Jonelle Allen

Down front to review the play for the Times, Kerr again had only good things to say about her performance. “It was almost as if he felt that I was his discovery,” remembered Allen. “In a way, I suppose I was.” The play was a smash outdoors in Central Park all summer long. It then moved indoors to Broadway for a run of 627 performances and ultimately to Los Angeles where it played at the Ahmanson Theatre.

Jonelle Allen and Obba Babatunde

Jonelle Allen and Antonio Vargas – THE LOVE BOAT

Allen moved permanently to the west coast where her agents were determined to sell her as the new Diana Ross or Lola Falana.  She, on the other hand, wanted to be a fully rounded actress and demanded that they find dramatic roles for her. She guest starred on Cagney and Lacey, Hill Street Blues, The Trials of Rosie O’Neil and many other hour dramas.

Cagney and Lacey


Jonelle Allen and Caroll O'Connor

Jonelle Allen and Carroll O’Connor 


She appeared in many diverse roles in a long string of movies-of-the-week, from playing the right-wing district attorney to Peter Strauss’ presiding judge in CBS TV’s Penalty Phase to a 17-year old lesbian opposite Susan Dey in another CBS movie, Cage Without a Key.

Fat Chance


Jonelle Allen stars in the summer production of “Hello Dolly” at Saddleback College’s McKinney Theatre. (courtesy of Ken Kinder)

Jonelle and Carol Channing

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