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The Lucy Jordan Award

Dirk van Allen Garners AEA’s Prestigious Lucy Jordan Award

Dirk Van Allen, Accomplished Actor/Theatre Advocate Honored For Service to the Austin Theatre Community

Dirk van Allen, an accomplished actor and tireless theatre advocate, has been named the recipient of Actors’ Equity’s prestigious 2005 Lucy Jordan Award. Mr. van Allen will receive the award at the upcoming Equity membership meeting in Los Angeles on October 7, 2005.

Among the past recipients of the Lucy Jordan Award are: CTG/Mark Taper Forum Founding Director Gordon Davidson, Actor/WRB member Joseph Ruskin, and noted stage actor Iggy Wolfington. The Award was started in 1992 to honor the legacy of Lucy Finney Jordan, a former ballerina and chorus “gypsy” who, for many years, was the “face” of Actors’ Equity in the Western Region as the Union’s Outside Field Rep. According to Equity Western Regional Director John Holly, the award is given to those who demonstrate a “a lifetime commitment to the theatre and especially, helping other theatre artists.”

Dirk van Allen amusingly describes his career as a “checkered past”: He served for 20+ years in the US Navy (retired Commander), and has a second career as a successful financial advisor. But he has always been in love with the theatre. His father, a well-known medical doctor, studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York and toured the country in a production of GREEN GODDESS with George Arliss. Dirk’s union roots go back to Chattanooga, TN, where, at the age of 16, he joined the Musicians Union and played tenor saxophone in Maurice Bales’ dance band. He started acting in junior and senior class plays in high school, continued acting in college productions at Centre College (Danville, KY) under the direction of Dr. West T. Hill, and did summer stock in Kentucky and community theatre in Virginia and Texas.

Landing in Austin, Dirk started his professional acting career at the Live Oak Theatre in Austin, becoming a member of that theater's company which eventually "morphed" into The State Theater Company. He got his Equity card in 1992. Dirk has since performed with the Capital City Playhouse, the Zach Scott Theater Center, St. Edward's University, and is a company member of The Austin Shakespeare Festival. He is a founding company member and has just completed a four-year term as the first President of the Board of Directors of Don Toner's Austin Playhouse where he is currently in a production of A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS. He has been nominated for several Austin Critics' Table and B. Iden Payne Awards, and served on a peer review panel for the City of Austin for its arts funding program.

Dirk Van Allen

“As an actor, Dirk is a consummate professional, always prepared and full of creative fire,” said Equity member Ev Lunning, Jr., Artistic Director of Austin’s Mary Moody Northern Theatre.

Similar praise comes from other peers: Stage Manager/Equity Liaison Committee Chair Bill McMillin: “Dirk has been intimately involved in the Austin theatre over 25 years and helped such theatres as the Live Oak, the State Theatre and Austin Playhouse to get off the ground. As an active member of the Equity Liaison Committee, he helped to implement the Equity Umbrella Agreement, which has brought more jobs to local Equity actors and Stage Managers. He is a proud member of Actors’ Equity and an important voice in our theatre community.”

Don Toner, Artistic Director of the Austin Playhouse added: “Dirk van Allen is an accomplished actor, a dedicated theatre professional, and a steadfast friend. His determination and hard work have paid great dividends to himself, his many admirers, and to those of us who have enjoyed the pleasure of his company for many seasons.”

“I am honored to receive the Lucy Jordan Award,” said van Allen. “To take rank with the prior awardees is not only serendipitous but un-imagined. If I have made a contribution to the acting/theatre community it is but a reflex reaction to the rewards it has given me. Although my 'day job' careers have been rewarding and satisfying it is the men, women and children with whom I've had an association in theatre that have made this career a treasured enrichment. Those people as a group are truly the nicest folks with whom I have ever worked.”


Award pages:

Arizona Theatre Service

Lucy Finney Jordan began her career as a ballerina and danced as a musical chorus gypsy. She met Glenn Jordan, a Stage Manager, and fell in love, becoming a wife and mother. Later, when Glenn became a producer, she wore the hat of Associate Producer for the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera. When Glenn passed away, she knew she still needed the theatre in her life, and applied and was accepted for the position of Field Representative for the Western Region of AEA.

Lucy Jordan was a friend, advisor, and confidante to principals, chorus and stage managers alike. Whether at auditions, first rehearsals, opening nights or membership meetings, her office was open to all; and her home phone number was given to, and used by, many who needed to resolve an emergency or seek an opinion. For many people in the Western Region, Lucy Jordan was the face of the union. Ms. Jordan died on May 15, 1992 and this award in her honor was created that same year.

Recipients of the Lucy Jordan Recognition Award are:

    • 2017 - Michelle Polgar, Managing Director of the Mary Moody Northern Theatre at St. Edwards University
    • 2016 - Jay C. Sarno, San Diego arts leader
    • 2015 - No award given
    • 2014 - Mary Lou Westerfield, AEA Western Regional Director/Asst. Exec. Dir.
    • 2013 - Richard Connema , theatre critic
    • 2012 - Glenn Bruner, stage manager
    • 2011 - Connie McMillan, theatre supporter
    • 2010 - Lynne Soffer, actress, acting coach, teacher, and dialect coach
    • 2009 - Diane Ronneberg, wardrobe mistress and dresser
    • 2008 - Christopher Comte, Membership Director, Seattle Local AFTRA
    • 2007 - Rick Starr, Hollywood Sheet Music
    • 2006 - Don Toner, Managing Artistic Director/ Producer of the Austin Playhouse
    • 2005 - Dirk van Allen, actor and tireless theatre advocate
    • 2004 - Gordon Davidson, Artistic Director and Producer of Center Theatre Group
    • 2003 - Joseph Ruskin, Actor & AEA Councillor
    • 2002 - No award given
    • 2001 - Dr. Barry A. Kohn, Director & Physician of the Actors’ Fund Free Clinic
    • 2000 - Shawn Newmann, Western Regional Board Secretary
    • 1999 - Gary Marthaler, member of the Wardrobe Union
    • 1998 - Frank M. Young, Founder, President and CEO of Theatre Under The Stars and Executive Director of 5th Avenue Musical Theatre
    • 1997 - John Cauble, Signatory for Guest Artist for Universities
    • 1996 - Patricia MacDonald, House Manager of the Doolittle Theatre
    • 1995 - Tom Rolla, Gardenia Night Club
    • 1994 - Keith Stava, San Bernardino Civic Light Opera
    • 1993 - Howard Caine, Actor
    • 1992 - Iggie Wolfington, Actor & AEA Councillor Emeritu

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