Mickle Street: Preview

1Daniel Fredrick

Next up in Philadelphia’s Oscar Wilde season is Mickle Street

Mickle Street is a new play about the famous OFOWW/WW meeting of 1882: Oscar Fingal O’fflahertie Wills Wilde and Walt Whitman.

As it happens, the encounter between Wilde and Whitman took place not in Mickle Street, but at the home of Walt’s brother, George, in nearby Stevens Street, two years before Whitman purchased the house in Mickle Street that is now a house museum to his memory.

It matters not: the Mickle Street setting gives Walt his own domain and the historically accurate housekeeper integral to the piece. Besides, another reason for forgiving the choice of title is that Mickle Street is not even called Mickle Street any longer. Indeed, one might not be lured into this literary tryst between two gay 19th century poets if Michael Whistler had succumbed to accuracy and called the play “Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard”.

To be fair,  this stretch of Mickle Street once had a previous life as Mickle Boulevard (the storied history is here), and there are those, including The Walt Whitman House itself, who still use this address. Visitors to the house from Philadelphia appropriately must cross the Walt Whitman Bridge.

The play, meanwhile, runs February 17 – March 8 in the Independence Studio of the Walnut Street Theatre, America’s oldest, and it has already met with mixed reviews. But who cares about critics? It’s Oscar isn’t it?—and more grist for whetting Wildean appetite.

Locals can gain some insight into the play and its characters by attending Wilde Meets Whitman: Legendary Conversation at the Rosenbach Museum and Library. Michael Whistler and Allen Crawford, Whitman author,  will discuss the ways in which Whitman and Wilde have influenced and inspired their own creative endeavors.

Trivia:
Oscar Wilde was 6’3″ in height and 27 years old when he met Whitman.
—Actor Daniel Fredrick, who plays Oscar, is 6’3″ in height and 27 years old.

Published by

John Cooper

John Cooper is a independent scholar who has spent 30 years in the study of Oscar Wilde. He is a long-standing member of the Oscar Wilde Society, a founding member of the Oscar Wilde Society of America, and a former manager of the Victorian Society In America. For the last 20 years Cooper has specialised in Wilde’s 1882 lecture tour becoming a consultant on Wilde’s American experience to biographers and the wider media. Cooper lectures on Wilde and has conducted new and unique research into Oscar Wilde visits to New York culminating in a guided walking tour. Online he is a popular blogger and the creator of the noncommercial archive 'Oscar Wilde in America’ which incorporates his work on the Sarony photographs, and a detailed documentary verification of Wilde’s American lecture tour. In 2012 Cooper rediscovered Wilde's essay The Philosophy Of Dress that forms the centerpiece to his book Oscar Wilde On Dress (2013).

3 thoughts on “Mickle Street: Preview”

  1. I’m with you — who cares about critics (we don’t) and I suppose that Oscar may have thought the same. But, geeeez — talk about likeness and role casting Daniel Fredrick as Oscar… brilliant.

    Liked by 1 person

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