Blind Actors Blast Breslin Pick for Keller
Advocates complain that blind, deaf had no chance to audition
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Oct 30, 2009 2:54 AM CDT
Actress Abigail Breslin poses for a portrait in New York last month.   (AP Photo/Jeff Christensen)

(Newser) – Advocates for blind and deaf actors complain that they were never given a chance to audition for the role of Helen Keller in an upcoming revival of The Miracle Worker. The part has instead been given to Abigail Breslin, best known for playing Olive in Little Miss Sunshine. The Broadway show's producer says it would have been naïve and "financially irresponsible" to even consider giving the role to anybody except a proven star.

Deaf or blind actresses will get a chance to audition to be Breslin's understudy, the producer said. The director of the Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts advocacy group conceded that it's difficult to finance Broadway shows, but said there are "larger human and artistic issues at stake here.” If deaf or blind actors don't get the chance to try out for roles that could make them stars, then there will never be any deaf or blind stars for producers to cast, she tells the New York Times.

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Showing 3 of 8 comments
Oct 30, 2009 11:50 AM CDT
Yes, Francis, which is why I said, "I'd be willing to bet," rather than, "I'm absolutely positive,"...but I've spent over 30 years working in the American professional theatre, and, as I've said, I'd be willing to bet that Breslin was on board before the financing was raised.
Oct 30, 2009 11:25 AM CDT
Not necessarily true. Money for theatre comes from a variety of sources and can be secured without the lock-in of a particular name. Often times it can be secured based on the track record of the producers.
Oct 30, 2009 11:22 AM CDT
I agree, but I'd be willing to bet that the only reason the show's being produced at all is because Breslin was already on board. They needed her name in order to get the financing, and shows don't audition until the money's in place.