Anthony J. Piccione is an award-winning playwright, independent theatre producer, screenwriter, critic, essayist, poet and occasional actor based in New York City. Born in Rochester, New York and raised in Connecticut, Piccione’s eclectic canon of one-acts have been produced at NYC venues such as the Hudson Guild Theatre, Planet Connections Theatre Festivity, Midtown International Theatre Festival, and Manhattan Repertory Theatre, as well as regional venues such as Playhouse on Park, Hole in the Wall Theatre, the Windsor Art Center, and Windham Theatre Guild. His full-length play A Therapy Session with Myself - a semi-autobiographical drama about dealing with social anxiety, depression, and Asperger's syndrome - received a staged reading at the Dramatists Guild Foundation in October 2017, with its first full production scheduled for January 2019 at the Hudson Guild Theatre. Additionally, his short drama What I Left Behind was named the NYWinterfest's Best Short Play of 2018, and he was also recently nominated for the Planet Connections Theatre Festivity's Outstanding Playwright award for his avant-garde one-act 4 $tages. Piccione's work as a playwright is published at Heuer Publishing, with more plays scheduled for publication later this year at JAC Publishing and Promotions and Off The Wall Plays, and his reviews and columns are frequently published at OnStage Blog. He received his BA in Theatre from Eastern Connecticut State University in 2016, and is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild of America.
When Anthony Piccione was just a year-and-a-half old, he was diagnosed with autism. Doctors said, among other things, he would likely be non-verbal for the rest of his life. He proved them wrong at three years old, when his first words were the almost-perfect recitation of the opening monologue from Jeopardy. In his teenage years, he was also diagnosed with anxiety and mood disorder not otherwise specified. Now, as an adult, Anthony is a playwright and actor, and uses art to bring awareness to the complicated situations he’s experienced. On this episode, Anthony and I talk about the role writing plays in his life, why he’s committed to breaking down stigmas, and why he wants the arts to elevate the voices of people who experience the issues firsthand.
Here are some of the things Anthony and I chatted about:
The outcomes that doctors predicted after he was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder
His decision to be open about his experiences with anxiety, autism, and mood disorder
Why he feels frustration about the stereotypes and misconceptions surrounding autism
His approach to social events and situations: get out there, but take it one day at a time
The events that inspired him to write his upcoming show, A Therapy Session with Myself
How writing the play forced him to think not only about what he’s been through, but why
Why he hopes to see more plays about people with autism written by people who have autism
The role of an artist, and the importance of starting a conversation and raising awareness
What he wants, above all, people to know about those who have mental health challenges
His previous work, including What I Left Behind, which won Best Short Play at the 2018 NYWinterfest