Studio Tenn’s Miracle, Feb. 23 – March 4

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miracleworkerStudio Tenn presents:
The Miracle Worker (Ages 8 and older)
The Franklin Theatre
419 Main St., Franklin
538-2076 • franklintheatre.com/studio-tenn
Show times: Thu – Sat 7 p.m. (no show Thursday, March 1), Sun 2 p.m.
Tickets: $45 – $55

Studio Tenn serves up another absolute masterpiece of American theater with its current production of The Miracle Worker. Based on the inspirational true story of the life of young Helen Keller, Studio Tenn’s production is flawless, deeply emotional and a perfect representation of what a tremendous theater experience should be.

What’s more, this particular show is one that could lean toward the side of boring if not delivered appropriately. No worries with Studio Tenn! Artistic Director (and set designer) Matt Logan truly knows how to dig in to the deep-rooted emotional content of this play and presents it so magnificently that it draws the audience in to the true humanity of this real-life story. Logan’s set design, as always, is succinct, and his dramatic backlighting effects on stage really pack a powerful punch!

The dynamic cast members perfectly portray their roles, including the great Jeremy Childs (Captain Keller), Ellie Sikes (Kate Keller) and hometown favorite Patrick Waller as Helen’s biting older half-brother, James Keller.

The two stars of this production, however, are Emily Landham as Helen’s teacher, Annie Sullivan, and 10-year-old Madeleine Hall as Helen. Landham is remarkable and nails her character’s passion and undeniable quest to make a difference in young Helen’s life. She deftly executes Sullivan’s absolute determination against all odds to teach Helen how to communicate.

Young Madeleine Hall is simply astonishing on stage playing Helen. Her portrayal hits the mark on all counts, from Helen’s wild-child antics to becoming sophisticated. This 10-year-old girl has a lot of stage talent, evident by how moving she executes the moment when Helen’s teaching finally takes root, not to mention the heartfelt love she shows to Sullivan afterward. It is a tear-inducing scene for anyone who has a heart and soul.

For anyone who has eyes that see and ears that hear, the reality of Helen Keller’s life is sort of incomprehensible, considering what she learned and the feats she accomplished given her life’s circumstances. Annie Sullivan really was a miracle worker, and Studio Tenn’s production of Helen Keller’s young life certainly does her proud.

BRAVO, Studio Tenn!

Chad Young is the managing editor and arts/entertainment editor for this publication.

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