About Me

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Toronto, Ontario, Canada
A long-time Toronto-area Actor and Singer, Jeff Madden is now focusing on Teaching acting and singing in the GTA. Jeff starred as "Frankie Valli" in both the Toronto and Australian productions of JERSEY BOYS, winning the DORA award for outstanding performance in a musical by a male actor. Jeff is busy back at school, getting his MEd at U of T's OISE.

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Year in Review

As I type away this December morning, flakes of snow steadily fall onto our back deck, putting me in a suitably reflective mood. It is the perfect setting for the occasion... looking back, and looking forward.

2007 was a banner year for my family and I. Sydney grew from an infant to a toddler to a little girl right before our eyes. She now has 10 teeth, weighs 20 pounds, and has started calling Christine “Mamma”. She also throws and kicks everything in sight, recites poetry, does woodwork, and plays the english horn. Left-handed. Quite a fascinating child, really.

There was a great family Christmas get-together in Windsor a few weeks back, there was Sydney's first Halloween and Birthday parties, her first trip to the hospital, and her first scary high fever. Lots of milestones.

In August, we said goodbye to the “Grounds” at Sis’s place and moved all our belongings from her tiny rental cottage into our great new house.To my delight, we still have about 25 boxes of crap in the basement to sort through, but the upstairs in looking sharp. Needless to say, we love our place, love the location, and hope to settle down here for a good many years.

What else? Oh Yeah, I released my debut CD “Taking the Wheel”, I performed in Mack and Mabel 124 times (I wish I was kidding), and I premiered the first new Canadian musical at the Shaw Festival, (Tristan), receiving great notices for each. Artistically speaking, it was a wonderful year.By the way, the CD would make a great last minute Christmas gift, for all you music lovers out there... stocking stuffer... drink coaster... is this thing on?... hello ... anybody ... Bueller ... go to www.jeffmadden.ca ... ugh.

Christine returned to work after her year of maternity leave to begin a new position in the Niagara region, with new teammates and new clients, and did it all with her usual class and style. She’s now calling on Pediatricians, funnily enough, and is focused on promoting a treatment for attention deficit disorder.

And to top it all off, she is now 24 weeks pregnant with what I’m told will be our second daughter. Oh, for all you poolies out there, Vegas is laying 5-2 odds. Get your names and due dates in now for the pool... winner take all. And, I’m sorry, but Sausage is already taken (Thanks, Alison). You’ll have to choose another name. By the way, the baby is due mid-to-late March.

So, what’s next on the agenda? November 12th marked our five year wedding anniversary, and since we got married on a Caribbean cruise, we decided to celebrate the same way! Yes, this Sunday morning we are flying to Fort Lauderdale and boarding the Millennium, a Celebrity Cruise ship headed for the Eastern Caribbean.We’ll be joined there by both my parents and Christine’s parents, just like our wedding cruise, as well as her brother Markus. This will be Sydney’s first flight (uh oh), and of course, her first cruise, but judging from how well she handled bungee jumping and hang-gliding, she should be just fine. Oh, we’re stopping in Puerto Rico, British Virgin Islands, Dominican Republic, and Haiti for those who want to follow on Google Earth or something. Once back in Fort Lauderdale, we’ll drive to North Port, near Sarasota to spend a couple weeks of R + R at a home owned by Christine’s grandparents. We’ll be back to the bitter cold in early January.

That’s all the news that’s fit to print. From the bottom of our hearts, Christine and I wish everyone a truly happy holidays. Raise a glass to a fabulous 2007 and a great 2008! Cheers, everyone.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Back at Shaw

I can now officially report that I will be back at the Shaw Festival next year, for what will be my eighth consecutive season. I begin rehearsals on February 18th (an early start), and will end my run October 5th (three weeks sooner than normal). And, if you like musicals, and if you like seeing your man Jeffy in them, Oh Boy, you are in luck! Next year I might be in three of them!!!

Wonderful Town is the big show on the Festival Theatre stage, previewing April 1st, opening May 24th and running till October 5th. This is a zippy, entertaining, old fashioned musical comedy, which concerns the fates of two sisters from small town USA arriving in New York City to pursue their dreams. It’s based on the novel and film “My Sister Eileen” and features a score by Leonard Bernstein. I’m playing Eileen. Well, not really. I have a nice little part though, Frank, a sweet young guy smitten with one of the leads (Yes, for those of you keeping score, I was Frank in last year’s show too, a sweet young guy smitten with one of the leads... but I digress...) By the way, on the left of that photo, that really blurry guy is me. It took a lot of prep to find my inner blur, you know.

A Little Night Music is the smaller show on the Courthouse Stage, previewing June 1st, opening July 4th, and running till October 4th. This beautifully artistic show concerns the fates of three mismatched couples weekending in the country under Sweden’s mysterious Midnight Sun. Based on Ingmar Bergman’s film, this is one of Stephen Sondheim’s greatest shows. I have an interesting part, playing one of five story-teller chorus members, facilitating and commenting on the story through song. (Ok, I’m a chorus boy. Whatever. Moving on...)

And speaking of Sondheim, the Shaw is presenting another of his shows, Follies: In Concert, for only four performances August 29th, September 12th , 27th and October 4th. I may be involved in this one too, if I have any voice left. More info on that show to come.

All of this means, I will be rehearsing virtually the entire season. Hooray!!! What, and quit showbiz??? I'm Taking the Wheel, after all. Check the Shaw's great website for tonnes of useful information... www.shawfest.com

Saturday, December 8, 2007

What I'm Watching

Greetings and Salutations. This just in - it’s freaking cold! Winter is here, and with it, a new blog post to fill you in on some of what’s happening in my life.

One of the good things about being between gigs is that I get to see more shows. In the past few weeks, I’ve seen three big musicals in Toronto, and a handful of movies too. I find that seeing other people’s work helps me define what I like best about my work. Sometimes, it’s a fun few hours of entertainment. But other times it can make me think, and even inspire me to work harder at my craft.

First off, I took Christine to see Dirty Dancing for our 5th Anniversary. The movie made a big impact on both of us - come on, we were only 13! - so we were both excited to see the musical based on it. However, we were both disappointed with the result. It’s not a musical in the traditional sense of the word. What it was, was a very literal translation of the movie script onstage. Which is fine, I guess, but it was very slow moving, way too long show and took itself way too seriously. My eyes got sore from rolling so much. I wanted to shout at the writer and director, “We want to see them having fun! Dancing more! Singing more! Zip it along, people! It ain’t Shakespeare!” Anyhoo, if you REALLY love the movie, this is the show for you!

