Obituary of John M. Allison, Jr.
John M. Allison, Jr., "Jack" - Of East Northport, NY on June 16, 2019, 78 years of age. Born in Bayonne, NJ to John Sr. & Emily Allison. Professor & Musical Director for many years; most recently at Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA. Survived by his daughter Kristen Allison. Beloved brother of Patricia (Andrew Rochman) Allison & the late Robert Allison. Dear uncle of Christian Lynch, Ryan (Jennifer Wilen) Lynch, Andrew (Natasha) Lynch, Eric (Joe Meese) Rochman, Aaron Rochman, Denise Allison, Dawn Williams &the late Robert Allison, Jr. Cherished great uncle of Oscar, Fiona, Brielle, & Quinn. Also loved by his many students and a cast of thousands.
Memorial services will be held on Sunday, July 28th. There will be an 11 AM Mass at St. Malachy's Church (The Actors' Chapel), 239 West 49th Street, New York, NY 10019. Following in the afternoon at 2 PM will be a memorial service held at the Frederick Loewe Theatre at NYU, 35 W 4th St, New York, New York 10012.
As featured in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and on www.post-gazette.com/
Obituary: A father figure to hundreds: Point Park professor, musical director Jack Allison dies at 78
March 12, 1941 -- June 16, 2019
As a father figure to hundreds of his students, Jack Allison was the kind of theater professor who made everyone try to be the best version of themselves.
Mr. Allison, who directed hundreds of musical productions and taught for over a decade at Point Park University, was known to have a unique way of teaching through song particularization — the act of analyzing song lyrics and relating the words back to the actor’s life.
“So anytime you were singing a lyric, you knew exactly what it meant,” former student Jordan Grubb said. “He was able to break down a scene far few directors could or can.”
On Sunday Mr. Allison, 78, died in his sleep at his home in East Northport, N.Y.
Throughout his 40-year career, Mr. Allison directed hundreds of productions, from the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera to the National Theatre of Belgium. Productions such as “Carousel,” and “Hello Dolly” are just some of the shows he directed while working at the Pittsburgh CLO. According to the CLO’s website, Mr. Allison started working with the CLO in 1978.
His work didn’t go unnoticed – Mr. Allison received awards around the country, including “Best of the Season” awards by both the Boston Globe and the Kansas City Star.
After decades of directing professional actors, Mr. Allison decided to become a professor. He played a pivotal role in helping shape theater programs at the Conservatory of the Performing Arts at Point Park, New York University, Five Towns College and Carnegie Mellon University.
Zeva Barzell, the head of music theater at Point Park, said Mr. Allison turned Point Park’s musical theater around.
“Talk about a legacy. He touched so many students’ lives on such a deep level. He was funny and smart and creative and very, very, very passionate about theater,” Ms. Barzell said. “The core of who he was was so much of what he did.”
Mr. Allison was born the second of three children in Bayonne, N.J. Before launching his professional career, Mr. Allison attended the New Jersey City State University for his bachelor’s degree in American literature/history, the Catholic University of America for his master’s degree in speech and drama and the University of Denver for his doctorate in theater/directing.
His legacy at Point Park will continue to live on through a scholarship that was created in his name by the family of Mr. Grubb.
“He wasn’t just there to collect a paycheck. He was there to change lives,” Mr. Grubb said. “He had a way of connecting to someone’s vulnerability.”
Mr. Grubb said Mr. Allison was influential in shaping him as an artist and as a person.
“I had a rough time coming out as a young man,” Mr. Grubb said. “He really just encouraged me to be the best version of who I was, no matter who I was.”
Kiesha Lalama, a professional choreographer, said she worked with Mr. Allison for 15 productions from venues in Pittsburgh to Kansas City.
Her favorite production with him was the show “Reefer Madness,” a musical satire focused on the demonization of marijuana in America in the late 1950s.
“That one was very special because he had this way of making a not-so-good script heartfelt and emotional,” Ms. Lalama said. “He wanted to dig deeper and make it something special. That’s what I think separates Jack from everyone else.”
John Shepard, who at the time was the director of theater at Point Park, said hiring Mr. Allison was one of the best decisions he made as chair.
Mr. Allison helped Mr. Shepard launch the New York City Showcase in 2004 and the Los Angeles Showcase, where seniors majoring in theatre and cinema are selected to present a 60-minute showcase to network with industry professionals.
Mr. Allison also played a pivotal role in the recruitment process for prospective students at Point Park. He would travel with Joe McGoldrick, who was the Director of Artistic Improvement for the Conservatory of Performing Arts at the time, to hold auditions for prospective students across the country.
During one of their recruiting trips, Mr. McGoldrick said he remembers one girl broke down crying in the middle of her audition.
Instead of dismissing her, Mr. Allison took her outside to give her a pep talk for 10 minutes and allowed her to re-audition. His help ended up inspiring her to enroll in Point Park.
Through the years, Mr. Allison became sick with heart related issues. He retired from Point Park in 2017 and moved near his sister, Pat Allison, in Long Island, N.Y. He is also survived by a daughter, Kristen Allison, from Denver.
Pat Allison said she is planning on hosting a memorial service in New York City at the end of July. Mr. Allison had requested certain people speak and play certain songs from his favorite musicals such as “Can’t Take That Away From Me.”
“Ever a director,” Ms. Allison said.
As featured on www.broadwayworld.com/
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.
As featured on www.theatermania.com/
Theater Professor and Director Jack Allison Has Died
Jack was the resident director at the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera Company where he staged over 30 productions.
John M. "Jack" Allison, a theater teacher and director in the United States, Canada, and Europe, died June 16 at the age of 78 in East Northport, New York.
Born in Bayonne, New Jersey, Allison 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.
Allison served as the resident director at the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera Company where he staged over 30 productions. He also 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, and he premiered Cabaret at the National Theatre of Belgium. Allison was the recipient of three Florida Carbonell Awards and three Boston Globe Best of Season Awards.
From 1993 until 2003 Allison 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.
Allisons brother Robert "Buddy" Allison Sr. predeceased him. He is survived by his child Kristen Allison and sibling Patricia Ann Allison.