The Theater: New Plays on Broadway, Nov. 2, 1959

The Miracle Worker (by William Gibson) tells the story of Teacher Annie Sullivan's clenched, turbulent, finally triumphant grappling with the child Helen Keller—a story that, however well known, acquires stunning new reality and affect-ingness on the stage. The overwhelming force of the play's crucial scenes could not have derived from the stirring facts alone, nor from Playwright Gibson's vivid use of them. What proves decisive is the extraordinary performances, the magnificent teamwork of Anne Bancroft and ten-year-old Patty Duke, and the brilliant direction of Arthur Penn.

The institution-bred young Boston Irish girl whose...