Next up, I saw the John Doyle’s touring version of Sweeney Todd. Sweeney is one of my all-time favorite shows, due to its intensely powerful score, incredibly clever lyrics, and well, it’s overwhelming Evilness. In this version, the actors literally ARE the orchestra. Which is an interesting gimmick on the one hand, and certainly peaked my interest. But, also, it’s one hell of a challenge to cast it. What was lost in pure volume and power of the acting and score was made up for in ingenuity of concept and design. Overall, I’m glad I bought my ticket. Just to see this show live, and performed by such multi-talented artists was inspiring. But, I still crave to see this show done more traditionally, where the full power of its story forces you to succumb to Sweeney’s charms.

Lastly, I took in Little Shop of Horrors at Canstage. This is a quirky show to say the least -- not many musicals feature a talking and singing plant, let alone one that eats people. I first saw the movie of Little Shop featuring Canadian Rick Moranis way back in the 80s, and have had a mini-crush on the show ever since. This was the first time I’d seen it live, and was surprised at how many tuneful songs came back to me upon hearing just the first few bars. Soulful pop sounds filled the air, and the cast grew on me as the show went on. It was a bit uneven, overall, but still an enjoyable night out at the theatre.

I’ve also caught a few movies over the last month. I would say 80% of the movies I see in a year are between November and February. That’s when I’m most often free, but it’s also when the best movies of the year are released, with the studios all vying for Oscar votes. These days when I see a good movie I get a very strong urge to act in front of the camera more. It was always a plan of mine to act in film and television as well as theatre, but things have worked out so well with Shaw that there is very little time to do anything else! The drive is still there, though...

Lions for Lambs features great actors and a bad script. Doesn’t matter how great the actors are - and Robert Redford and Meryl Streep are great - if the script sounds like it was written by a high school political science student, the movie ain’t gonna fly. I wish movies like this were better! The message is a good one, however.

Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead is much better. It’s a dark and twisted story about a dark and twisted family. It also features a great cast, especially Philip Seymour Hoffman and Marisa Tomei, but here the director and writer pull you into the story, making you think with their time-jumping and other clever techniques. It’s not for the faint of heart, however.

Gone Baby Gone is an average film, at best. It’s Ben Affleck’s directorial debut, and he does a nice job. The thing about this movie that bugged me was the ending. The last 20 minutes features a really stupid plot twist. I mean, downright ridiculous. A better ending, and this would be a very good film. Ben’s brother Casey does a nice job in the lead, as does Amy Ryan as the worst mother you’d ever want to meet.

American Gangster stars Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe. It could have been a fantastic film, but is merely very good. These two guys are kept apart for most of the movie, as you’re drawn in to the good guy- bad guy aspect of the story. But when finally they meet, there are few fireworks to push us towards a less than great finish. But seeing these two stars at the top of their game was definitely worth the price of admission.

OK, everybody, now it’s your turn. If you have seen any of the above shows/movies and want to add your two cents, go for it! Use the Comment icon below to leave it here, or e-mail me and I’ll post your comments on the blog. Or, if there are other great shows you’ve seen and recommend, write about those instead. Oh, the fun we’ll have on these cold winter nights! Until next time, Cheers.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

My West Side Story - Part 2

I had a good night’s sleep and felt great about what was to come today, Thursday November 8, 2007: in the afternoon, the final dress rehearsal for the understudy ballet dancers, and then Opening Night, baby!

So what did I do in the morning before my big day? I gots ma hairs done, of course! As I’m walking out of the salon feeling all sexy-like, I notice I have a new message on my cell phone. When I realize it’s from our esteemed Conductor David Briskin, I stop dead in my tracks. In his gentle voice, he calmly tells me to get my butt to the theatre ASAP because the Director has decided to have me sing my solo up on-stage!

I kinda freak out -- It’s great news... but it’s Opening Night for God’s Sake! The director wants me ON-STAGE? NOW??? After all the rehearsals, the sound-checks, the headphone-level checks, getting used to the sound in the pit (where I was READING my score, off my MUSIC STAND) now I have to perform it in front of 2000 people, memorized, at the new state-of-the-art Opera House, and make it look like I’ve been rehearsing it like that for weeks! No problem, right? He couldn’t have thought of this idea, oh, I don’t know, YESTERDAY??? Or maybe earlier in the week after one of our run-throughs? The odd thing about it is, the only other time this ballet has been performed in the world - in New York City in 1996 - at the same director’s ballet company, the singer was on-stage! It might have occurred to him, oh, I don’t know ... 10 years ago!!! But apparently not. Oh well, at least my hair would look good... But I digress...

So, I arrive at the the final dress rehearsal just before the beginning of “Glass Pieces”, and quickly warm up in my dressing room. 15-minutes later, during the first intermission, I get hooked up with a body-mic, and we try to squeeze in a sound check before Act 2 starts. I have to say, it did not go well. While I’m singing, I try to figure out what I’m hearing. Unfortunately I find the sound from the stage WAY different than from the pit. My voice was ringing around the hall so much that I lost track of the orchestra now beneath me. I forgot my lyrics, I lost my pitch, and got off the beat. YIKES. We stop. The sound guys, the conductor and I chat about it for a minute, and they make a few adjustments. We begin again, but we are stopped halfway through the song. Time was up. They were on a tight schedule, and Act 2 had to start.

I walk off stage with my head spinning a bit. I started getting really nervous, thinking that maybe the sound would still be such a problem for me that I’d blow the song on Opening Night, which could seriously affect the whole show. Back in my dressing room, I keep running the lyrics over and over until Act 3 is about to start.

When I get down to the stage for the run-through of West Side, the sound guys tell me that they have boosted the orchestra in an off-stage monitor so I won’t get lost. Feeling relieved, my cue comes and I walk out there to sing it for real - my one and only crack at it before the Opening Night audience. My heart pounding, I was like a bunny in the headlights. I notice all the seats in the theatre, I see the production team sitting out there talking to one another, and to top it off the orchestra still sounds too quiet. With all these things racing through my mind, I mess up a few lyrics off the top, but somehow get through the song. Afterwards, I ask for even more orchestra in the monitor, and I was told they would do what they could for the show that night. With my solo now done and the run-through still going on, I head down to the pit to finish the show, only to find the plexi-glass walls gone from around our microphones. Ch-ch-ch-changes...

