Dennis Allen II
Co-Vice Chair, National Playwriting Program
Brooklyn College M.F.A. in Playwriting
Molloy College B.A. in Theatre & B.A. in Communications
Whenever people ask me about my journey to becoming a theatre maker and educator I always start my story with when I was in my late 20’s thinking I was going to settle for my job as a marketing manager; getting fired from that job because the CEO of the company believed I should be “following my passion”; going back to school to get a degree in theatre (adding to my BA in communications); starting my own theatre company, producing a short play festival, submitting a play to the Samuel French Off Off Broadway festival competition, winning said festival which made me a published playwright and getting into Brooklyn College MFA program under Mac Wellman. That’s the narrative I’ve shared whenever someone asks but actually I’ve realized my journey started much younger. My theatrical journey started with me in pre school entertaining a room full of pre schoolers with my reenactment of the live action movie Popeye; encouraged by me playing a young Martin Luther King Jr. in an elementary school play; encouraged by me playing saxophone in the school’s marching band and singing West Side Story songs in choir; encouraged by my mother taking me to see Broadway shows like Les Mis, ‘Cats’, ‘Phantom of the Opera’, ‘The Song of Jacob Zulu’ and most influential August Wilson’s, ‘A Piano Lesson’. ‘A Piano Lesson’ was most influential because it was the first show I had seen that spoke to the Black American experience, the first show where I saw myself. My goal as an artist and a teacher is to be to one soul what ‘A Piano Lesson’ was for me: a source of inspiration, encouragement and example of self love.
LaGuardia Community College