Broadway Producer Pick List: The Secret Court


In the spring of 1920, a Harvard sophomore named Cyril Wilcox commits suicide. Shortly thereafter, an ad hoc disciplinary tribunal is formed to investigate charges of homosexual activity among the student population. What begins as an inquiry into the mysterious death of a student soon becomes a campus-wide inquisition. Dozens of young men are interrogated behind closed doors; 14 are declared guilty of “homosexualism” — the sentence for which would haunt them the rest of their lives. Collaboratively written and inspired by true events, this gripping new play incorporates court transcripts, family correspondence and other historical records from the Harvard University Archives. Not merely a denouncement of an institution’s fear and of society’s intolerance, The Secret Court is a true American tragedy of lost hope and wasted potential, documenting a lost chapter in LGBT history pre-Stonewall.


TONY SPECIALE (Conceiver/Coauthor) conceived, coauthored and directed the world premiere of Unnatural Acts: Harvard’s Secret Court of 1920 (CSC—Drama Desk Award nomination, GLAAD Media Award nomination). Most recently, Tony served three seasons as Artistic Director of Abingdon Theatre Company, a 26-year old off-Broadway theatre company dedicated to developing and producing new American work. Off-Broadway: James Lecesne’s The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey (Dixon Place, Westside Theatre); A Midsummer Night’s Dream featuring Bebe Neuwirth, Christina Ricci, Steven Skybell and Taylor Mac (CSC); The Boy Who Danced On Air by Tim Rosser & Charlie Sohne, Jason O’Connell’s The Dork Knight, The Gentleman Caller by Philip Dawkins (Abingdon); and Matthew-Lee Erlbach’s Handbook for an American Revolutionary (The Gym at Judson). Regional: The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey (National Tour), Barry Manilow’s Harmony (Alliance Theatre, Ahmanson Theatre) and Romeo and Juliet (Actors Theatre of Louisville). Tony has developed new work at The Goodman Theatre’s New Stages Festival, Berkeley Rep’s Ground Floor, Sundance Theatre Lab at Mass MoCA and The Public Theatre’s Under the Radar Festival. He holds an MFA in Directing from Columbia University and is a proud recipient of a Princess Grace Theatre Honorarium and Suzi Bass Award.

PLASTIC THEATRE (Author) is a rolling ensemble of multi-disciplinary artists led by Tony Speciale. For The Secret Court, the collective includes Catherine Barricklow, Jess R. Burkle, Joe Curnutte, Frank De Julio, Heather Denyer, Max Jenkins, Zach Kleinsmith, James MacBean, Jerry Marsini, Patrick McCaffrey, Nicholas Norman, Kila Packett, Adam Rihacek, Peter Allen Stone and Tony Speciale. Inspired by true events and collaboratively written, The Secret Court incorporates elements from over 500 pages of historical court documents including transcripts, summaries, correspondence and other university records from the Harvard University Archives. For more Information on The Secret Court or other Plastic Theatre projects in development, email Tony Speciale at


To read The Secret Court, click here!

Contact Info:      Emma Feiwel at

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