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On & Off - Nov. 11-24, 2002

Shocking Revelations

Chad Allen becomes Temporary Help.

Chad Allen, the actor best known for roles on TV shows including "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman," "Our House" and "St. Elsewhere," makes his New York stage debut this month in a new thriller called Temporary Help. Penned by mystery novelist David Wiltse, the play centers on an unstable Nebraska couple who hires and then murders transient farm hands. Complications arise when a sexy young drifter who may or may not be a serial killer himself, applies for the job and creates a psychosexual triangle of love and violence.

"It's one of those thrillers where the audience gets scared and jumps," explains Allen who plays the drifter opposite Robert Cuccioli (Jekyll & Hyde) and Margaret Colin. Allen has already starred in two previous productions of the play, one in Seattle and the other in Westport, Connecticut. "In Westport, Paul Newman came backstage and said something like "I can't believe they allow smut like this in the theater. He really loved it," says Allen.

Allen has been a fixture on the LA theater scene since 1995 when he co-founded The Creative Outlet Theater Company with actress Heather Tom ("The Young and the Restless"). "We were friends from an improv company when we were 17. We had both been working on TV for s long and were bored by it. We thought that there would be so many other TV actors who would want to join in. But it ended up being just us."

Over the last few years, Allen has enjoyed watching the theater scene in Hollywood grow. "It's been awesome to see people in LA finally rally around and pay attention to theater," he acknowledges. In fact, earlier this year Allen received national attention when he starred as Jesus in the LA premiere of Terrence McNally's controversial Corpus Christi. "There's nothing like being on stage doing miracles to give you a sense of power," he jokes.

Despite the difficulty of producing theater on the West Coast, Allen says it has been rewarding. "My Father came to see me in Scooter Thomas Makes It to the Top of the World. At the end of the play, I looked out and there he was in the third row crying. If it had been a film he may have seen it at some point, but I probably wouldn't have been there. It really hit me that we had just taken this journey together. That's the magic of live theater."

Temporary Help also marks the inaugural production of Revelation Theater, a new company where Allen serves on the Board of Directors. "It's a fantastic organization doing exciting new work by young writers. This is the theater to watch in the next few years."

- Ron Lasko

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