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Tony Speciale Named Artistic Director of Abingdon Theatre Company

Abingdon Theatre Company has appointed Tony Speciale as its next Artistic Director. Mr. Speciale, currently represented Off-Broadway as director of The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey, succeeds Jan Buttram, who leaves her post after 22 years. Mr. Speciale begins October 1.

"I am delighted to welcome Tony Speciale to the Abingdon family of playwrights, actors, designers and other theatre professionals. It will be a joy to watch what Tony's quick, talented and loving hands will create for this resilient company," says Ms. Buttram, who departs her position to focus on playwriting. An author whose plays include The Parker Family Circus, Lost on the Natchez Trace and Phantom Killer, Ms. Buttram founded Abingdon in 1993 with a small group of theater artists including founding co-Artistic Director Pamela Paul.

"I am thrilled to be chosen by the Board to lead Abingdon Theatre Company into this exciting, new chapter," says Mr. Speciale. "I not only look forward to furthering its mission to nurture, develop and produce new American plays, but I also plan to introduce several new initiatives that will expand the company's programming and outreach. Creating new work is my passion, and I am profoundly honored to follow in Jan's footsteps."

An award-winning director and creator of new work, Tony Speciale recently directed the Off-Broadway premiere of playwright and actor James Lecesne's The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey at the Westside Theatre, as well as its world premiere at Dixon Place. He is the founder of Plastic Theatre-conceiving, co-authoring and directing the world premiere of The Secret Court (formerly entitled Unnatural Acts; Drama Desk nominee, GLAAD Media Award nominee). His New York directing credits include A Midsummer Night's Dream featuring Bebe Neuwirth, Christina Ricci and Taylor Mac (Classic Stage Company); Matthew-Lee Erlbach's Handbook for an American Revolutionary (The Gym at Judson); and Garson Kanin's Remembering Mr. Maugham (Clurman Theatre). Regionally, he has directed Barry Manilow's Harmony (Alliance Theatre/Ahmanson Theatre) and Romeo and Juliet (Actors Theatre of Louisville). As a solo writer, his play Delirium, which was based on the life and poetry of Arthur Rimbaud, was presented at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival where it was honored with a British Writers' Guild Award. Tony served four seasons as Associate Artistic Director of Classic Stage Company, where he helped found and administrated The Young Company, NYC's premiere Education and Outreach Program for New York City public high school students. Tony studied musical theatre at The Boston Conservatory, and holds an M.F.A. in Directing from Columbia University. He is also the proud recipient of a Princess Grace Theatre Honorarium and a Suzi Bass Award.

Abingdon launches its 23rd Season on October 2 with the world premiere of JB Reich's Cut Throat, directed by Mark Waldrop, followed by A Room of My Own, written and directed by Charles Messina, in February 2016. Mr. Speciale will commence programming in Spring 2016.

On Monday, October 26, Abingdon honors Jane Greenwood, Heather Henderson and Mark D. Sendroff at its 2015 Gala: Reflections of Starlight.

Since 1993, Abingdon Theatre Company has developed and produced new plays by emerging and established playwrights. Its actors, directors, designers, producers and staff have collaborated with more than 200 playwrights to develop original plays. The company provides a safe home where playwrights collaborate with other artists and receive audience feedback through Abingdon's four-step development process: First Readings, Staged Readings, Workout Labs, and Mainstage Productions.

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