Book Jenny

Laugh with Me: A Lighthearted Look at What We Find Funny, and Why

Jenny takes audiences on an hour long delightful humor tour, explaining why laughter is both universal (even rats do it) and personal, timeless and ephemeral.  With quotes from Chris Rock to Mike Nichols to the Dalai Lama,  she offers plenty to laugh at–and shows that humor is vital to our very existence.

If you would like to book Jenny for this talk, please click here.


I Got Sick Then I Got Better

If you are interested in sharing I GOT SICK THEN I GOT BETTER with your community, school, university, college, support group or hospital, please contact Ben Izzo, Jenny’s agent. Ben Brantley, writing for The New York Timescalled the show “embraceable” and wrote: “Ms. Allen speaks with passion and precision…” Read the full review.

I Got Sick Then I Got Better has been seen at New York Theatre Workshop, New York City; Long Wharf Theatre, New Haven, Connecticut; Barrington Stage Company, Pittsfield, Massachusetts; Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater, Wellfleet, Massachusetts; Robeson Center for the Arts, Princeton, New Jersey; Lifeline Theatre’sFillet of Solo Festival, Chicago, Illinois; Arts on the Lake, Kent, New York; Hudson Opera House, Hudson, New York.

Ms. Allen has also performed at hospitals, universities, and cancer conferences, including the Institute for Healthcare Improvement‘s 22nd Annual Conference, Orlando;Adelphi NY Statewide Breast Cancer Hotline & Support Program, Adelphi University; Alliance for Arts & Health New JerseyMemorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York City; Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, Washington, D.C.; The Canary Foundation, Menlo Park, California; and the Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina.

“Embraceable…Ms. Allen speaks with passion and precision.” —Ben Brantley, The New York Times
“Charming…stirring…” —Associated Press
“Excellent…completely disarming…It’s Allen’s luminous yet down-to-earth performance that will rightly linger in the minds of theatergoers.” —Theater Mania

More Raves:

The New York Times (Ben Brantley), TheaterMania, Associated PressThe New York Post, & Time Out New York.

About the Show:

I Got Sick Then I Got Better is a comic riff on one woman’s adventures after falling down the medical rabbit hole. Diagnosed with and treated for ovarian cancer in 2005, writer and performer Jenny Allen (The New Yorker, The New York Times) tells her story of the harrowing tailspin she took following her diagnosis, combining biting humor with searing emotion in a witty, bittersweet monologue that limns the personal and family collateral damage a life-threatening illness brings.


Susan Vermazen, the Boston Globe
Eric Konigsburg, The New York Times



Headshot by Jayne Wexler  high-res version (TIFF)

Photo by Chad Batka high-res version (JPG)


Written and Performed by Jenny Allen
Directed by James Lapine & Darren Katz

Jenny Allen (Writer & Performer)
Ms. Allen’s essays and articles have appeared for years in many magazines, including The New Yorker, The New York Times, New York Magazine, Vogue, Esquire, More, Huffington Post and Good Housekeeping. Recent essays appear in “Disquiet, Please!” a new anthology of humor pieces from the New Yorker, and in In The Fullness of Time: 32 Women on Life After 50 (Simon & Schuster). She is the author of a book of fables for grown-ups called The Long Chalkboard, illustrated by her husband, Jules Feiffer. She produces and performs stand-up comedy evenings in Manhattan, has appeared in Spalding Grey: Stories Left to Tell, and is a participating storyteller for The Moth. I Got Sick Then I Got Better was first performed on Martha’s Vineyard in the summer of 2007; director James Lapine then collaborated with Allen and with Darren Katz on shaping and expanding the material. New York Theatre Workshop produced the show in 2009, extending it three times. I Got Sick Then I Got Better has been seen in theaters, hospitals, universities and at cancer conferences around the country. Ms. Allen received the 2010 “It’s Always Something” award from Gilda’s Club NYC. She has two children, Halley, an actress, and Julie, a high school student, as well as a stepdaughter, Kate. For a calendar of future performances, and for booking inquiries, visit

James Lapine (Director)
James Lapine is both a playwright and a director. Mr. Lapine is perhaps best known for his collaborations as librettist and director with Stephen Sondheim: Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods, and Passion. With William Finn he collaborated on March of the Falsettos and Falsettoland, later presented on Broadway as Falsettos. Other Broadway credits include: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Michel Legrand’s Amour, the revival of The Diary of Anne Frank, David Henry Hwang’s Golden Child, and his collaboration at New York Theatre Workshop with Claudia Shear, Dirty Blonde. He has written the plays Table Settings; Twelve Dreams; Luck, Pluck and Virtue; The Moment When; and Fran’s Bed. For the NY Shakespeare Festival, Mr. Lapine directed A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Winter’s Tale, and King Lear. He has directed the films Impromptu, Life with Mikey and Earthly Possessions, as well as the television productions of Into the Woods and Passion.

Darren Katz (Director)
Darren is currently the Resident Director for The Lion King on Broadway. Other recent directing credits include: The 25th Annual Putnum County Spelling Bee (National Tour); Happy Sunshine Kung Fu Flower (Zipper Factory); workshops of The Wasp Woman by Blake Hackler and Phillip Chernyak, Falling by Hyeyoung Kim and Dina Gregory, and A Day with A Thousand Faces by Tarik Davis; readings of Grand Delusion by David Rock and How To Make Friends and then Kill Them by Halley Feiffer (Second Stage). In development: The Henry Darger Project (NYU): Sunrise at Hyde Park; and a newly commissioned piece derived from the socialist movie musicals revealed in the documentary East Side Story. Darren was the Resident Director for James Lapine on the Broadway production of Spelling Bee; Associate Director for the San Francisco/Boston and the first national touring productions; Associate Director for Kathy Najimy on Back to Bacharach and David in Los Angeles. As Assistant Director he has worked with Michael Blakemore, Scott Ellis, Lois Weaver and Holly Hughes.

Shortened Synopsis:

Jenny Allen’s I Got Sick Then I Got Better is a comic riff on one woman’s adventures after falling down the medical rabbit hole.

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