In the News: Theatre District Restaurateur Joe Allen Dies at 87, Dear Evan Hansen Launches 3rd Annual Essay Challenge, More | Playbill

Industry News In the News: Theatre District Restaurateur Joe Allen Dies at 87, Dear Evan Hansen Launches 3rd Annual Essay Challenge, More Joe Allen's namesake restaurant, as well as his Orso and Bar Centrale, are among Times Square's most popular hangouts for theatre folk.
Jordan Fisher Matthew Murphy

Read on for some recent theatre headlines you may have missed in today's news.

Joe Allen Monica Simoes

Theatre District Restaurateur Joe Allen Dies at 87
Joe Allen, owner of the popular 46th Street restaurant that bears his name, has died at the age of 87. A popular theatre district gathering place since 1965, Joe Allen was known for the posters of Broadway flops that lined the walls, a tradition that began when the cast of Kelly (which closed on opening night at the Broadhurst), gave Mr. Allen a poster of the show. Performers and theatregoers alike have frequented the restaurant over the years, despite that the neighborhood where it stands was a less-than-prime location when Mr. Allen bought the space in 1965 (long before the revitalization of Times Square). He opened Orso next door to Joe Allen in 1983, and added Bar Centrale above the original restaurant in 2005. All three spaces are currently on hiatus due to the pandemic.

Industry Professionals Lead BeneFIT Series of Free Zoom Classes
Broadway performers Maya Jade Frank (Mary Poppins, Evita) and Michael Lee Brown (Dear Evan Hansen), with partner Alessandra Tehya Frank, have created BeneFIT, a donation-based series of Zoom classes taught by industry professionals to benefit the Actors Fund. Instructors scheduled to present include Dear Evan Hansen's Gabby Carrubba and Sky Lakota-Lynch, as well as Disney+ stars Larry Saperstein and Jillian Shea. Brown kicks off the series on February 14 with "Singing/Acting Through Song", followed by Marc Tumminelli's "Baking and Audition Tips" on February 21 and "How to Nail a Dance Audition" with Erica Mansfield (Mrs. Doubtfire, Kiss Me, Kate) February 28. For more information and a full schedule of classes, visit

Submissions Open for “You Will Be Found” College Essay Writing Challenge
Dear Evan Hansen, The Broadway Education Alliance, and Gotham Writers Workshop have announced the third annual “You Will Be Found” College Essay Writing Challenge. The competition, previously exclusive to the New York City area, has opened up eligibility this year to high school juniors and seniors nationwide. One college scholarship of $10,000 will be awarded to the winning essay on the following prompt: "Describe how you've managed to ensure those around you were a little less alone in recent months—or—alternatively, a moment where you yourself have found comfort in connection." Submissions must be received by April 5; the winner will be announced May 10. For more information, click here.

Petra Brusiloff's Processing... Premieres on
The world premiere of Processing... by 2020 high school graduate Petra Brusiloff, will stream live for 10 performances February 18–27. The play is produced by Theatre East and helmed by Artistic Director Judson Jones. Lizzy Jarret, Marshall Louise, Jasmine McLeish, and Feisola Soetan play four NYC high school seniors whose lives have been upended by the lockdown and sudden death of a beloved computer science teacher. For schedule and ticketing, visit

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