Theatre Arts Department
Rehearsal and Performance
Jonelle Allen, Associate Faculty
Ms. Allen, who spent six years as Grace, the entrepreneurial post-Civil War frontier café owner in CBS-TV’s Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, was four years old when she was cast in the revival Wisteria Trees starring Helen Hayes, Ossie Davis, Cliff Robertson and others at the New York City Center Theatre. In the course of the play’s run, Ms. Hayes took Ms. Allen’s Aunt Bea aside and advised her, “Keep this child in the theatre, she has a natural gift.” It wasn’t until some twenty years later at Sardi’s that Jonelle again saw Helen Hayes in person. Ms. Allen was in the spotlight at the famed theatrical hangout awaiting the first reviews following her opening night of the musical Two Gentlemen of Verona, in which she starred and which Ms. Hayes had attended. Rushing up to a great actress and assuming that she would not recognize her, Ms. Allen recounted the circumstances and what Ms. Hayes had said to her Aunt Bea years earlier. Ms. Hayes smiling simply said, “See…I was right.” Ms. Allen received a Tony nomination as Best Actress in a Musical and won the Drama Critics, Drama Desk, Theater World, and Outer Circle Awards for her performance as Silvia in the New York Shakespeare Festival production. Other Broadway credits include the original casts of Hair and George M, starring Joel Grey and Bernadette Peters. Ms. Allen has appeared in numerous feature films and television productions including Hotel New Hampshire, Cagney and Lacey, Hill Street Blues, Generations, Twice In A Lifetime for PAX-TV and Strong Medicine for Lifetime Network. Ms. Allen won a Dramalogue for her performance of Aldonza in Man of La Mancha prior to embarking on the phenomenal run Dr. Quinn.
Ms. Allen also wrote and starred in Harlem Renaissance: The Life of Florence Mills which premiered at the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland last year. This show was choregraphed by Ellen Prince, another Saddleback faculty member. Ms Allen is also going to perform Harlem Renaissance in the United States.
Department of Theatre Arts
28000 Marguerite Parkway
Mission Viejo, CA 92692