In my 10 years of theatre experience, usually by Opening Night there are zero last-minute surprises. You spend so much time in rehearsal polishing and tweaking, making things just right. You have a few preview performances to get the feel of how an audience might affect the show. Everyone’s confidence is about as high as it will be. But I could remember nothing in my past that would help me here.

I spend the break from 4:00 - 7:30pm visualizing myself singing on the stage (with the correct lyrics, of course) and convincing myself that everything will be fine. It was mind over matter. And before I knew it, it was SHOW-TIME. I was focused and confident, and ready. I love this music so much, and I wanted to prove to myself that I could overcome these obstacles, and to prove to the brilliant Mr. Briskin that he was right to hire ME, and not some other guy. The audience won’t know that I just got up on-stage that very afternoon. They expect me to knock it out of the park.

I don’t know if I knocked it out, but I certainly smashed a bases-clearing double. I did it! I was nervous all right, but somehow I nailed all the lyrics, hit all the notes, and maintained my composure. The applause carried me off-stage, and into the safety of the wings, while my arms and legs were tingling with the adrenaline of the big moment. My sound guy Greg smiles at me. “So, did you have fun?” he asked. I pause to process it all... “NO!” I said exasperated. “It was frickin' hard!”

The rest of show goes off without a hitch, and the crowd obliges with a standing ovation. Even us singers are given a bow up on-stage, and if you've ever been to the ballet, you know how long the bows can be! It was at that point when it finally sunk in. What a sense of relief and accomplishment I felt. Amazing, this job. All in a days work, I guess.

Since that first show, I have had A LOT OF FUN singing my solo on-stage, and singing the finale from the pit. It’s been a wonderful experience, a learning experience, and one that I won’t forget for a long time. Sometimes, things are NOT what they appear to be. Was it the easiest gig I have ever had? As it turns out, no freakin’ way!

"What, and quit showbiz?"

Not me.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

My West Side Story - Part 1

The day was Wednesday November 7, 2007, the day before Opening Night of "West Side Story Suite" with the National Ballet of Canada. The dancers have been preparing this ballet for months, and were very ready to bring it to an audience. And despite this being only my eighth day of rehearsal, I was ready too, mostly because I sing for a total of about four minutes in the show. Remember when I said this was the easiest gig I've ever had?

I arrived at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts (that’ll be the last time I use its full name... jeeesh) at about 11am for the beginning of rehearsal. Since the show is a mixed program made up of three short 1-act ballets, with "West Side" being Act 3, I had the chance to watch the first two ballets. Both were quite enjoyable, and considering they were all choreographed by the late Jerome Robbins, surprisingly different from one another and from West Side Story. “Glass Pieces” is a modern piece set to the minimalist music of Phillip Glass. The dancers wear bright, colourful one piece spandex suits, and move about the stage swiftly in pleasing geometric patterns and formations. It was really cool. The second act is called “In The Night” and is a romantic period piece, set to four Chopin Nocturnes, played on solo piano. In each of the first three scenes, a couple dances a pas-de-deux, and in the fourth scene, the three couples' stories surprisingly all come together. It was very beautiful. And, in an interesting coincidence, the last Nocturne in this ballet is the same nocturne featured in the musical Tristan I just finished doing at Shaw. It was a real treat to hear this beautiful piece of music in its entirety, and it brought back some warm memories of this past summer.

Then, it was our turn to put "West Side" together for the first time in the Opera House. I want to share my thoughts with you all, because it was such a new and fantastic experience. Try to picture me, sitting there in the pit of the brand new state-of-the-art Opera House in Toronto, amongst the 63-piece orchestra (YES, 63 pieces!), with a ballet happening three feet above my head. The pit is enormous, much larger than the pits I’ve ever seen, and it’s surprisingly almost completely open to the auditorium. Only the vey back of the pit is covered, and that's where we five singers were situated, dead centre. From our vantage point, not only could we see the conductor perfectly, who was on a raised platform, but we could also see about 1000 seats in the house. Yikes. I got a bit giddy, knowing that soon those seats would have bums in them, and the people that own those bums will be able to see us, too!

The sound department had set up for us a pseudo-studio (say that five times fast), complete with headphones, music stands, and plexi-glass walls from the floor to the roof (the underside of the stage). Hey, wasn’t that a Phil Collins song from the 80’s? Pss-pss-pss-pseudo-studio-ooooo... but I digress.

Next we did a sound check of the mics and monitors, taking care to make sure we can hear ourselves singing over the orchestra. Then, we started. I could barely contain myself as the orchestra tore into the Prologue. Bernstein's music is so fantastic, and here I was, right in the middle of this driving enormous orchestra, thinking 'They're actually paying me to sit here and listen to this!'. A couple minutes later however, I freak out, remembering, 'oh shit, now I have to sing!'. My solo is called “Something’s Coming” and as I'm singing it, I can hear the footsteps of our 'Tony' dancing above my head. Thankfully it goes well, and there are no sound difficulties. I have a good mix coming through my headphones, and am comfortable.

Then I sit back and relax for nearly 20 minutes and enjoy the music. “The Dance at the Gym” is unbelievable. To my immediate right is the percussion section, where four guys are banging away, laying down that infectious Mambo rhythm. I think about how my Dad would be salivating and jumping up and down right now if he were sitting with me. It is mind-blowing watching them switch between vibraphone to xylophone, from wood blocks to cowbells, from bongos to timbales, from tambourine to timpani with incredible efficiency and precision. David Briskin, the conductor and musical director is great fun to watch, too. He is a real artist, and you can see the passion he has for the music on his face as he leads the musicians through the numerous changes of keys, time signatures and feel. Later, in “Cool”, another smile comes across my face as the lead trumpet player goes crazy, blowing some impressively strong high notes. In “America”, the four female pit singers - Melissa, Loiuse, Robyn, and Gabi - sing the choruses in 3-part harmony, to fill out the singing from the dancers on-stage. Soon after, Melissa sings “Somewhere”, and then the five of us join the full company singing the Finale, a reprise of “Somewhere”. The whole thing goes well, and we all are excited and confident for tomorrow’s Opening Night Performance. I thank my lucky stars as I head home for a good night's sleep. Life is good.

