25-year-old Newfoundlander Jeff Sullivan is living the dream, building a career in theatre abroad
Born and bred in Newfoundland and Labrador, Jeff Sullivan isn’t your typical 25-year-old. With more ambition and career milestones than most, this blue-eyed Broadway boy has earned his place in the spotlight, with some well deserved bragging rights.
Originally from Bauline, the triple threat entertainer began exercising his vocal chords at Holy Trinity Elementary.
The Coolest Kid
“They had a choir program from kindergarten, and it was mandatory. Around fourth grade, you were given the option to opt-out, or opt-in,” Sullivan explained in an exclusive interview with The Newfoundland Herald.
“I was looking around my entire class and I was like hm, all the cool kids are opting out. I don’t wanna be in choir anymore, this is stupid, clearly delving into peer pressure. I was about to say no, and the music teacher was like Jeff? Great! You’re in choir! She skipped over me. I was so shy, I didn’t have the nerve to contradict her,” he laughed.
If it wasn’t for Mrs. Noreen Greene-Fraize, and his mother who sang with the church choir in Pouch Cove, he wouldn’t have found a hidden enthusiasm for the arts. He later transferred schools, relocating his talent to Mount Pearl where he joined the Mount Pearl Show Choir.
Sullivan is quick to thank his Newfoundland roots and his upbringing for being where he is today.
“Newfoundlanders all kind of have a musical bone in their body, because we’re all like folklore storytellers in one way, shape or form. We either tell stories or we play instruments. We love music,” Sullivan shared proudly.
“My parents were really supportive. They put me in everything from hockey or gymnastics, to soccer or singing lessons, because it gave me a choice. So many people these days are like, oh you’re a boy? Well, there’s sports. I was just so amazed by my family. It’s always misconstrued. I just think that was an eye-opener for me, there was no limit. There was no gender appropriateness for what activities my parents put myself and my brothers in, it was inclusive. I always loved that, it’s the best way to live your life.”
“I had planned to be a doctor, I was going to go to med school. I then realized there was actually a school you could go to and get a degree in musical theatre,” Sullivan admitted.
He headed down to New York City to attend a two year conservatory program at New York Film Academy, which gained him an American work visa upon graduating.
His journey into a life of professional theatre began at Surflight Theatre in New Jersey, where he performed in The Boy Friend, George M!, South Pacific, and Les Misérables. This was quickly followed by scoring a role in Oliver! with the Tony Award Winning Paper Mill Playhouse.
One of Sullivan’s most impressive gigs to date was performing with the Beauty and the Beast International Tour, which had an abundance of worldwide stops including Egypt, Thailand, and Singapore, just to name a few.
“Following Beauty and the Beast, I went on tour on the west coast, and that was really fun. I was thrown into it, I had to learn the show in 24 hours. It was the most fun I think I’ve ever had,” Sullivan shared. After that, I got a call for Tuacahn Amphitheater in Utah. They were doing the Hunchback of Notre Dame, Tarzan, and Peter Pan. We rotated shows for six months. Then I went out for West Side Story, the International Tour, so we did that one for about four months. I went back to New York City after that and chilled out for a bit.”
Jeff Sullivan has conquered an impressively long list of accomplishments, and there’s no sign of him slowing down anytime soon.
He’s currently working on the Oasis of the Seas cruise ship with Royal Caribbean, performing a lead role in Cats. With only three months left on his contract, what’s next?
“Everything is up in the air, which is kind of exciting. I’m about to apply for my next US work visa to return to New York, and build more of a stable life. I’d like to start going in for more Broadway things, that’s the next step for me, to get something more permanent and start creating a life. Something more stable and reliable, instead of always having to pack up and live my best gypsy life all of the time. The goal is to become stable, in New York City, and create a life.”
For more information on Jeff Sullivan and upcoming performances around the world; visit www.jeff-sullivan.com