage you to go see this show.

Laura: I agree. I though this was a really well done show. Everyone worked well together. It was really a good show to see. I definitely recommend you go out to Sterling Middle School and see the Miracle Worker.

Mike: And now, on with the show.


  • Doctor: Herb Fuller
  • Kate Keller: Maria Bissex
  • Captain Arthur Keller: Nate Granger
  • Helen Keller: Emily Price
  • Martha: Becky Granger
  • Percy: David Eddington
  • James Keller: Jonathan Dyer
  • Aunt Ev: Sabine Morson
  • Viney: Anita Ault
  • John: Herbert DuVall
  • Mr. Anagnos: Eric J. Kingsepp
  • Anne Sullivan: Rachel Gray
  • Blind Girls
    • Beatrice: Elizabeth Pittman
    • Sophia: Michele Viljoen
    • Jenny: Amanda Holsinger
    • Emmarose: Courtney Garofolo
    • Kathleen: Sarah Reed
    • Jane: Heather MacNeil
    • Alice: Bianca Roberts
    • Elizabeth: Jackie Werner
    • Judith Stephanie LeBolt
    • Abigail: Cheryl Uttley
    • Edith: Heather Reed
    • Laura: Kathryn Buckman
  • Ghosts from Anne’s past
    • Jimmy: Joao Versos
    • Magistrate: Eric J. Kingsepp
    • Crone Berthe: Beth Robertson
    • Crone Agnes: Brietta O’Neal
    • Crone Eunice: Joni Carluzzo
    • Doctor: Herb Fuller
  • Understudy for Helen: Michele Viljoen


  • Producer: Emilie Pugh
  • Director: Kathleen Bleutge
  • Assistant Director: Brian Garrison
  • Poduction Stage Manger: Helen Gernhardt
  • Fight Director: Kevin C. Robertson
  • Technical Directors: Burgan Pugh and Scott Reugg
  • Stage Manager: David Reed
  • Assistant Stage Manager: Liz Viljoen
  • Set Designer: Sharon Nelson
  • Master Carpenters: Burgan Pugh and Scott Reugg
  • Chief Scenic Artist, PITA: Terry Smith
  • Costume Designer: Beth Robertson
  • Costume Construction: Barbara Fink, Helen Gernhardt, Beth Robertson, Jessica Stives, Cat Taylor, Jenny Wood
  • Lighting Designer/Technician: Terry Nelson DiMurro
  • Sound Designer/Technician: Darin Weisenberger
  • Properties Mistress: Peggy Darr
  • Props Assistants: Courtney Garfolo, Lauren Garfolo, Barbara Gillen, Melisande Smith
  • Make-up designer: Tosia Shall
  • Running Crew: Ken Shall and Dustin Smith
  • Runner: Ryan Wood
  • Publicity Manager: Shelah Novak
  • Graphics Designer: Kevin G. Summers
  • Photographer: Darin Weisenberger
  • Bulk Mail Manager: Joe Campanella
  • Bulk Mail Crew: Anita Ault et. al.
  • Box Office Manager: Barbara Fink
  • On-Line Sales Manager: Tim Silk
  • Box Office Staff: Judy Bartow and Mary Beth pittman
  • House Manager: Lora Buckman
  • Ushers: Girl Scout Troop #4476 et. al.
  • Historian: George Armstrong
  • Move-in /Construction/Painting/Lighting crew: Andy Anderson et. al.
  • Sign Interpreters: Susie Benniefield and Lisa Russell
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started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.

One Response »

  1. Hey, I am Joao and I played Jimmy in the play, and I also would just like to add that we all loved doing this play, it was very touching, even to me.

    I cried at the end durring the reahersals.
    thankyou for coming to see the show