Tony Speciale '08 Produces Two New York Premieres as Abingdon Theatre Company Artistic Director

April 17, 2018

Under the artistic direction of Alumnus Tony Speciale '08, Abingdon Theatre Company will produce two New York premieres this season. Philip Dawkins' The Gentleman Caller and Fruit Trilogy by Tony Award winner Eve Ensler. 


The Gentleman Caller will run from May 5 to May 26 at the Cherry Lane Theatre.


“Although now regarded as two of history’s finest American playwrights, back in 1944, William Inge and Tennessee Williams hadn’t yet experienced anything close to success. The Gentleman Caller, a new play by Philip Dawkins (Charm, Le Switch, The Homosexuals), takes us back in time before the Chicago premiere of The Glass Menagerie. Inge, a dissatisfied newspaper critic, invites Williams to his St. Louis apartment for an interview. This sexy, fraught rendezvous sparks a relationship, which radically alters the course of their lives and the American Theatre,” according to the play description.


In June 2018, at the Lucile Lortel Theatre and under the direction of Mark Rosenblatt, Abingdon Theatre Company will produce Fruit Trilogy, by Tony Award winner Eve Ensler (The Vagina Monologues, The Good Body, In the Body of the World). “A triptych of short plays, each giving a voice to defiant, ordinary women: Pomegranate — two women for sale, another morning on the shelf; Avocado — a young woman on her chaotic, shocking journey toward freedom; and Coconut — from the bliss of her bathroom, a woman connects with the one thing she has never fully owned … her body. Woven together with dark humor, extraordinary vulnerability and heightened theatricality, these short plays explore the humanity behind the headlines,” According to the company’s website about the upcoming production.


Tony Speciale started as an Artistic Director of Abingdon Theatre Company in 2015. The theatre company is a 25-year-old off-Broadway company dedicated to developing and producing new American work. “The company provides a safe home where playwrights, directors and actors can collaborate within a supportive and nurturing environment. We search for stories about the human experience that reflect our social, political, historical and cultural diversity. We are acutely aware of the theatre’s power to unite disparate population groups through stories about common human interests, and we strive to shed light on a variety of perspectives,” according to the website. Abingdon's credits include The Boy Who Danced on AirThe Mother of Invention by James Lecesne; The Dork Knight by Jason O’Connell; and Stet by Kim Davies.


Speciale is also the founder of Plastic Theatre—conceiving, co-authoring and directing the world premiere of Unnatural Acts (Classic Stage Company—Drama Desk Award nominee, GLAAD Media Award nominee). Other NYC credits include: The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey (Dixon Place, Westside Theatre); A Midsummer Night’s Dream featuring Bebe Neuwirth, Christina Ricci and Taylor Mac (Classic Stage Company); and Matthew-Lee Erlbach’s Handbook for an American Revolutionary (The Gym at Judson). Regional: The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey (Kirk Douglas Theatre, Old Globe, Bay Street Theater, Hartford Stage, Laguna Playhouse, Philadelphia Theatre Company), Barry Manilow’s Harmony (Alliance Theatre, Ahmanson Theatre) and Romeo and Juliet (Actors Theatre of Louisville). Tony’s work has also been seen at 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 Festival Fringe where it was honored with a British Writers’ Guild Award. Speciale served four seasons at Classic Stage Company 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. Speciale is also the proud recipient of a Princess Grace Theatre Honorarium and Suzi Bass Award.