Jack Allison, Prestigious Theater Teacher And Director, Passes Away At 78
John M. "Jack" Allison, prestigious theater teacher and director in the United States, Canada, and Europe, died peacefully at the age of 78 on June 16, 2019 in East Northport, New York. Born in Bayonne, New Jersey, he graduated from New Jersey City University with a BA in American Literature and History before earning an MA in Speech and Drama from The Catholic University of America, and a PhD (ABD) in Theatre and Directing from the University of Denver.
Jack was the resident director at the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera Company where he staged over 30 productions. He directed at most of the major regional theaters in the United States, Canada, and Europe including the Walnut Street Theater, Coconut Grove Playhouse, Cincinnati Opera and the North Shore Music Theatre. In New York he staged acclaimed productions at the Manhattan Theatre Club and the Circle Repertory Company. He premiered Cabaret at the National Theatre of Belgium. He has received prestigious awards for his direction, including three Florida Carbonell Awards and three Boston Globe Best of Season Awards.
During his 40 years in the theater, Jack worked with such artists as Don Ameche, Barbara Andres, Judy Blazer, Eileen Brennan, Len Cariou, David Cassidy, Richard Chamberlain, Bert Convy, Fred Ebb, Georgia Engel, Jose Ferrer, Rita Gardner, Jason Graae, Holly Hunter, George S. Irving, Cherry Jones, John Kander, Judy Kaye, Stubby Kaye, Lainie Kazan, Terence McNally, Rita Moreno, Donna Murphy, James Naughton, Marni Nixon, Carolann Page, Faith Prince, Rita Rudner, Christian Slater, Tracey Ullman, Lanford Wilson, and Jo Ann Worley.
During the course of his career, Jack worked tirelessly to help students find their voice. From 1993 until 2003 he was a Professor at New York University's Steinhardt School of Performing Arts where he developed the Musical Theatre program's acting sequence and directed Assassins, From May to December: Kurt Weill and Lotte Lenya (developed under the supervision of the Kurt Weill Foundation), and Life is Like a Musical Comedy: George M. Cohan. In 2002 and 2003 he added and devised a new concentration in Musical Theatre and Voice at Five Towns College and later that year joined Point Park University - Conservatory of the Performing Arts. At Point Park University he directed many productions including She Loves Me, Carousel, Can-Can, Assassins, and Reefer Madness among others, all of which were sighted by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette as Best of Season.
His loving parents, John M. Allison Sr. and Emily LeCompte-Allison, predecease him. He was a loving brother to Robert "Buddy" Allison Sr. (deceased) and Patricia Ann Allison; brother-in-law to Andy Rochman and John Lynch; the biological father to Kristen Allison, and the father to his furry children Mickey 1, Mickey 2, Minnie Fae, and Barnaby. He was a father figure and mentor to his nephews Buddy Jr. (deceased), Ryan, Christian, and Andrew Lynch; Aaron and Eric Rochman; nieces Dawn Allison Williams (Bradley), Denise Allison, Jennifer Wilen and Natasha Norris Lynch; great nephews and nieces Justin, Kendra, Andrea, Zach, Riley, Oscar, Fiona, Brielle, and Quinn, as well as the thousands of professional actors and students he directed, influenced, taught during his more than 40 year career.
Jack was a terrific storyteller and his life embodied the preface of William Saroyan's Pulitzer Prize Winning Drama, The Time of Your Life.
"In the time of your life, live - so that in that good time there shall be no ugliness or death for yourself or for any life your life touches. Seek goodness everywhere, and when it is found, bring it out of its hiding place and let it be free and unashamed."
He was loved and will be missed. A memorial will be held sometime in July.