NYTW to Host One Night Reading of UNNATURAL ACTS January 27
New York Theatre Workshop (NYTW) will host a one-night-only staged reading of the hit off-Broadway play, UNNATURAL ACTS, to benefit The Trevor Project on Monday, January 27, 2014. The special event will be held at 7pm at NYTW (79 East Fourth Street, between Bowery & Second Avenue) and will feature the entire original off-Broadway cast. A brief panel discussion to follow.
Written by members of the Plastic Theatre and conceived & directed by Tony Speciale, UNNATURAL ACTS is inspired by true events that occurred at Harvard University in the spring of 1920, when a student's suicide sparked a campus-wide investigation by a panel of administrators who convened to investigate, expose and ultimately expel a group of homosexual students. Both intimate and epic, UNNATURAL ACTS explores themes of fear and societal intolerance that are as relevant today as they were 94 years ago.
For more than eighty years the events surrounding the incident were covered-up, until in 2002 when Amit Paley, a student journalist for The Harvard Crimson, came upon a reference to the "Secret Court" while combing university archives. After initial resistance, Harvard granted Mr. Paley access to the long- abandoned files of over 500 pages of documents describing the systematic persecution of these students. The revelation of this controversy motivated conceiver & director Speciale's own journey into the court transcripts, family correspondence, and countless records revealing the lives of these promising young men. Speciale and his team of writers (Plastic Theatre) devoted countless hours of research and development decoding the long-hidden records from the Court, identifying witnesses and accused individuals, and piecing together a timeline of events and experiences. Through meticulous research, study and improvisation, UNNATURAL ACTS emerged.
UNNATURAL ACTS premiered off-Broadway in 2011 at Classic Stage Company (CSC) to critical acclaim, and its run was extended three times by popular demand. It received three Drama Desk nominations including Outstanding Play; a GLAAD Media Award nomination for Outstanding NY
Theater: Broadway & Off-Broadway; and an Off Broadway Alliance Award nomination for Best New Play. The original cast features Jess Burkle, Joe Curnutte, Frank De Julio, Roe Hartrampf, Roderick Hill, Max Jenkins, Brad Koed, Jerry Marsini, Devin Norik, Will Rogers and Nick Westrate. Read more about the play and its development at unnaturalactstheplay.com.
PLASTIC THEATRE (Author) is a rolling ensemble of multi-disciplinary artists led by Tony Speciale. For Unnatural Acts the company includes Catherine Barricklow, Jess Burkle, Joe Curnutte, Frank De Julio, Heather Denyer, Max Jenkins, Zach Kleinsmith, James MacBean, Jerry Marsini, Patrick McCaffrey, Nicholas Norman, Kila Packett, Adam Rihacek, and Peter Allen Stone. Plastic Theatre created its inaugural play, Unnatural Acts through investigative research, group improvisations and collaborative writing.
Tony Speciale (Conceiver/Director) is a freelance director and founder of Plastic Theatre. In 2012, he received a Drama Desk nomination (Outstanding Director) for Unnatural Acts. Directing credits include A Midsummer Night's Dream featuring Bebe Neuwirth, Christina Ricci and Taylor Mac (CSC), Romeo and Juliet (Actors Theatre of Louisville), Harmony - A New Musical by Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman (ALLIANCE THEATRE/Ahmanson), and Handbook for an American Revolutionary (Gym at Judson). As a writer, his play Delirium: The Myth of Arthur Rimbaud was presented at the 2004 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where it was honored with a British Writers' Guild Award. Tony is the former Associate Artistic Director at CSC, studied musical theatre at The Boston Conservatory and holds an MFA in Directing from Columbia University. He is also the proud recipient of a Princess Grace Theatre Honorarium.