Patty Duke, who won an Academy Award for her recreation of her 1959 Broadway role of Helen Keller in the 1962 film version of William Gibson's The Miracle Worker, will return to the New York stage for the first time in 40 years when she takes over the role of Aunt Eller in the Cameron Mackintosh production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma! on December 14. Duke succeeds Andrea Martin, who is leaving the show to join the cast of the CBS sitcom based on the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding, in which she co-starred.
Duke's career includes many films and TV appearances -- most notably her popular sitcom of the '60s, The Patty Duke Show, in which she played physically identical cousins ("They laugh alike, they walk alike, at times they even talk alike"). Having given what many consider a definitive performance as Helen Keller, Duke graduated to the role of Keller's teacher, Annie Sullivan in a 1980 TV movie of The Miracle Worker. And she had a major role in the notorious film version of Jacqueline Susann's novel Valley of the Dolls
In recent years, aside from her many appearances in TV movies, Duke served for a time as president of the Screen Actors' Guild and has championed such causes as AIDS research, mental health, and women's rights. Her autobiography, Call Me Anna, was a best-seller, as was A Brilliant Madness, in which she detailed her battle against manic depression. Earlier this year, Duke made a rare stage appearance as Phyllis in the L.A. Reprise! production of Stephen Sondheim's Follies
The cast of the Broadway Oklahoma! features Stephen R. Buntrock as Curly (succeeding Patrick Wilson on November 19) and Josefina Gabrielle as Laurey, along with Tony Award winner Shuler Hensley as Jud, Justin Bohon as Will Parker, Jessica Boevers as Ado Annie, and Aasif Mandvi as Ali Hakim. Andrea Martin's final performance as Aunt Eller will be on November 24. The show, directed by Trevor Nunn and choreographed by Susan Stroman, came to Broadway from the Royal National Theatre in London.
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