( 1954- )
Allen is a playwright in residence and teacher at Chicago's Victory Gardens Theater, which has produced four of her plays on its main stage. She has received several Joseph Jefferson Awards for new plays, and two of her plays have been produced on radio, including Deed of Trust, starring Sharon Gless and Tyne Daly. A Chicago resident, Allen teaches playwriting at the University of Chicago, the Newberry Library, as well as at Victory Gardens. Her plays have been produced in a number of cities in the United States. An essayist as well, Allen has been published in the Chicago Tribune Sunday Magazine. Her collection of lesbian plays, She's Always Liked the Girls Best, was a finalist for the American Library Association Gay/Lesbian Book of the Year and was nominated for a Lambda Award.
A popular Chicago playwright, Allen writes consistently about lesbian experiences, and she is valued for her strong portrayal of women. Roomers is an intimate contemporary play set in small-town Michigan. The front porch of Ida's rooming house provides a focal point for the exploration of relationships among a diverse group of townspeople and visitors. The worldly Ida is the mother confessor for the tenants, who include June (a Black woman who is escaping the violence of Detroit), Ed (a salesman), Ernest (who owns a string of Motel 6s), and Ida's precocious daughter, Letty. When June's lesbian daughter visits, Letty recognizes the first stirrings of love.
Hannah Free tackles the issue of rights in the lifelong lesbian relationship of Hannah and Rachel, who are both confined to the same nursing home. When