Unnatural Acts

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Unnatural Acts

Conceived and directed by Tony Speciale and collectively written by members of the Plastic Theater, a multidisciplinary company led by Mr. Speciale.


On the morning of May 14, 1920 Cyril Wilcox, a Harvard University sophomore at home on academic probation, was found dead in his bedroom from gas asphyxiation, having blocked the space beneath his door and allowing gas from the light fixtures to fill his bedroom as he fell asleep. According to documents in the Harvard Archives, he previously had a conversation with his elder brother Lester, confessing to a homosexual relationship with a Boston gentleman, Harry Dreyfus. Days following his death, two envelopes arrived at the Wilcox residence addressed to Cyril. They had been previously posted by a couple of his friends in Cambridge, one of whom was school chum Earnest Roberts, a Congressman’s son who had served as pall-bearer at Cyril’s funeral. After reading the enclosed letters, which contained graphic language pertaining to the activities of a group of Cyril’s friends at the college, Lester decided to track down Mr. Dreyfus, extract by force the names of as many “deviants” he could gather, and finally alert the University’s then Acting Dean, C. N. Greenough, of his lost brother’s hidden connection to a seemingly widespread homosexual subculture on campus. On May 23rd, one day following Lester’s meeting, the Acting Dean consulted Harvard’s then president A. Lawrence Lowell, who appointed a “Court” of 5 administrators to convene in secret, gather evidence, and report back its findings.



The cast of ‘Unnatural Acts.’ (Photo by Joan Marcus.)

Tony Speciale

Tony Speciale is the founder of Plastic Theatre—conceiving, co-authoring and directing the world premiere of Unnatural Acts: Harvard’s Secret Court of 1920 (Classic Stage Company, 2011—Drama Desk Award nominee for Outstanding Play and Outstanding Director; GLAAD Media Award nominee for Outstanding NY Theater: Broadway & Off-Broadway; Off Broadway Alliance Award nominee for Best New Play). Other credits at Classic Stage Company (CSC) include A Midsummer Night’s Dream featuring Bebe Neuwirth, Christina Ricci and Taylor Mac, Macbeth, Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet and The Taming of the Shrew. Tony’s work has been seen at Actors Theatre of Louisville (ATL), Ahmanson Theatre (Center Theatre Group), Alliance Theatre, The Gym at Judson, The Clurman Theatre (Theatre Row), New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF), HERE Arts Center and The Club at La MaMa. As a solo writer, his play Delirium: The Myth of Arthur Rimbaud was presented at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival where it was honored with a British Writers’ Guild Award. Tony served four seasons at CSC as Associate Artistic Director where he directed and taught for The Young Company, CSC’s award-winning Education and Outreach Initiative. He is a former ATL Acting Apprentice, studied musical theatre at The Boston Conservatory and holds an MFA in Directing from Columbia University. Tony is also the proud recipient of a Princess Grace Theatre Honorarium and Suzi Bass Award.



Type & Version
Jun 23, 2011 – Jul 31, 2011 Play, Original
East 13th Street/CSC Theatre


Award Nominations

2012 Lucille Lortel Award Nomination
Outstanding Lighting Design, Justin Townsend

2012 Off Broadway Alliance Award Nomination
Best New Play

2012 GLAAD Media Award Nomination
Outstanding New York Theatre: Broadway & Off-Broadway

2012 Drama Desk Award Nominations
1. Outstanding Play
2. Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play, Will Rogers
3. Outstanding Director of a Play, Tony Speciale

2012 Henry Hewes Design Award Nominations
1. Costume Design, Andrea Lauer
2. Lighting Design, Justin Townsend
Cast East 13th Theatre

Name – Role
Jess Burkle – Edward Say
Joe Curnutte – Nathaniel Wollf
Frank De Julio – Keith Smerage
Roe Hartrampf – Kenneth Day
Roderick Hill – Lester Wilcox
Max Jenkins – Stanley Gilkey
Brad Koed – Eugene Cummings
Jerry Marsini – Donald Clark
Devin Norik – Harold Saxton
Will Rogers – Joseph Lumbard
Nick Westrate – Ernest Roberts

Production Crew East 13th Theatre

Classic Stage Company, Producer
Jessica R. Jenen, Executive Director
Brian Kulick, Artistic Director
Tony Speciale, Associate Artistic Director

Catherine Barricklow, Author
Jess Burkle, Author
Joe Curnutte, Author
Frank De Julio, Author
Heather Denyer, Author
Max Jenkins, Author
Zach Kleinsmith, Author
James Macbean, Author
Jerry Marsini, Author
Patrick McCaffrey, Author
Nick Norman, Author
Kila Packett, Author
Adam Rihacek, Author
Tony Speciale, Author
Peter Allen Stone, Author
Christian Frederickson, Original Music
Plastic Theatre, Creator
Tony Speciale, Conceiver

Tony Speciale, Director

David Anzuelo, Fight Director

Walt Spangler, Designer
Andrea Lauer, Costume Designer
Justin Townsend, Lighting Designer
Christian Frederickson, Sound Designer
Stephen Kolack, Assistant Set Designer
Ky Harder, Assistant Costume Designer
Chris Thielking, Assistant Lighting Designer

Jeff Griffin, General Manager
The Publicity Office, Press Representative

Charles M. Turner III, Production Stage Manager
Courtney James, Assistant Stage Manager

Production Core, Production Manager
Adrian White, Production Manager
James E. Cleveland, Production Supervisor
Joshua Scherr, Technical Director
Zach Roland, Prop Master

Calleri Casting, Casting
Heather Denyer, Dramaturg
HHC Marketing, Marketing

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