Anthony Lawton grew up in Fullerton, California.  

He acquired his B.A. from the University of Notre Dame in 1989.  He was in the Program of Liberal Studies, a program based on Mortimer Adler's Great Books model.  

He attained his M.F.A. in Acting from Temple University in 1992. 

Since then, he has mostly acted on stage, at theatres in Michigan, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and New York City. Principally, however, he has lived and worked in Philadelphia. 

Favorite roles include George in Of Mice and Men (Walnut St. Theatre); Gideon in Athol Fugard's Playland (Wilma Theater); Friar Laurence in Romeo and Juliet (Arden Theatre), Coleman in The Lonesome West , Feste in Twelfth Night, and Storyteller in A Christmas Carol (Lantern Theater); the Fire Chief in the 24-Hour Bald Soprano (Brat Productions); Autolycus in The Winter’s Tale, Cromwell in A Man for All Seasons, and Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream (Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival); Dr. Parker in Bat Boy and "man" in Brief Interviews with Hideous Men (1812 Productions). Film: Unbreakable, Invincible, Law Abiding Citizen, and Silver Linings Playbook. He has also appeared on CBS TV's “Hack” and “Cold Case.“ 

He has performed in over 100 professional productions, including 26 productions of plays by Shakespeare.

In 1999, the Philadelphia City Paper named him the city's "Best One-Man Theatre" for his solo productions of Shel Silverstein’s The Devil and Billy Markham, and C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce and The Screwtape Letters.

In 2003, he was awarded an Independence Foundation grant to develop a production of his first original play, The Foocy, which garnered 5 Barrymore nominations in 2005, including Best New Play. 

In 2016, the Independence Foundation gave him a grant which enabled him to develop his first musical: an adaptation of George MacDonald’s The Light Princess. The Arden Theatre produced the play, which received 8 Barrymore nominations, including for Best New Play. The play won in two categories, including Best Original Music, for which Lawton shared a credit as lyricist.

He has taught Acting, Directing, Shakespeare and Solo Performance at the University of Notre Dame, his alma mater. He has also taught Acting at Temple University, Eastern University, Community College of Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania, Friends' Central School, the Wilma Theater, the Walnut Street Theatre and the Arden Theatre.