The effervescent, ebullient Johanna Allen literally stole the show.’ Sydney Morning Herald.
Johanna Allen has established a career as one of Australia’s most versatile singer/actors. After graduating with both a Bachelor of Music Performance (Hons) and B.A. (Drama Performance and Direction.), she won a scholarship to study Daneil Ferro at the Juilliard School, New York. There she continued her training in acting and music. Most recently she was seen as ‘Mrs Gloop’ in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory 2019/2020 and she played Mother Abbess in GFO’s production of The Sound of Music 2018. Other recent credits include: Signora Nacarelli in in ‘The Light in the Piazza’ at the Playhouse, Arts Centre Victoria, Charlotte ‘A Little Night Music’ 2018 *Green Room Award Winner for Best Supporting Actress in a professional musical.
She premiered her latest festival commission ‘Cake’ at the 2018 Adelaide Cabaret Festival. In 2018 Johanna was also awarded a ‘Star of Fame’ on the Adelaide Festival Centre Walk of Fame alongside Sir Robert Helpmann and Hugh Sheridan for her year. This co-incided with her beginning a side career in radio, as presenter/producer for the ABC and the highly successful release of her Arts Program ‘Words with Friends’ on Saturday afternoons.
Recent theatre credits also include Wicked and Dr Zhivago for the Gordon Frost Organisation, Marcy in Dogfight (Hayes Theatre) Carlotta in Phantom of the Opera for Really Useful/Neil Gooding Productions, Lady D’Asquith – A Gentlemen’s guide to Love and Murder (Production Company) and Emma Goldman – Assassins for Watch This Melbourne.
Her self-written musical play ‘The Songs That Got Away’ based on the music of Harold Arlen has had sell out seasons at the Hayes Theatre Sydney, Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Melbourne Recital Centre, Glen Street Theatre, Noosa Festival and Parramatta Riverside Sydney.
Johanna played ‘Oriel’ in developments of Cloud street for the State Opera of South Australia, with music by George Palmer and directed by Gale Edwards.
Other roles include The Baker’s Wife – Into the Woods (GFO), The Threepenny Opera (Sydney Theatre Company/Malthouse Theatre), Elizabeth Proctor – The Crucible (New York Theatre Festival), Lady Macbeth – Macbeth (New York Theatre Festival), and The Angel and the Red Priest (Adelaide Festival).
Other principal credits include Kate – The Pirates of Penzance (opposite Anthony Warlow, National DVD release) Pitti Sing – The Mikado, the Old Lady – Candide for State Opera of South Australia and she originated the role of Gussie Bethell in Ode to Nonsense (Slingsby/StateTheatre of South Australia) a new work about the life of Edward Lear.
Her association with the Adelaide Cabaret Festival has included roles in The Wild Party – The Music of Andrew Lippa, Suitcase – The Music of Sean Peter, An Evening with Jeremy Sams, her own show Mixtape, The Songs that Got Away and Cake. Further professional credits include Guys and Dolls (Melbourne Symphony concert version), The Sign of the Seahorse (Playbox Theatre) SCAM!, Mr McGee and the Biting Flea (Patch Theatre) and Dead Man Walking ( Sister Rose, State Theatre Sydney). Her concert experience is vast, with numerous credits in classical repertoire, big band swing and pop and collaborations with artists such as David Helfgott, Anthony Warlow, David Hobson, Michael Buble, Suzanne Vega, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and New York City Big Band. As an artist she has performed at the Montreal Jazz Festival, the Melbourne Comedy Festival, Adelaide Cabaret Festival and at the International Speigeltent. Her operatic concert engagements include Adelaide Symphony, New York Baroque Ensemble, and in concert with
She presented her third sell out show at the Melbourne Recital Centre in 2017 called ‘Euromash’ which included the music of Michel Le Grand, Astor Piazola and Edith Piaf in collaboration with Jazz composer and musician Mark Simeon Ferguson.
Film and television credits include Rewind (presenter), Travelling Light (Dawnie), The Front Bar, The Eye (Festival Shorts: Best Actress), and with guest roles on McCleod’s Daughters and multiple television commercials, including Woolworths, Coles and spokesperson for the Open Universities TVC series. Johanna’s album, Calling Card, is a collection of jazz standards, covers and originals created in collaboration with is available on iTunes.
In addition to her work as a performer, she is steadily gaining credits as a writer, producer and director. She has worked across artistic programming, and as a creative producer, vocal coach, cultural curator and Artistic Director. Previous positions include: Casting Producer The Voice Shine Television, Creative Producer Powerhouse Youth Theatre, and she has produced work for major Australian companies including Carclew Youth Arts, Australian Theatre for Young People, Ensemble New York, and New York Music Theatre Festival.
Her most recent directing credit was ‘Homage to the Maj’ for the Adelaide Festival Centre in 2018 as a farewell to the theatre prior to renovations, starring Meow Meow, Tim Rodgers, Rob Mills and Accordion to Hans. She is concept creator of a new television series based on the ‘New Australian Songbook’. This show explores Australian identity and the concept of home, in collaboration with State Opera of South Australia and 57 Films.
Photo by Alex Vaughan