America's Oldest · Founded 1808

Go Behind Closed Doors with Walt Whitman and Oscar Wilde on MICKLE STREET. Now - March 8

February 2, 2015

PHILADELPHIA, PA: Walnut Street Theatre’s 2014-2015 Independence Studio on 3 season continues with MICKLE STREET. In this World Premiere play, local playwright Michael Whistler imagines a private conversation between Oscar Wilde and Walt Whitman during their historic meeting across the river from Philadelphia. Directed by Greg Wood, the production begins on February 17th, opens February 19th and continues through March 8th.

Bernard Havard, Walnut Street Theatre’s Producing Artistic Director, commissioned the play. He noted, “I’ve been fascinated by Walt Whitman ever since I moved to Philadelphia. One of my first trips across the river was to visit his home in Camden. I am familiar with both men as poets, playwrights and gentle human beings, and thrilled to support a local playwright developing a new piece about the meeting of the two artists. It’s amazing to me that Oscar Wilde took the time while he was touring America to visit Walt Whitman at his home. Listening to an imagined conversation that occurred between the two will be captivating.”

The play is set in 1882, when the flamboyant, dashing, young Oscar Wilde created a sensation, touring the United States on an extensive lecture tour. While visiting Philadelphia, he planned one side trip, crossing the Delaware to Camden to meet with America's own Great Grey Poet, Walt Whitman. Audiences will travel to MICKLE STREET and spend an afternoon with two great writers – one at the dawn of his career, the other enjoying his quiet fame. Over a glass of elderberry wine, two great men discuss man's most aesthetical existence and discover a common sense of beauty.

MICKLE STREET is the second World Premiere play written by Michael Whistler to be produced by the Walnut Street Theatre. The idea for the play came 25 years ago when Whistler read a biography of Oscar Wilde that mentioned the meeting. He noted “I kept that thought in mind, and wondered what would the two men, both so different and yet with some real commonalities, have to say to one another?” He researched the writings of both Wilde and Whitman “to see their worldviews; and their letters, to hear their voices.” Whistler added “In MICKLE STREET, my goal is to create a play where two great men, who think and love mightily, would struggle for the words to actually communicate what is powerful and eternal in their hearts.” The first play of Whistler’s to have its premiere at the Walnut was the comedy The Prescott Method: Easy Steps to Perfect Bread Baking, Every Time in 2012. His additional credits include phidias8, Little Lamb and I’m Barbara Eden. He is also coordinator of the Theatre Arts Faculty at Montgomery County Community College.

Greg Wood returns to the Independence Studio on 3 to direct MICKLE STREET. Working with Whistler on a World Premiere play is familiar territory to Wood, as he also directed The Prescott Method. An award-winning actor for over 30 years, he has been seen on stage at the Walnut in numerous productions, including Other Desert Cities, God of Carnage, Amadeus, Fallen Angels, Born Yesterday and, currently, Noël Coward’s Private Lives. His film and television credits include The Sixth Sense, Signs, The Happening and several seasons of Law and Order. Christopher McGinnis will join Wood as Assistant Director.

The cast of MICKLE STREET includes Daniel Fredrick, Buck Schirner and Sabrina Profitt, all local to Philadelphia. Daniel Fredrick makes his Walnut debut as the proud and stylish Oscar Wilde. Regionally Fredrick has performed with Lantern Theater, Shakespeare in Clark Park, Quintessence, Trinity Shakespeare, Circle Theatre and Watertower Theatre. Buck Schirner returns to the Walnut as Walt Whitman, having last been seen in Studio 3’s Travels With My Aunt. His additional credits include Arden Theatre, Wilma Theater and Lantern Theater. Sabrina Profitt makes her Walnut debut as Mary, a widow who lives in a private apartment behind the Mickle Street property in exchange for tending to Whitman’s home. Profitt has been seen on many stages including Montgomery Theatre, PlayPenn, New City Stage, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival and Florida Studio Theatre.

Transforming the Independence Studio on 3 into Whitman’s humble home, cluttered with letters, photographs and books, the creative team is led by Set Designer Andrew Thompson (The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, Glass Menagerie, Around the World in 80 Days). Costume Designer Amanda Wolff returns having designed last season’s Beautiful Boy, along with Lighting Designer Charles S. Reece (Sophie Tucker: The Last of the Red Hot Mamas) and Sound Designer Zachary Beattie-Brown (Around the World in 80 Days, Ethel!).

Philadelphia is celebrating OSCARmania, a month long of exciting events in honor of Oscar Wilde’s visit to America. In addition to MICKLE STREET, the city will enjoy the East Coast Premiere of Oscar at Opera Philadelphia and the new exhibition Everything is Going On Brilliantly: Oscar Wilde and Philadelphia displaying unpublished poetry and art at the Rosenbach Museum of the Free Library of Philadelphia.

Season sponsor for the 2014-2015 Independence Studio on 3 Season is The Independence Foundation. Media season sponsors are Philadelphia Weekly and WRTI Radio. Tickets are $30-$40 and are now available at 215-574-3550 or 215-336-1234. Tickets are also available at or