The theater bug bit Greg McCormick Allen at age thirteen and he has never looked back.
“It was 1985,” he recalled, “and they were doing a casting call for boys who could tap at Civic Light Opera (now known as Seattle Musical Theatre). My dance teacher told me about it.”
Since then, Allen’s tapping toes, broad comic talents, singing, and other abilities have kept him busy in Northwest productions. His appearance as Patsy the peasant trailing King Arthur in Monty Python's Spamalot at the 5th Avenue Theatre marks 100 productions overall including 22 at that theater.
“I do have a list on the computer to keep track,” Allen admits.
Having that much experience in local productions means that a show like Spamalot, with an all Seattle cast, becomes something of reunion with friends too.
“There isn’t anyone in the show that I haven’t worked with before,” he said. “The only hard part is not laughing on stage. During rehearsals, there’s always one scene where we dissolve into fits of laughter. There’s flying cows, killer rabbits, those French knights…”
Becoming a professional performer was an easy career choice for Allen. “After high school, I went to Tacoma Community College, worked to pay my bills, and acted at night,” he said. When the schedule got too tight, he realized that what he enjoyed most was the acting and he needed to keep working to pay the rent, “so college went.” And Allen started pursuing as many paying gigs as an actor as he could find.
“I opted for on-the-job training,” he added with a smile.
These days, the 42-year-old actor suggests to anyone pursuing the profession in Seattle “don’t pigeonhole yourself. The more talents that you can get under your belt, the better.”
As for Allen’s original tapping skill, that still comes in handy.
“At the 5th, they will try to work in some tapping for me,” he said. Which is why in this Spamalot, Patsy not only follows King Arthur with clop-clopping coconut shells, he gets a little dance routine too.