Part 2 of My West Side Story is coming soon, where I'll share with you just how surprising things can get on Opening Night!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Ballet Beginnings

Yesterday I started rehearsals for West Side Story Suite, with the National Ballet of Canada. That’s right - Canada’s National Ballet company. No, I’ll not be wearing point shoes and a tutu, Jeté-ing across the stage singing “I Want To Live In America”, much as you’d all like to see, I'm sure.

The show is a 30-minute ballet piece that first premiered in 1996 with the New York City Ballet, and is part of a 3-act night of mini-ballets created by Jerome Robbins, the choreographer and director of the original musical West Side Story and the Oscar-winning movie.

The ballet company has been rehearsing this show for a couple months now, and I, along with four other female singers have been added in to the mix just nine days before opening night, November 8th, 2007.

I know what you’re thinking... So what exactly am I doing in this show? Answer: Not much. The show begins with the memorable Prologue, after which I sing the shows first song, “Something’s Coming” while the dancer portraying ‘Tony’ acts out his character’s story. Then I sit and watch. Later, I sing a short reprise of “Somewhere” in the finale, and take my bow. That's it. This could be the easiest gig I will ever have in the career.

We five singers will be singing into microphones from the orchestra pit. A 40-piece orchestra will provide the glorious music, and the dancers will provide the rest, including some singing and dialogue.

Yes, this element could be the most intriguing aspect of this production. Hmmm... ballet dancers singing and speaking. The best ballet dancers move us through of beauty of their movements. Relating all this passion through movement is accomplished by drilling the technique of dance, which, fundamentally goes counter to the technique of producing sound. To dance ballet is to hold your stomach tight, to suck in for all you’re worth, to be as long and elegant as possible. Alternatively, speaking and singing comes from being as relaxed as possible through the stomach, allowing the diaphragm to expand down and out. To see how these brilliant dancers can accomplish this seemingly impossible task will be something I look forward to during this run.

So, back to the details of yesterday’s rehearsal. After a quick sing-through with musical director and conductor David Briskin to solidify tempos, intros and harmonies, we gathered into the large rehearsal hall at the Walter Carson Centre. There, the dancers were running through some exercises, generally warming up before the “stumble-through”. (That's what we call it in the musical theatre world, although here, it seems rather ill-named). There was a palpable excitement as the two groups eyed one-another for the first time, anticipating what was about to happen. It felt like we were the Jets and they were the Sharks, only we were outnumbered 30 to five!

Greeting us was Rex Harrington, former star dancer, and Karen Kain, who besides being a former star dancer is the company’s current Artistic Director. (Interestingly, both Rex and Karen appeared acting and singing the Christmas Panto a few years ago, which was produced by her husband Ross Petty, lest we forget ... but I digress). And then, they’re off! Those memorable melodies floating out of the piano inspired some brilliant and passionate dancing, right before our eyes. Even in their rehearsal sweats, I could imagine the show coming together in front of 2000 raptured audience members. It was really cool to be literally five feet away from them, watching them work through their show, intensely focused, sweat dripping off their brows, encouraging one another on after each number. And I’m getting paid to do this!

Let me correct myself, this surely is the easiest gig I will ever have in my career. No doubt about it. Usually, it’s me up there, busting my butt trying to learn the steps, trying to find my spikes on the floor as I whip set pieces around the stage, legs cramping up at night, bruises blooming deep purple. Not this time! I look forward to the remaining 2.5 weeks of this job. And not just because I can sit back and watch their beautiful bodies do it. Because, later, I can tell everyone I did a show with the National Ballet.

Keep taking that wheel, everyone. Because if you don’t someone else is in control.



Sunday, October 28, 2007

Endings and Beginnings

Today, we close down Mack and Mabel after 124 fabulous performances. It’s a bittersweet time for most of us. On one hand, we must shed the skins of the characters that we put so much effort into creating - and wearing - for the last 8 months. We must say goodbye and leave behind the many friends that we’ve made, even if its only for a few months. On the other hand, however, we will have the lasting memories of the time spent entertaining the hundreds and hundreds of audience members day in and day out. We will have the laughter and joy that we shared together in those crazy backstage antics that just seem to follow us around in the theatre.

But in the end, everything has its season, and it is time to move on. Four performances a week over 24 weeks is enough of doing anything! That’s one of the great things about being an actor -- you never get too bored of your work. There’s always another job around the corner and with it comes a new character to play and a new world to live in.

In my case, my new job begins tomorrow morning! I’m thrilled to be starting West Side Story Suite with the National Ballet of Canada at the new opera house in downtown Toronto. It is part of a 3-act night of ballet featuring the dance pieces of renowned choreographer Jerome Robbins. I’ve never worked with a ballet company before - not many actors have, I can assure you - but I am ready for something new. I don’t know if I’ll be on-stage with them yet or not, but I do know that I will be singing with a 40-piece orchestra! I am really excited about that. More details to come on this one.

After West Side Story Suite finishes, I’ll be taking some time off to be Sydney’s full-time caregiver until the Christmas break. At that time, the three of us will be vacationing down south for a few weeks. Other plans for the winter include doing a little renovating in the basement and rubbing Christine’s feet as we get ready for another season at Shaw, and more importantly, another baby girl! Yes, by the end of March our family will have a 4th member. We are over the moon about it.

Until next time, keep on taking the wheel. If you don’t, somebody else is in control.


Sunday, August 26, 2007

Hello Again!

My heartfelt apologies for taking so long to post another entry. Over the next week or so I hope to get you caught up with what's been keeping me so busy this past month.

Rest assured that while my life has been busier than ever, I have never been happier. Everything is good.

Tristan opened and is being received very well by audiences at the Courthouse Theatre at The Shaw Festival. Mack and Mabel is still getting standing ovations, night after night down the road at the Festival Theatre. Christine and I are feeling settled in our new house in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Little Sydney celebrated her 11th month on the planet by walking unassissted, and she has barely stopped since. Birthdays were feted, family gatherings were enjoyed, and weddings were attended. In short, it's been a full month.

Before you go, check out my newly updated website, at www.jeffmadden.ca. I'm going to be adding content slowly over the next few weeks, so keep checking back to see what's new.

