John Donald O'Shea

John Donald O'Shea
John Donald O'Shea is the author of three plays published with Brooklyn Publishers, and fifteen other plays, published with the publishers listed below.

He is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the Notre Dame Law School. He served in the United States Naval Reserve, reaching the rank of Lt. Commander. He served as an Assistant States Attorney for Rock Island County, IL, and as Corporation Counsel for the City of Moline, IL.

In 1974, he was elected as a Circuit Judge for the Fourteen Judicial Circuit of Illinois, he retired in January of 2000 after serving twenty six years on the bench.

Don has been active in community theater since 1967, as an actor, singer, director, producer and playwright. Among his memoriable roles have been Bud Frump in How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying, Lun Tha in The King and I, Tommy Albrecht in Brigadoon, The Minstrel in Once Upon a Mattress, Andrew Carnes in Oklahoma, Nanki-Poo and later The Mikado in The Mikado, The Sergeant of Police in the Pirates of Penzance, Strephon in Iolanthe, Bunthorne in Patience, The Defendant in Trial by Jury, The Thief in The Old Maid and the Thief, Grandpa Profitter in Meet Me in St. Louis, Fr. O'Reilly in Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up? The King in Cinderella, Bellomy in the Fantasticks! Shelby Carpenter in Laura, Winston Garland in Generation, Dick in Play it Again, Sam, Capt. Warrington in Little Mary Sunshine, Pilate in Jesus Christ Superstar, Christopher in Shadowlands, T. J. Lathrop in Any Number Can Die, Mr. Hasssler in The Pajama Game, Capt. Brackett in South Pacific, Byron in Said the Spider to the Spy, Cogburn in Out of Sight, Out of Murder, King Darius in The Persians, Peleus in Andromache, Sowerberry in Oliver, The Wizard in Once Upon a Mattress, Bud the Stud in Sex Please, We're Sixty, Warnock Wagrave in The Nerd, Dr. Emmett in The Curious Savage, Hightower in the Curse of the Aching Heart, Rev. Brown in Inherit the Wind, and General Mackenzie in And Then There Were None, Henry Potter in Miracle at Bedford Falls, and Pastor Hopkins in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.

Since retirement from the bench, he has directed plays at Alleman High School, Edison Jr. High School, and Jordan Junior High in Rock Island, IL, at Seton Jr. High in Moline, IL and at Sherrard High School, in Sherrard, IL.

Don has also directed community theater at the Quad City Music Guild, and for the Riversong Players, and served as Producer for the Music Guild's 2009 spring show, The Producers. He served as Director for the Music Guild's 2009 winter show, Babes in Toyland, which featured his own libretto and lyrics as well as the music of Victor Herbert. Don has also directed for the Richmond Hill Players (2015, 2016 and 2017) in Geneseo, IL and will do so again the fall of 2018.

Don is also a paid political op ed writer for the Moline Dispatch and Rock Island Argus newspapers, where his opinion pieces appear thrice each month.

Don has written an published three books. All can be found at

The first is You Don't Want to Be a Stockbroker! ... Go to Law School Be a Lawyer! It is a book about American Constitutional Law, and Criminal Law and Procedure.

The second is called Memories of the Grea Depression ... a Time Forgotten. I contains 30 first-hand recollections of people who lived through those days.

The third is Abortion - The Right to Be Wrong. It is a collection of Don's published op eds on the subject of abortion.


List of Published Plays: (In addition to the plays published by Brooklyn Publishing)

With Theatrefolk:

Nell and the Mortgage Foreclosure.

The First Herald Angel.

The Revolting Cheerleaders.

With Big Dog Publishing:

Death Warrant for Dracula.

The Stuffed Animal.

The Case of the Music Guild Murders.

The Day Ma's Boys Done Went To Town to Rob the Bank,Again.

Ginzberg's Irish Wake.

The Day that Dangerous Dan McGrew and Black Bart Balderdash Went to Dueling at Miss Kitty's Golden Nugget Saloon.

Rogues Along the River.

Babes in Toyland.

Sherlock Holmes and the Wolf Family Caper.

With Drama Source:

Buyer Beware, Darling?

The Quit Claimed Ghost of the Old Viola Opera House.

The Christmas Reindeer.



Web site of John Donald O'Shea:

For Don's latest plays, see:


Plays by John Donald O'Shea with Brooklyn Publishers:
Fax: 319-368-8011
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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52406
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