Interview: Bill Purdy of THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF LEENANE at Chatham Playhouse

Interview: Bill Purdy of THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF LEENANE at Chatham Playhouse

By: Mar. 08, 2024
Interview: Bill Purdy of THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF LEENANE at Chatham Playhouse
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Interview: Bill Purdy of THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF LEENANE at Chatham Playhouse Chatham Playhouse presents The Chatham Community Players will present “The Beauty Queen of Leenane” by Martin McDonagh from March 1 – 16, 2024 at The Chatham Playhouse 23 North Passaic Ave. Chatham. Bill Purdy of Riverdale is making his Chatham Playhouse Main Stage directorial debut.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Director Bill Purdy.

Please tell us about yourself/your involvement in theater.

My involvement with community theatre began in 1985 when I was a member of the ensemble in Chatham’s “Jesus Christ Superstar.” I’m returning to Chatham 39 years later to direct “The Beauty Queen of Leenane. During those years I’ve done just about every task associated with theatre- onstage, backstage, administration, etc. previous directing credits include “The Revlon Girl.” 

I travel to London once or twice a year to do theatre marathons. 


Please tell us about the The Beauty Queen of Leenane.

The Beauty Queen of Leenane is a dark comedy about a toxic mother/daughter relationship. Written by the incredible Martin McDonagh, it’s a desperate story set amid the beautiful mountains and landscape of western Ireland. 

What inspired you to want to direct this show? 

I first saw the show at Stepppenwolf in Chicago in 1999, a few years after its premieres in Galway and Broadway. The play is a roller coaster ride of emotions. Since then I’ve enjoyed all of McDonaghs twisted stories. The Beauty Queen of Leenane also attracted me because it’s an Irish story. I’ve traveled to Leenane and it is indeed beautiful. Leenane is a small farming village with a population of around 200. The village center consists of a grocery store/post office, a blacksmith, and two pubs. On my first visit, i asked an older man at the bar why a small town needed two pubs. He looked at me and said, “Where would you go if you got thrown out of one?”


What do you hope audiences take away from the show?

A little taste of Ireland, a great story, and a roller coaster ride of emotions- laughter, love, and horror. 

Performance dates are March 1, 2, 8, 9, 15 & 16 at 8:00PM and March 10 at 3:00PM. All performances are at the Chatham Playhouse, 23 North Passaic Avenue, in Chatham. Online Ticket Presale is $27 for Adults & $24 for Seniors/Students with In-person Purchase Day of the Show is $30 for Adults & $27 for Seniors/Students. There will be a Talk Back led by Susan Speidel about the production and the opportunity to meet members of the company, immediately following the matinee on March 10. 

Tickets can be purchased online by at https://www.chathamplayers.org/. Purchasing tickets in person at Chatham Playhouse's box office will begin on February 20. For information regarding box office hours, please call the box office number at (973) 635-7363. Patrons with special needs requiring seating accommodations should contact the Playhouse at least 24 hours prior to the performance. Without prior notice, accommodations cannot be guaranteed.  

Cast: Elissa Strell as Maureen, Sharon Garry as Mag, Peter Corley as Ray

Producer is Jessica Phelan, Stage Manager is Eileen Cadorette, Co-Scenic Designers are Roy Pancirov and Ed Whitman, Costumes by Melanie Rajpal, Co-Lighting Designers are Ed Whitman and Roy Pancirov, Sound Designer is Joe DeVico, Scenic Artist is Joëlle Bochner, Props & Set Decoration by Carol Saso, Corina Lupp and Brian Gutierrez, Intimacy Coordinator is Katie Toledo and Fight Choreographer is Steve Ruskin. 

Photo by Dawn Macri




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