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Chatting With Chad
No Longer Riding The Range in Dr. Quinn, Chad Allen Enters Stage Left in The Ambitious *change at Babylon

by Dan Gregory

Having just finished a six-year run as frontiersman Matthew Cooper on the TV show Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, hunky Chad Allen appears on stage in *change at Babylon July 25th through August 30th at the Tiffany Theatre in West Hollywood.

A post-AIDS play revolving around a group of New York gay men and their adventures at a Fire Island retreat, *change at Babylon is about the families we as gay men come from and the families we create.

Acting onstage is not new to Allen--last year he starred in Scooter Thomas Makes It to the Top of the World and was "Cowboy" in the Boys in the Band benefit which raised money for the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund. His theatre credits also include Biloxi Blues, A Man Called Peter and Oliver!

The 24-year-old actor has been successfully working in the entertainment business for the last 20 years--as a tow-headed tyke he starred in a series of He-Man television commercials. Soon after he played an autistic child on the critically acclaimed medical drama St. Elsewhere for NBC. This was followed by roles on the TV shows Webster, Our House, and My Two Dads.

Allen was born in Orange County to have a large Italian Catholic family with two sisters [Actually Charity is his only sister - webmaster] and four brothers. The person he's closest to in his life, he says, is his twin sister Charity, a liberal activist whose Italian features are compared to pop star Madonna.

A week before the opening of Babylon Allen and his publicist meet me at industry-hangout Off Vine, a cute bungalow restaurant in the heart of Hollywood. Besides starring in Babylon Allen is also producing it--a feat which has kept him busy with 7:30am meetings, advertising approvals, and ever-ringing cellphone--which he graciously turns off as we sit down for lunch.

Dressed California-casual in blue jeans and a white t-shirt, Allen is charming and funny as he talks about his career and the importance of theatre.

EDGE: What is it about *change at Babylon that made you want to be part of it?

Chad Allen: It's sort of a long story at this point, but I started a non-profit theatre company called the Creative Outlet here a few years ago with my friend Heather Thom (from The Young and the Restless). We've been producing theatre around the LA. area because we couldn't find a company we felt was doing the kinds of shows we wanted to do.

Part of the problem with doing small theatre in L.A. is getting people to come see it. One thing we noticed very clearly was that the gay community was very supportive of small theatre.

We were also anxious to find a show with a gay theme that we could put up that we thought was good. We are constantly reading new shows. Part of the purpose of the Creative Outlet was to get new material to foster the talents of young writers, so we set out to get new scripts.

I went to New York at Christmastime and a friend of mine that I known for quite some time--who's a friend of Brian-Paul Mendoza, our author--brought me the script *change at Babylon and asked if I would consider doing it in New York City because they were planning a production of it there. I read the script and immediately fell in love with it. The characters were just phenomenal. A very well-written script for a first-time author. But I couldn't come to New York to do it.

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