Themes Revealed and Utilized in The Miracle Worker by William Gibson

Helen Keller.

In an earlier post on The Miracle Worker, we looked at the relationship between Annie Sullivan and Helen Keller. Thematic discussions and explorations when analyzing a play like The Miracle Worker can also be helpful when attempting to connect a play’s characters, actions,

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The Miracle Worker: The Relationship Between Annie Sullivan and Helen Keller

The Miracle Worker Character Study

Though most viewers consider The Miracle Worker to be about Helen Keller, William Gibson wrote the play as a tribute to her teacher, Annie Sullivan, and to her struggles in helping Helen understand language. Annie’s relationship with Helen is displayed

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Of Mice and Men: Discussion Topics for the Classroom, Part 1

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The renowned story Of Mice and Men, based on the 1937 novel by John Steinbeck, is returning to the Broadway stage in April 2014. Of Mice and Men (which is required reading in many schools) is based on Steinbeck’s own

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The Fantasticks: History and Themes for Classroom Discussion, Part 3

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Romantic Fantasy in Moonlight, Cold Reality in Daylight Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt named Act I of The Fantasticks “In the Moonlight” (due to its romantic mood) and Act II “In the Sun,” which is where the audience witnesses what

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The Fantasticks: History and Themes for Classroom Discussion, Part 2

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The Process Tom Jones collaborated with J. Donald Robb on a musical adaptation of Les Romanesques from 1954 to 1956 as Harvey Schmidt was in the Korean War at the time. They originally titled the musical Joy Comes to Dead

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Importance of the Voice in Musical Theatre, Part 1

Confidence ia important for singers.

It is essential for students to learn the importance of the voice on stage. If singers cannot be heard by the audience, what is the point of having any listeners? Yes, it is a huge accomplishment to be able to

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Teaching Commedia dell’ Arte, Part II

Students exploring Commedia dell’ Arte.

Character Walks Since Commedia Dell’ Arte is a physical theatrical art form, it is essential and fun to have students experiment with various ways of moving their bodies. Have the students walk around the classroom as a character of their

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The Fantasticks: Topics for Classroom Discussion, Part One

Rostand wrote Romanesques; his most famous play is Cyrano de Bergerac.

A Timeless Musical The world’s longest running musical, The Fantasticks (written by Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt), opened off-Broadway in 1954. It all began with the 1894 French play, Les Romanesques by Edmond Rostand, which was essentially the story of

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Teaching Tips: Making Classroom Literature Active and Fun

A bored classroom can be deadly.

When I was in school, I remember enjoying my Literature and English classes the most, but I especially looked forward to the classes where the teachers allowed us students to be involved creatively. Some teachers had us take turns reading

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Teaching Commedia Dell’ Arte, Part I

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Benefits for Students Commedia dell’ Arte is an older theatre style, but it allows students the opportunity to be innovative. Commedia dell’ Arte teaches kids physical discipline, spontaneous use of their imagination, and the ability to think on their feet.

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Teaching Character Education Through Children’s Literature

Probably not the best way to "teach" kids about character.

What is Character Education? Character education is a term used to describe the educating of children in a way that will help them foster the skills necessary to be morally, non-bullying, healthy, successful, and socially acceptable human beings.    

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Auditioning for Musical Theatre, Part Four, It’s an Art

Theatre conferences can be a good venue.

Attend Theatre Conferences New York City is the primary hub for musical theatre auditions, but actors can also attend various theatre conferences around the country and audition for numerous professional theatre companies at one time. The various theatre conferences work

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Auditioning for Musical Theatre, Part Three, Being Professional

Auditions can be very crowded.

Always Be Professional One of the best recommendations I can give to aspiring theatrical students is to always be professional. One never knows who is watching. When an actor attends an audition, there are hundreds of people milling around. I

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Auditioning for Musical Theatre, Part Two: Material Choices, Type, Accompanists

Are you a diva type?

Know Your Limits Actors should use material at which they excel. If you are auditioning at nine or ten in the morning, be sure you can hit your money notes. If not, choose a different song for that morning. Auditions

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Auditioning for Musical Theatre, Part One: Teaching Auditioning

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Learning Through the Experience Auditioning for musical theatre can be more stressful and exhausting than preparing for a job interview. In college, I took several audition and musical theatre classes where they did their best to help prepare students for

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Advice for Theatre Directors: It’s Not Broadway, Part II

Is it fun?

