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Interview: The Beauty Queen of Leenane - A Dark Comedy Unveiling Toxic Relationships

CEO Tinh Phung
Bill Purdy: Making His Mark as the Director of Chatham Playhouse Main Stage “The Beauty Queen of Leenane” by Martin McDonagh is set to captivate audiences at The Chatham Playhouse from March 1 - 16,...

Interview: Bill Purdy of THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF LEENANE at Chatham Playhouse Bill Purdy: Making His Mark as the Director of Chatham Playhouse Main Stage

“The Beauty Queen of Leenane” by Martin McDonagh is set to captivate audiences at The Chatham Playhouse from March 1 - 16, 2024. This dark comedy, centered around a toxic mother/daughter relationship, is a desperate tale of emotions amidst the breathtaking mountains and landscapes of western Ireland. We had the privilege of interviewing Director Bill Purdy and gaining insight into his involvement in theater as well as his passion for this show.

About Bill Purdy and His Journey in Theater

Bill Purdy's journey in community theater began in 1985 when he took part in Chatham's rendition of "Jesus Christ Superstar." After 39 years, he returns to Chatham Playhouse, this time making his directorial debut with "The Beauty Queen of Leenane." Throughout his career, Purdy has explored various aspects of theater, immersing himself in tasks both on and offstage. His previous directing credits include "The Revlon Girl." Furthermore, Purdy's passion for theater extends beyond his local involvement, as he regularly embarks on theater marathons in London.

The Allure of "The Beauty Queen of Leenane"

Bill Purdy's decision to direct "The Beauty Queen of Leenane" was inspired by his first experience of the show at Stepppenwolf in Chicago in 1999. Since then, he has grown fond of Martin McDonagh's twisted narratives. However, the allure of this particular play goes beyond its captivating storyline. Having traveled to Leenane, a small farming village in Ireland, Purdy fell in love with its picturesque charm. With a population of only 200, the town boasts a grocery store/post office, a blacksmith, and two pubs. When asked about the necessity of two pubs, an older local replied, "Where would you go if you got thrown out of one?" This glimpse into the essence of Leenane solidified Purdy's desire to bring this Irish story to life.

Enthralling Audiences with a Taste of Ireland

As audiences gather for "The Beauty Queen of Leenane," Bill Purdy hopes to transport them to the enchanting landscapes of Ireland. He promises a roller coaster ride of emotions, with moments of laughter, love, and horror intertwined within the narrative. The play is scheduled to run on March 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, and 16, with additional matinee performances on March 10. You can catch this captivating production at the Chatham Playhouse, located at 23 North Passaic Avenue in Chatham. Tickets can be purchased online through the Chatham Players website, with online ticket pre-sale prices starting at $27 for adults and $24 for seniors/students. In-person ticket purchases on the day of the show will be $30 for adults and $27 for seniors/students. For those eager to delve deeper into the production, there will be a Talk Back session led by Susan Speidel immediately following the matinee on March 10, providing an opportunity to meet the cast and crew.

Don't miss the chance to experience the spellbinding performance of "The Beauty Queen of Leenane" at Chatham Playhouse. Let yourself be transported to the breathtaking landscapes of Ireland, where toxic relationships intertwine with dark humor, creating a truly unforgettable theatrical experience.


  • Elissa Strell as Maureen
  • Sharon Garry as Mag
  • Peter Corley as Ray

Production Team:

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

Photo by Dawn Macri