Remembering Allen Crossett

It is with great sadness that Trilogy Repertory shares the news of the passing of Allen Crossett, one of our founders.

David Allen Crossett, a loving husband, father, grandfather and brother, passed away peacefully at his home in Hackettstown on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023, at the age of 82.

Allen was born in Jamestown, NY, and grew up in Warren, PA. He completed his undergraduate studies at Upsala College in East Orange, where he majored in psychology and made the Dean’s List. After a brief exploration into the corporate world in Manhattan, Allen returned to academia, earning his master of arts degree in teaching (MAT) at Trenton State College, now the College of New Jersey, and later a Ph.D. in drama, now performance studies, at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

In 1967, Allen joined the faculty at Ridge High School in Basking Ridge, where for 30 years he was a member of the English Department. New Jersey Gov. Thomas Kean recognized Allen for his “outstanding teaching,” and New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman recognized him for “setting a standard of excellence” and for creating a program at Ridge High School that encouraged student service to the community.

Allen pursued a lifelong passion in theater. As a child, he wrote, directed, and produced with his sister short plays that were presented to family and friends on a makeshift stage assembled in the basement of their home. During his first year at Ridge High, he was asked to direct the annual spring musical, an assignment that established a winning collaboration with producer and musical director Norris Birnbaum. The two worked together for many years, not only on spring musicals but also producing and directing productions of the Ridge Summer Theater.

Allen also directed community theater, and his work was featured at Chester’s Black River Playhouse, the New Theater in Bernardsville, and the Foothill Play House in Middlesex. At the same time, he and two former students, Anne Lambertson and Reid Conrad, together created Trilogy Repertory, a community theater in Basking Ridge. He later founded the Peapack Players, a community theater that staged “Our Town” and other plays at the Peapack Reformed Church. Allen wrote “Ten Thousand Days,” a one-act play staged by Trilogy Repertory, which was selected by the New Jersey Play Festival to represent the Garden State in regional competition in Washington, D.C.

He and his beloved wife of 58 years, Dorothy (Sandell) Crossett, loved to travel, an interest that started with their honeymoon to Scandanavia. Allen is survived by his wife, Dorothy; his daughter Laura Ellen Crossett of Costa Mesa, Calif.; his daughter Jennifer Ann Crossett of Denver, Colo.; and his two grandsons, Finn Allen Murry and William Joseph Murry of Denver. He is also survived by his sister, novelist Susan Crossett Dilks of Cassadaga, N.Y. A service celebrating Allen’s life will take place at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 23, at the Peapack Reformed Church, 224 Main St., Gladstone, with a reception following. In lieu of flowers, Allen’s family requests donations to Trilogy Repertory, P.O. Box 199, Basking Ridge, N.J., 07920.

A more complete obituary can be found in the Bernardsville News.