All the best, everyone.

Monday, July 9, 2007

TRISTAN in the News

WELCOME Faithful Readers!

It's been a good week. TRISTAN is getting ready to take centre stage at the Shaw. We finished Technical rehearsals this past week, and are in good shape leading into our first Preview performance, this Thursday July 12th. The lighting cues are stunningly beautiful, the scenes flow into one another smoothly now, and we have finally added the gorgeous costumes. Best of all, after all these technical rehearsals, we ran the play and it's better than ever. (That is not always the case, as sometimes you "lose the show" for a few days after Technical rehearsals.) We have only two more chances to run the show, and work out any last minute kinks before our first audience. These are exciting times!

Another cool thing happened this week. I was asked to take part in an interview about TRISTAN for the Toronto Star. On Thursday at 11am, Richard Ouzounian (theatre critic and entertainment reporter for The Star) and I spoke by phone for 15 minutes. He also interviewed Glynis Ranney, the show's leading lady, and Jay Turvey and Paul Sportelli, the show's writers. Later in the day, a photographer from The Star came down to take photos of the four of us for the article. It was a fun experience. I've known Richard for a long time, (I premiered "Emily", one of his musicals at The Charlottetown Festival) and thankfully he made the interview fun and easy. I know he has a soft spot for any Canadian Musical, haven written many himself. He wants to see TRISTAN succeed.

Lo and behold, there it was, in Sunday morning's Toronto Star, on the front cover of the Entertainment section, a full-page, full-colour photo of Glynis and I, with Jay and Paul in the background! The article was on page 6, with another large photo of the four of us. Sections of the article appear below:

Embracing The Music Of Love - Paul Sportelli and Jay Turvey have created a new musical that tells a timeless love story

Let the commercial theatre search for the next Jersey Boys or Wicked. Those are all well and good in their own way.

But when one of Canada's largest classical festivals puts its considerable resources to bear toward the creation of a new piece of musical theatre, the odds are that that it's going to be something out of the ordinary. And that's what everybody at the Shaw Festival hopes is going to happen with Tristan, the new show by Paul Sportelli and Jay Turvey that starts previews on Thursday, prior to an opening on July 28.

After all, events like this don't happen very often. You could count the completely original musicals presented over the years by Shaw and Stratford on one hand and still have fingers left to wiggle. So obviously, Tristan is a major investment, not just financially, but artistically and emotionally as well.

It's based on a 1902 short story by Thomas Mann, set in a sanitarium in the German Alps. (***ACTUALLY, in a sanitOrium)

While they are both being treated for tuberculosis, a brooding poet (Spinell) becomes attracted to a happily married woman (Gabrielle) who has sacrificed her great talent as a pianist to serve her family. (***ACTUALLY, my character Spinell is NOT ill)

The two of them become hopelessly entwined, with Gabrielle's playing of the famous aria from Wagner's Tristan and Isolde proving the flash-point for a series of emotional explosions.

It's a work with the depth that you'd expect from Sportelli and Turvey. What drew them to this strange story? They both agreed that the scene where Gabrielle finally plays the piano "leapt off the page" to them as something they had to theatricalize. But what they see underneath that moment is slightly different. "For me it's about reawakening," asserts Turvey, "rediscovery." "While for me," insists Sportelli, "it's about the power of music, the power of art, to change lives."

The two people who are playing the leading roles, Jeff Madden and Glynis Ranney, have been with the show from the first reading in 2003 and their feelings haven't changed. "What struck me immediately," recalls Ranney, "was the power of the music and the great passion that came alive through it. And I continue to be amazed by it four years later." "It's the complexity that appeals to me," finds Madden, "the struggle between what your heart wants and what your brain says is right. The morality of choice."

Sportelli adds, "I enjoy art that can exist on many levels. If I'm just in the mood to be entertained and have someone tell me a story for a couple of hours, fine. But, if into that experience the author can drop some truly serious ideas that's even better. A piece of art should be flexible enough, plastic enough, for that to happen." Turvey's vision is a bit more intense. "I'm hoping we can provide moments of transcendence, flashes of feeling that the audience can recognize and take home with them."

It's obvious these men are playing for higher stakes than normal and it's inspiring that the Shaw Festival has had the courage to stick with them every step of the way. Whether or not Tristan turns out to be the thing of beauty its creators are hoping for still remains to be seen, but in the often heartbreaking battle that constitutes the history of musical theatre in this country, a certain kind of victory has already been won.
For the full article, copy and paste this link:

Have a great week, folks, and WISH ME LUCK!!!!!



Tuesday, July 3, 2007

A Successful CD Release Party

Hello Everyone,

The CD Release Party was a huge Success!

To begin, I must thank those who helped make the big day a reality. Firstly, I have to thank my wife Christine for Taking The Wheel on organizing and planning the entire day. Everything was perfectly laid out... you definitely have a second career in event planning waiting for you. Secondly, I must thank my Mom and Dad, without whom this party would have, well, sucked. From food to flowers, tents to tables, you helped tremendously. Also, Aunt Laurie, Catherine, and Anna all deserve kudos for their help on the day. It was a perfect afternoon.

Sunday June 24th was indeed a special day. At 11am, I had the pleasure of singing "One Face" from 'TRISTAN' at a coffee concert in the Festival Theatre lobby. Paul Sportelli played piano and the Blue Spruce String Quartet accompanied me, and the 200 folks in attendance really made me feel special with their applause. After the concert, I was even given the opportunity to sell a few of my CDs to the crowd. Paul was kind enough to welcome me to the table where he was selling the 'TRISTAN - The Musical' CDs. What a cool experience that was, selling CDs, mingling with the crowd, and meeting new people, well... fans, I guess. It's all new to me, but a welcome change in my life. By the way, the 'Tristan- The Musical' CD is great, and can be bought in person at the Shaw Festival. So, plan on picking one up when you come down to see 'TRISTAN', or any other show.

