Abigail Breslin, the Academy Award-nominated star of the 2006 cinema gem Little Miss Sunshine, is set to play Helen Keller in her Broadway debut next March, but not everyone is happy about it. Breslin, 13, has been cast as the deaf-blind Keller in a stage revival of William Gibson’s The Miracle Worker, producer David Richenthal said Wednesday. However, activists with Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts, an advocacy group representing blind and deaf actors, take issue with Abigail’s casting.
The group insist an accurate potrayal of Keller’s life requires the skills of an actress who shares her disabilities. On Thursday, executive director Sharon Jensen told The New York Times that she is opposed to Breslin’s Helen Keller casting:
“We do not think it’s OK for reputable producers to cast this lead role without seriously considering an actress from our community. I understand how difficult it is to capitalize a new production on Broadway, but that to me is not the issue. There are other, larger human and artistic issues at stake here.”