My name is James Sullivan, and I am the playwright of Ellen's Boys which began its journey six years ago as a play titled Closet Queen. It was a comedy set in the present day, about a middle-aged son Gil, who lives with, and is coming out to, his Irish Catholic immigrant mother, Ellen. During the writing of Closet Queen, the character of Ellen came through more than any of the other characters. On the second draft of Closet Queen, the characters of Ellen, Gil, and Ellen's other children, John, a Priest, Kathleen, a married mother of two sons, Michael, a new Army recruit, Nathan, Gil's lover, Tina, Michael's fiancée, Bridgie, Ellen's widow sister, and ten-year-old boy, Patrick, came through clearly and guided me in my writing renaming the play Ellen's Boys. As a playwright, this was the first time my characters spoke through me so deeply that I was moved to laughter and tears.
Once a few more drafts were completed, I searched for a theater company to produce it. True Rep, a theater in Kingston, Mass, was producing a playwriting festival. As an acting member of True Rep, I submitted the play. Donald Sheehan, Artistic Director for True Rep, after reading the play asked if his company could stage a full production. I was honored when the play was cast, and six performances were staged in March of 2022..
The audience response in ticket sales and to the play itself and the actors was overwhelming. Actors Victoria Bond as Ellen, Donald Sheehan as Gil, Paul Noonan as John, and Julie Butler as Kathleen, are so much a part of Ellen's Boys I cannot see anyone else playing them. It was also directed lovingly and carefully by Donald Sheehan. As a result, Ellen's Boys was nominated for a Broadway World Award as Best New Play.
We will be performing Ellen’s Boys at the Irish Cultural Centre on Saturday, Nov. 18. This is a wonderful opportunity to come and see the show and get an idea if it is a production with which you would like to be involved. I am excited at the prospect of Ellen’s Boys reaching a wider audience. Please reach out if you are interested in working with us.