lallen.jpgLewis Maitland Allen Jr., the Tony Award-winning producer of “Annie,” died on Dec. 8 from pancreatic cancer. He was 81.
Allen graduated from the University of Virginia, then served as an ambulance driver with the American Field Service in Africa and Europe during World War II. While overseas, Allen met producer Robert Whitehead. He joined Whitehead’s New York office in 1950 and worked his way up from being a gofer to the assistant managing director of the ANTA Play Series. By 1960, he and Dana Hodgdon had founded their own production company, Allen-Hodgdon, Inc.
For the next 30 years, Allen produced plays on- and off-Broadway. He took a regional production of “Annie,” paired it with producer/director Mike Nichols and backed the Broadway musical which opened in 1977 and ran for six years. “Annie,” originally starring Andrea McArdle, Reid Shelton and Dorothy Loudon, earned Allen his first Tony Award.
Numerous other successful productions followed, including a revival of “The Iceman Cometh” with Jason Robards and the Tommy Tune musical, “My One and Only.” Allen also won Tonys for his productions of Herb Gardner’s “I’m Not Rappaport” in 1986, and Terrence McNally’s “Master Class” in 1996.
Married to playwright Jay Presson Allen, he also produced a dozen films, most notably “Fahrenheit 451” and both the 1963 and 1990 versions of “Lord of the Flies.”
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