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Viola Allan

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Viola Allan

"Miss Allen acts mentally rather than emotionally. Her conception of a part is always intelligent, comprehensive, and logical. One catches her meaning instantly." Lewis C. Strang

Allen, Viola (1867-1948) was the daughter of American actors. This "wide-eyed, round-faced, somewhat sad –miened beauty" was born in Huntsville, AL on October 27th, and educated in Boston, Toronto and New York. It was never her ambition to become an actress, but when Annie Russell became ill during the run of Esmeralda at the Madsion Square Theatre, where she was playing the title role, Viola’s father, C. Leslie Allen who was a member of the company, asked the stage manager, Mr. William Seymour, if his daughter could play the part. It was in this play, part and theatre that Miss Allen made her debut on July 4, 1882 at the age of 15. Her performance attracted the attention of John McCullough, who engaged her to play his daughter in Virginius. He later made her his leading lady in 1884 where she appeared with him in Othello and Richard III. In subsequent season she played opposite W. E. Sheridan, Lawrence Barrett, and the great Italian actor Tommaso Salvini. In 1889 she received much praise for her Gertrude Ellingham in Shenandoah, but a previous commitment forced her to leave after five weeks to perform in The Rivals and The Heir at Law with Joseph Jefferson and W.J. Florence, when they made their joint starring tour. Her Lydia Languish showed her as adept at comedy as she was in tragedy and melodrama. After an interval of playing modern plays in New York productions, she became leading lady with Charles Frohman’s Empire Stock Company in 1893 and remained there for five years. During this stint she created the leading female parts in the American productions of Liberty Hall, The Younger Sons, The Councilor’s Wife, Sowing the Wind, Gudgeons, The Masqueraders, John-a-Dreams, The Importance of Being Earnest, Michael and His Lost Angel, A Woman’s Reason, Marriage, Bohemia, The Highwaymen, Under the Red Robe, A Man and His Wife and The Conquers. Viola might have continued with the Empire had it not been for Elisabeth Marbury who showed her Hall Craine’s dramatization of his own novel The Christian. Charles Frohman dismissed it as trash and refused to produce it. But Miss Allen felt it had merit and in 1898 George C. Tyler mounted it starring her as Glory Quayle, the strong-headed, worldly girl converted by her clergyman lover. It was a huge success for Viola and it became her most famous role. From then on she received only "star" billing. Between appearances in contemporary plays such as Dolores in Marion Crawford’s In the Palace of the King (1900) and The White Sister (1909), Roman in Hall Caine’s The Eternal City (1902), Mistress Betty in Clyde Fitch’s The Toast of the Town (1905), she successfully undertook the Shakespearean parts of Viola (a role for which she was highly regarded), Hermione, Perdita, Imogen, and Rosalind. During the 1915-1916 season she toured as Lady Macbeth with J.K. Hackett. In March of 1916 she was Mistress Quickly in The Merry Wives of Windsor, her last New York appearance. When another play in which she was to star failed out of town she retired. She died at the age of 81 having played none other than the leading lady or the star role.

Viola Allen-studio photo-tinted-Resized.jpg (69094 bytes) Viola Allen as Esmeralda & her father C Leslie Allen as Elbert Rogers-Resized.jpg (91778 bytes) Viola Allen-studio photo 2-tinted-Resized.jpg (79548 bytes)
Portrait with C. Leslie Allen (her father in real life as well) in Esmeralda (1882) Portrait
Viola Allen-studio photo 1907-tinted-Resized.jpg (109992 bytes) Viola Allen-studio photo (head tilted back) -B&WCropped & Resized.jpg (89164 bytes) Viola Allen-Headshot with hat-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (63617 bytes)
Portrait Portrait Portrait
Viola Allen-1907 photo with siganture-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (83615 bytes) Viola Allen -Twelfth night Poster-color-Resized.jpg (120709 bytes) Viola Allen tinted Portrait-Resized.jpg (83691 bytes)
Photo with signature (1907) Twelfth Night Poster tinted Portrait
Viola Allen in Twelfth Night (1894)-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (64895 bytes) Viola Allen in The Winter's Tale-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (218701 bytes) Viola Allen in The White Sisiter-photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (58271 bytes)
as Viola in Twelfth Night (1894) in A Winter's Tale in The White Sister
Viola Allen in The Masqueraders (1894)-Production shot-B&W-Resized.jpg (138911 bytes) Viola Allen in School for Scandal-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (80205 bytes) VIola Allen in a scene from Act I, Scene ii of Twelfth Night-Photo-cepia-Resized.jpg (230933 bytes)
in The Masqueraders (1894) in School for Scandal in Twelfth Night
Act I, Scene 2
Viola Allen as Viola inTwelfth Night-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (73112 bytes) Viola Allen as Imogen in Cymbeline-Photo-B&W-Cropped & Resized.jpg (71619 bytes) Viola Allen-studio photo with white dress & black hat & gloves-tinted-Resized.jpg (83043 bytes)
as Viola in
 Twelfth Night
as Imogen in Cymbeline Portrait
Viola Allen & RJ Dillon in The Christian (1899)- Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (79720 bytes) Viola Allen studio portrait-white hair-photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (106240 bytes) Robert T Haines & Viola Allen in In The Palace Of The King-Production Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (85216 bytes)
with R.J. Dillon in
 The Christian (1899)
Portrait with Robert T. Haines in The Palace of the King
Viola Allen in The Importance of Being Earnest (1895)-Photo-B&W-Resized-Cropped & Resized.jpg (159422 bytes) Viola Allen as Portia (1899)- Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (64567 bytes) Viola Allen in The Eternal City-Photo-B&W-Cropped & Resized.jpg (172797 bytes)
as Gwendolyn in
 The Importance of Being Earnest (1895) 
as Portia (1899) in The Eternal City
Viola ALlen & James K Hackett in Macbeth (1916)-Photo-B&W-Cropped & Resized.jpg (97797 bytes)   Viola Allen in The Merry Wives of Windsor-Photo-B&W-Cropped & Resized.jpg (191105 bytes)
with James K. Hackett in Macbeth
as Mistress Quickly in
The Merry Wives of Windsor (1916)

Joseph Haworth & Viola Allen

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