After the concert, we quickly took care of last minute details for my CD Release Party, and by 1:30pm guests were starting to arrive. For those of you who couldn't make it, we had a tent set up in the main part of the yard, under which was a table with flowers, a guest book and my CDs for sale. Music from my CD was quietly playing in the background. Guests mingled around tables and chairs, and wandered the beautiful grounds. Inside our 2-room guesthouse, we had a Food room, decked out with savoury and sweet goodies, and a Listening Room. This room had the CD playing much louder, on a super set of speakers that Freddy Gabrsek set up - and if anyone knows sound, it's my Producer, Freddy. We also had a slideshow of photos from the recording session projected on a screen above the speakers, so the guests could see just how many artists were involved in the recording, and how it all looked behind the scenes. The party was great - 7 Hours have never passed so quickly in my life!

The feedback from the CD (and the party) has been really positive. So many of my colleagues are really pleased with the quality of the recording in general. But I have to say, the song getting the most feedback at this point is "The Prayer", which I recorded with Glynis Ranney. A close second would probably be "How Glory Goes", from 'Floyd Collins'. I'm getting lots of other kudos for the quality of the arrangements, the mix, and also my voice. Leave me a comment on this message, and let me know what you like best about the CD.

And for the love of God, if you haven't yet, you can buy the CD online, anytime. Just go to www.jeffmadden.ca and follow the links. (They make great birthday gifts, right Peter???...)


On Friday June 29th, the cast of 'TRISTAN' gave a one hour concert of music at the Canadian Opera Company's 4 Seasons Centre of the Performing Arts, in downtown Toronto. This was my first time in the new building, and it is absolutely beautiful. I have to say, it felt like I was home among those wood floors, glass staircases and open spaces. Who knows, maybe I'll be performing there again in the future... What a treat that would be.


Check out the Toronto Star's Entertainment Section this coming Sunday. 'TRISTAN' composers Jay Turvey and Paul Sportelli will be featured, along with Glynis Ranney and Yours Truly, in an article by Richard Ouzounian. Should be cool!

I'm working on a few more BLOG posts - so check back in a few days... One is a "The Making of... Taking the Wheel" post.


For more photos of the CD Release party, copy and paste this link into your browser:

Leave a comment below!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Making Those Dreams Real

Hello Everyone. A fantastic Friday to you all.

So much news to tell... let's get to it! TAKING THE WHEEL is now in my hands, and it looks fantastic! I picked the CDs up the other day in Toronto, and it was very surreal loading box after box into the back of my car... It hasn't really sunk in yet that the whole thing is finished, but that will probably change once I release it into the world this Sunday.

So... This coming Sunday, three days from now, I'm having my CD Release Party. It'll be a Listening party and a Garden party all at the same time. You're all invited. Come. Have some food, something to drink, and buy a CD. You won't regret it. In the garden at 234 Johnson St. in Niagara-on-the-Lake. 2pm-7pm. Drop in anytime.

How to buy it... If you can't attend Sunday, and you want to buy a CD (and who doesn't) you have options!
Option 1: Give me $20, and I give you a CD. Either in person, or thru the mail, whatever you like.
Option 2: Go to www.jeffmadden.ca, click the BUY CD icon on the left, follow the steps and order it online. $20 + shipping.
Option 3: Go to The Shaw Festival Theatre Shop, pay them $20 + tax.
Option 4: Wait a few weeks, and buy it digitally from PureTracks or iTunes. Pay by the song, or the whole album.
Just don't burn a copy for your friends. Tell them get one themselves!

Big Day... Sunday will be a big day. Not only will I have my CD Release Party, but the new cast recording of 'TRISTAN - THE MUSICAL' is also having its CD Release Party! We recorded this album in April 2006, and it's only surfacing now, just in time for the World Premiere of TRISTAN next month here at the Shaw. It'll be released at a 'Coffee Concert' featuring the Shaw's Blue Spruce Spring Quartet, who were featured heavily on TAKING THE WHEEL. At this concert, I'll be singing "One Face" from Tristan, which appears on both CDs! Come check it out - 11am Sunday June 24th, Festival Theatre Lobby.

Beautiful Set... In other Tristan news, we rehearsed on the set in the Courthouse this week for the first time. It is going to look stunning! It is so beautiful, even without lights and costumes. You're in for a treat... especially in ACT 2 during the Chopin/Wagner section. Breathtaking... (Did you know that most of our rehearsals take place in rehearsal halls away from the stage? We tape out the outline of our set onto the floor, and use rehearsal pieces instead of the actual props. This way, other shows can take place on the actual stage, as we do our work in another location.)

The COC... Next week, we're doing a 1-hour concert of Tristan at the Canadian Opera Company! That's right, on Friday June 29th at 12 noon, in the lobby of the new 4 Seasons Centre, we'll sing through most of the music from Tristan, with narration by Jackie Maxwell, the Shaw's Artistic Director. And, it's totally FREE. So, come down if you can.

And Finally... (as I'm sure your eyes are burning) a little news from Mack and Mabel. Today, we had the pleasure of meeting the legendary Broadway composer JERRY HERMAN himself. Aside from Mack and Mabel, he wrote Hello Dolly, Mame, and La Cage Aux Folles. We met with him onstage after our curtain call, and he was so generous with his compliments, and seemed quite moved after seeing our show. I had a chance to shake his hand and thank him for making the trip. He is in his 80's and was quite sick earlier this spring, so we didn't think he'd be make it all the way up to Canada... but, there he was. A very special moment indeed.

OK everyone, that's it for me. Now it's your turn. Leave a comment for me. I love to read them. Just click the little COMMENT icon below, write your comment to me, click OTHER or ANONYMOUS, and click PUBLISH POST and your done. Until next time.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007


Hello Everyone!

The BIG news is ... my CD "TAKING THE WHEEL" is finished!!! It's being manufactured as I write this, and should be ready in a couple of weeks.

I am so relieved to finally be at this stage of the process. I'm like a little kid at Christmas, counting down the days until I can rip open my presents. And with any luck, you can all celebrate with at my big fat CD RELEASE LISTENING PARTY. Details will be coming soon...

The last week has been a flurry of activity, building up to my signing off on the project yesterday. Firstly, I made the decision to go ahead with all 14 songs. I love them all so much, and after spending so much time making each one shine I couldn't let any go! And, since I received the copyright licenses for the final two songs that day, I figured that was a sign.

Next, my producer Freddy Gabrsek and I made our final tweaks to the mixes of the songs. We've been working on these mixes part time for months! Once we were absolutely satisfied, we sent it off to be 'mastered' by my long-time friend and technical wizard Andrew Seok. He would work on the songs, and send the mastered tracks back to Freddy and I. We would listen together, make notes on Andrew's work, and send it back for some tweaks. This process continued until Tuesday morning when I was satisfied that the songs could not possibly sound any better.

