The Faith healer
- William Vaughn Moody's last play, a three-act drama produced by Henry Miller, who also acted in it, had a tryout in St. Louis on 15 March 1909. Miller was certain the play would fail in New York, but Moody was dying and Miller brought it to Broadway to please his old friend. It opened on 19 January 1910 at the Savoy Theatre for a mere six performances despite a strong cast, including Jessie Bonstelle, Laura Hope Crews, and Miller. Critics hastened its demise by referring to it as a closet drama, but scholars have concluded that it is a richly imaginative work that may be superior to Moody's better-known The Great Divide. Miller played traveling faith healer Ulrich Michaelis, whose success in helping crippled Mary Beeler walk incurs the wrath of the local doctor, Littlefield, as well as Reverend Culpepper, both of whom suspect that Ulrich is a charlatan dabbling in the occult. Ulrich falls in love with Mary's niece, Rhoda, who confesses to him that she has been Littlefield's lover. The shock of this revelation causes Ulrich to lose his healing powers, but he regains them when he resolves to forgive Rhoda. Moody's complex and imaginative exploration of love, science, and faith gave it a long stage life despite its initial failure. Through the efforts of Moody's widow, The Faith Healer was successfully adapted to a motion picture in 1921.
The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. James Fisher.
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