Be Understanding of the Need to Explore In Part I of this two-part series, we looked at how theatre directors working with kids on a show may have unreasonable expectations and how those expectations may work against their production. In

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Advice for Camp and School Theatre Directors: It’s Not Broadway, Part 1

Are you expecting this from your students?

A Summer Learning Opportunity This summer, I took on the role of Theatre Director at a summer camp. My task was to direct two musicals in a limited amount of time. The kids were wonderful, but the one thing I

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Big Fish The Musical: Themes for Classroom Discussion

Lessons learned, teaching Big Fish the Musical

Fathers and Sons, Mothers and Daughters, Parents and Children Based on the 1998 novel by Daniel Wallace, Big Fish The Musical is about a former traveling salesman (Edward Bloom) from the South who has a passion for storytelling. His son,

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Acting Styles: The Importance of Having Student Actors Go Beyond Realism

Dame Judi Dench utilizing style.

If you’re a teacher or director working with young actors in high school or an undergraduate college program, then chances are your actors are primarily familiar with scripts that focus overall on realism. If they do know plays that demand

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Classroom and Rehearsal: Mask Work Can Free the Actor’s Body

Masks make for insights for actors.

Working with masks offers various challenges to young actors. This is because masks take away one of an actor’s primary methods of communication- facial expression. But it also works to free the body. Here are some suggestions on how to

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The Arts and Learning: Theatre in the Classroom and Community

It takes so many people to make a magical moment on stage.

In Champions of Change: The Impact of the Arts on Learning, the preeminent study on the usefulness and importance of the arts as a teaching and achievement tool, Richard Riley, Secretary, Department of Education, wrote. “The ultimate challenge for American

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Reader’s Theatre in the Classroom: Part 2, Reading Rock Stars

Skill development, reading comprehension, and problem solving are all fostered by the arts.

I found inspiration for the following Reader’s Theatre activity at www.readwritethink.org. Visit this site to discover ways in which you can expand the following activity, for links, and even more Reader’s Theatre ideas to use in the classroom! Reading Rock

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Reader’s Theatre in the Classroom: Part I, The Basics

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What It Is Reader’s Theatre is a fun approach for developing reading confidence in children. It engages kids to engage in oral reading by reading characters in scripts that has been developed from a short story or novel. It is

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Broadway Musical NEWSIES: Themes for the Classroom

Musical NEWSIES on Broadway

History The musical NEWSIES is a dramatized, but overall accurate description of what life was like for children in the U.S. back in the mid-19th to early 20th centuries. The newspaper boys (aka the “newsies”) were the primary way that

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Camp CenterStage: Achieving Excellence Through the Arts

Playing with children and expanding their skills and self-confidence. (Photo courtesy of Camp CenterStage)

For several summers, I have had the privilege of counseling and teaching at Camp CenterStage, a performing arts summer camp where the staff’s goal is achieving excellence through the arts. I have worked at various terrific camps, but I find

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Teaching Spanish in the Classroom through Theatre

Connecting with a foreign language through theatre adds some interesting challenges.

What better way is there to apply the Spanish language and culture in the classroom than through theatre? It definitely helps to have classes where the students engage in traditional learning, such as writing down Spanish vocabulary, watching movies in

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A Student Finding His Niche in the Theatre

Auditions can be enlightening.

While on the road directing and performing with Missoula Children’s Theatre, I had many life-changing moments that provided me with a huge amount of perspective. This story is only one of them. Invisible Rewards We were casting our weekly musical

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Teaching Mathematics in the Classroom through Theatre

Using theatre in the classroom to teach math can enliven lessons.

Using theatre as a means to teach mathematical subjects makes class more interesting and enables greater learning for students. Theatrical approaches can be used for other educational subjects too, but as a former student who struggled in trying to understanding

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Theatre Arts Benefits for High Risk Adolescent Girls

Adolescent girls who are high risk can find their voices with theatre.

What the Performing Arts Can Achieve Theatre arts can be an immensely beneficial tool for motivating and inspiring adolescent girls living in high risk, inner city communities to become optimistic drivers of change in their own lives as well as

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Teaching Students Depression-era Themes in ANNIE

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A Bit of History ANNIE is a Broadway musical based upon the newspaper strip Little Orphan Annie, created by Harold Gray in 1924. The plot of the comic strip follows the adventures of Annie (who wanders throughout a world full

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