In the mean time I had been in contact with my Graphic Designer Heidi at Indie Pool, the company responsible for manufacturing the CD. Over the last two weeks, I had sent her the documents that I wanted to include in the CD liner booklet, along with photos of me from a recent session I did with David Cooper, the Shaw's main photographer. I would stay up working into the wee hours of the morning, trying to get my ideas down, so that Heidi could do the work the next day. There I was, after a show of Mack and Mabel or rehearsal of Tristan (or both), at the computer while Christine and Sydney slept soundly. Heidi and I bantered back and forth about possible layouts and ideas, and between the two of us, we finally settled on a layout.

By Tuesday, her work was finished, and it is spectacular. And it's not just me saying that. Trevor, my agent at Indie Pool said he thinks the booklet design is the best he's ever seen Indie Pool do. And the boss himself stopped to stare at the printouts, raving about the quality of the photography and the overall design. I just hope the beauty of the music can match it!

As I walked out of Indie Pool after signing off on the work, I had a tremendously euphoric feeling, like I was floating down the driveway to my car. This project has been in gestation for 9 months, and at that moment, I felt like I was giving birth... spiritually... (I know, all the mothers out there are gonna let me have it)... but seriously, in two short weeks, I'm going to set my baby free into this world, and see what happens. Will it be a success? Or will it be flipping burgers for a living? Time will tell, but I think I know how it will turn out.

That's all the news that is fit to print at the moment. Check back really soon for information about the impending CD RELEASE LISTENING PARTY!!!

Until then, keep Taking the Wheel everybody.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Time Flies

I can't believe that it's been a few weeks since my last post. Time sure flew by while I was having fun.

The biggest news of the past few weeks is, of course, the official Opening of Mack and Mabel at the Shaw Festival Theatre. It truly was one of the most exciting nights in the theatre I've ever been involved with. Before the Overture had even finished, the sold-out house of 850+ burst into applause. Let me just say that this is not usual. From the very first scene, with Ben Campbell out there all by himself, you could feel the electricity in the air. Songs were cheered for. Every laugh landed. And the cast was calmly going through the paces, clipping along in a very controlled, but energetic manner. We were on. Act 1 was cheered to a close, only to be topped by the reactions for Act 2. It was with tremendous pride and joyful exuberance that we came out for our curtain calls - yes there were THREE bows that night. It's hard to describe just how good that made me feel.

In the next few days, virtually all the papers declared us a HIT, which made us feel even better, but only for knowing that even tired old grumpy theatre critics can enjoy a show every once in a while too. That week, 4 other shows opened as well, and each of them received excellent reviews. This the first time in my seven years here that all of the opening shows received such critical praise.

So, book your tickets soon, and don't miss out on a great season of theatre. (No, I don't get a cut of the action.)

What else... TRISTAN rehearsals began! Even doing 'table work' for Tristan is such a joy. Forget about the eventual production, we get paid to sit around a table and talk about Music and Art??? How great is that!!! The show is in great hands, has a great director and designers, will look and sound beautiful, and will likely break your heart. Bring tissues. Who could ask for anything more? Now that we're running Mack and Mabel about 4 times a week, we will have about 5 Tristan rehearsals each week, until about the end of June. Then we move into the theatre for "Tech rehearsals" prior to our first preview on July 12, the day before my birthday. (Get those cards in the mail now...) I'll fill you in on more Tristan dish as we go along.

What else... The CD!!! Is not done. (what else is new?) No, but seriously, it is sounding amazing. Final tweaks are being made (mostly to make me sound like Avril Lavigne), the design is well underway, and within a few days, the final step of mastering will begin. I guess we're looking at 4 weeks till it drops. That's music industry lingo for 'we ran out of money so it's as good as it's gonna get'. More news to come soon, I promise.

What else... SYDNEY is now 8 months old, and is now reading Rousseau. Never before has such a brilliant child lived. And, she's just signed a 7-figure deal with Gerber. Finally, Christine and I can buy that house we've always wanted. And in this town, you need 7-figures...

Enjoy the beautiful spring weather, and check back soon for another update.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Tiny Little Triumphs

Sometimes, you just need to step back, and celebrate the small accomplishments that occur along the way to bigger things.

For example, little Sydney now has 2 teeth poking through her gums, both on the bottom. This milestone was marked by some minor whining accompanied by biting of anything she could get her little hands on... including her Daddy's fingers. "YOWSA! What the hell - is that a tooth mark? ... Hey, way to go!" She's still number one in my books, even if there's lots of number 2's to clean up... ugh.

Mack and Mabel is still going strong. This is great, considering we're still 10 days from Opening Night. However, a weird thing is happening to me now... There is a tap number in the show -- I know, I know, I won't ruin it for you -- and by the time it's over, the stage is littered with tiny little beads from the tiny little beaded dresses worn by the tiny little dancers. When I come on for the next scene, somehow these beads end up embedding in the rubber soles of my shoes, so that by the end of the scene, I'm skating on glass. Well, for the second show in a row, I have slipped and nearly fallen on my ass, which as funny as it sounds, is tweaking my lower back a bit. Anyhoo, the costume folks are looking at changing my shoes, or at least the rubber soles, or as per my suggestion, removing the tiny little dresses from the dancers. We'll see what happens...

On the CD front, there's some good news. I had a photo session with David Cooper (Shaw photographer extraordinaire) the other day. The shots look great, and I think we've settled on a cover photo! (The photo above is NOT the cover photo - although this one is nice, it was taken at a recording session with my camera.) David took sooooo many good ones, and it's really difficult to settle on just one. But, there will be other photos included too, so we've got lots to play with.

Also, I got to hear 7 more tracks mixed by Freddy Gabrsek (Shaw sound-technician extraordinaire) bringing the total up to 10 of the 14 songs. They're all sounding REALLY good, and I am so pleased. We're almost there now, and after a couple more sessions to tweak things, we can move on to the mastering stage. I have lined up potential Mastering Technicians, but as it's not a done deal yet, I won't mention their names (but trust me, they're extraordinaire too...)

And, to top it all off, "Tristan" rehearsals start next week. I am SOOOOOOO looking forward to that show. Can't wait.

