“Ain Gordon haunts the margins of history … conjur[ing] the sort of distant lives that don’t make it into textbooks, processed into oblivion by what he calls history’s ‘ruthless editing machine.’”—The New York Times
217 Boxes of Dr. Henry Anonymous tells the largely unknown story of a courageous gay psychiatrist whose activism made a profound and lasting impact on LGBTQ civil rights. Disguised in a mask and using a voice modulator, John E. Fryer testified as Dr. Henry Anonymous on a homosexuality panel at the 1972 Annual Meeting of the American Psychiatric Association (APA). Facing the loss of his medical license should his identity be discovered, Fryer’s testimony resulted in the APA’s removal of homosexuality from its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in 1973. Drawn from 217 boxes of Fryer’s personal papers, Obie Award-winning writer/director Ain Gordon re-imagines this historic moment through the eyes of three key figures in Fryer’s life, bringing it to UCLA to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. Featuring Laura Esterman, Derek Lucci and Ken Marks.
The first production of 217 Boxes of Dr. Henry Anonymous was made with major support provided by The Historical Society of Pennsylvania and The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage. It premiered on May 5, 2016 at the Painted Bride in Philadelphia.
Funds for the CAP UCLA presentation provided by Diane Levine; Teri Schwartz, Dean UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television; and the James A. Doolittle Endowment.