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Check out the American premiere of Mr. Bailey's Minder in Studio 3!

February 4, 2008

PHILADELPHIA, PA: The Walnut Street Theatre's 2007-2008 Independence Studio on 3 season continues with the American premiere of Mr. Bailey's Minder, a life-enhancing, soul-shaking and heartfelt look at the beauty of redemption and forgiveness. Written by award-winning Australian author and playwright Debra Oswald, Mr. Bailey's Minder starts on February 19, opens on February 21 and closes on March 9.

Leo Bailey (Bev Appleton) is Australia's greatest living artist, but his genius battles to survive the effects of alcohol, cynicism and self-loathing. He is a national treasure, but can't seem to stop himself from falling deeper into his destructive cycle. Only one of his many children, his daugher Margo (Catherine Slusar) still cares enough to help...but she does so at arm's length. After a string of caretakers that have come and gone, Margo finds a tenacious live-in minder in Therese (Erin Rielly). Fresh from prison and a little rough around the edges, Therese's no-nonsense attitude could be just the thing Mr. Bailey needs to turn his life around. With one of Leo's opportunistic "friends" (William Zielinski) and a well-meaning handyman (Jeb Kreager) along for the ride, what follows is a funny and big-hearted play about friendship, ego and the power of forgiveness.

Mr. Bailey's Minder broke box office records during its premiere presentation in the summer of 2004. It was the recipient of the 2004 Griffin Award, given to the most outstanding new Australian play or performance text. Mr. Bailey's Minder has enjoyed many popular stagings "down under," but makes its American debut here at the Walnut Street Theatre's Independence Studio on 3. On hand for the Walnut's production from final technical rehearsals through opening night is the show's creator, Debra Oswald.

About the Playwright: Debra Oswald
Debra Oswald is a Sydney-based playwright and author. She began writing as a teenager and her first play was work shopped at the Australian National Playwrights Conference when she was 17, and it was later broadcast on ABC Radio. Since then she has made her living as a writer for film, television, stage and radio as well as publishing a number of novels for children. Debra has written extensively for the stage and is best known for her play Dags, which has had many productions both in Australia and overseas. Her other plays include Sweet Road, Gary's House, and Peach Season. Her prize-winning youth theatre play Skate toured to Belfast in 2005. Her television credits include Palace of Dreams, Bananas in Pyjamas, Police Rescue, The Secret Life of Us and various dramas for ABC TV Education.

About the Cast
The Cast of Mr. Bailey's Minder is an incredibly strong array of talent, some performing at the Walnut for the very first time. Bev Appleton (Leo Bailey) returns to the Walnut, having previously performed in Man of La Mancha (Padre), Of Mice and Men (Candy) and Windy City. Bev received a Barrymore nomination for his portrayal of El Gallo in Mum Puppettheatre's acclaimed production of The Fantasticks. Erin Rielly (Therese) serves as the co-Artistic Director at Theatre Horizon, and has been seen in numerous productions at Mum Puppettheatre (A Midsummer Night's Dream, Wizard of Oz), Theatre Exile and InterAct. Barrymore Award winner Catherine Slusar (Margo) makes her Walnut debut, is very well known to Philadelphia audiences, having performed at The Arden, InterAct and Act II Playhouse among many others. William Zielinski (Gavin) was last seen at the Walnut in Lost in Yonkers and was part of Theatre Exile's Barrymore Award-winning Ensemble of last season's Glengarry Glen Ross. Jeb Kreager (Karl) is a founding member of New Paradise Laboratories, and is also making his Walnut Debut. Philadelphia theatre audiences will remember Jeb from productions at The Arden (Big Friendly Giant) and People's Light and Theatre Company (The Foreigner) among others.

About the Design Team
Mr. Bailey's Minder is directed by long-time Walnut Stage Manager and South Philadelphia native Debi Marcucci. This marks Debi's second time directing in the Studio, as she previously directed the 2006 hit production of Kenneth Lonergan's Lobby Hero. Behind the scenes, the Walnut welcomes a mix of new and familiar faces. Set Designer Adam Riggar makes his design debut in the Independence Studio on 3, creating a deeply interactive environment, where walls are literally built up and torn down right in front of your eyes. Mr. Bailey's Cliffside house is a wonder of found objects, neglected treasures and paint"