So, it's definitely exciting times right now. We're inching closer to the light at the end of this extremely long tunnel. And celebrating those tiny little triumphs along the way.

Have a good one, everybody.


Friday, April 20, 2007

Right from the start, you could tell today was going to be a great day. The brilliant morning sun shining through the cottage windows, the sweet smell of daffodils carried in the warm air... ah, it finally feels like Spring.

After breakfast and my morning coffee, I had a great talk with the folks at Indiepool about the manufacturing of my upcoming CD, "Taking The Wheel". We talked about the number of CDs to produce, the design of the CD liner, the mastering, the timeline ... all the details that still need to be done.

Then, I had a great meeting with photographer David Cooper. He and I knocked around details for shooting the photos for my CD liner and website, jeffmadden.ca. I am quite lucky to have David onboard. He is an incredible photographer, and has shot the program photos for Shaw Festival productions for years, as well as many other arts institutions across North America.

Then Christine and Sydney arrived from Oakville, and we all had a great lunch together before I ran to my preview of "Mack and Mabel". Yesterday, we played to an audience of about 80%, and it was great to have such a full house. Today, however, we had more like a 20% house, and at first it seemed like the show was going to be tough. But, to our surprise, this was one of our best audiences, always attentive, listening, laughing, and eventually giving us a standing ovation. It goes to show you, never judge a book by its cover.

Then, a fellow cast member and I were asked to take part in a post-show chat with a group of High School students from Barrie. They were a nice group of teenage girls, who asked some pretty interesting questions about the show, the rehearsal process, the audition process, etc. But, I have to hand it to their teachers, who no doubt had to convince their principal to give these girls the day off, drive them 230 kms to the Shaw to expose them to some world-class theatre, and hopefully have them learn something along the way. And, it felt great, knowing that I might have had a positive influence on a budding performer in this group. (Way to go, Madden, just what the world needs -- another actor!)

Then, after feeding and playing with Syndey for a bit, Christine and I enjoyed a lovely dinner of rainbow trout, wild rice and broccoli, with some 70% cocoa chocolate for dessert. And just as Sydney was getting tired and ready for bed, a beautiful pink sunset hung over the tree line to the west. A lovely end to a great day.

How was your day today? Do you find that you feel better when it's sunny and warm? Do you sometimes wish you could just pick up and move to Miami or LA or Hawaii? I'd love to hear...


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Three-Day Weekend

I just enjoyed a nice three-day weekend.

Huh, you say? This is particularly notable because during the season at Shaw, we actors usually only get 1 or 2 three-day weekends in 8 months. In fact, you could count the number of two-day weekends we get per season on one hand. Our typical work week is 6 days long, with Monday being the only day off. (You'd have to be out of your mind to come to the theatre on a Monday! Jeez, what's with you, Man?) So, when your family is off to the cottage on Saturday and Sunday, we're off to the theatre for a four-show weekend. And then we scramble to get a week's worth of errands done on our lone day off. That's the way it works just about everywhere in the theatre biz. Insert sorrowful violins here. As my dad would say,
" What -- and quit showbiz???"

Well, it just so happens that. this season, my schedule is quite free. I'm only doing the one show (Mack and Mabel - book your tix now!) right now, and my second show (Tristan - book your tix now!) doesn't start rehearsing for another 2 weeks. Which means, no rehearsals right now. Which means back to back three-day weekends! AAAAAHHHhhhhhhhhh.

So what did I do with all this free time, you ask? Did I go to New York City and see fabulous theatre and galleries as 2 of my co-workers did? Did I bust off to Toronto for 3 days of debauchery? Well, not exactly...

I set up my WEB SITE and BLOG! And then I shamefully sent out about 3 millions emails. (Feed that ego, Madden). I drove my inlaws to the Buffalo airport at 4am! (Don't ask). I spent 42 hours on Facebook (if you haven't signed up yet, I'm warning you, you will learn the true meaning of addiction). I did the groceries. I started an exercise program. I caught some sports on the tube (Sabres and Sharks in the Stanley Cup, that's my bet). I played with my girl(s). And I heard 3 tracks of my CD, after being mixed (sounds good!). Hmm, that's a lot more than I thought!

So, I start the work week afresh tomorrow (Ahh, Hump-day!) at 10:15 with a voice class, then a matinee. I'm even going to catch the Jays-Red Sox game tomorrow night with my brother-in-law at the Dome. Go Jays Go! It's a rough life, I know.

Have a good one, and hey, it's only 33 days until the May 24 Weekend. Plan that three-day weekend now!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Taking The What???

So, you may be wondering what the heck 'Taking The Blog' means. And, you would not be alone. I think it's out there, myself.

But, bear with me for a moment.

As some of you may know, I am in the midst of producing my debut CD, entitled "Taking The Wheel". It's the title of one of the tracks on the CD, too, written by American theatre songwriter John Bucchino. I chose it as the title of the CD, in part because it's a great, fun song to sing (and also to listen to, I hope...) but mostly because of the metaphor of the lyric. The chorus goes like this:

"I've been in the back seat long enough, tagging along for the ride. I've been in the back seat long enough to know
That you never get what you deserve if you never can decide. There's only one way to get to where you want to go.
Throwing down the pencil and grabbing a pen. Taking the wheel, driving again.
Throwing down the pencil and writing in ink: This is how I feel. This is what I think.
Dreaming again, and making those dreams real. Taking the Wheel."

I don't know about you, but to some degree, I felt as if I was not fully in control of the direction of my career. (That's a topic for another whole blog I'm sure.) As an actor, you have very little control over where you work, which projects you work on, or whether you work at all. And, although I'm extremely grateful and fortunate to be one of the lucky ones, I still feel somewhat like I plopped my little dingy down (you did WHAT?!?!?) in the middle of the Niagara River, and although I can steer it a bit from side to side, I ain't never gonna change the path of the river. It's taking me.

That being the case, I felt that it was time to do something that I could control! To do something I had always dreamt of doing! To be in charge of not only my dingy (and who isn't, really), but the river, too! At least for one project, anyway. And that project became the biggest pain in the ass I've ever .... No, no, no, I'm kidding. It's been great. And continues to bring me joy every day. But, the point is, I knew exactly what John Bucchino was writing about in his song. I was there, myself. That's why I knew I had to name my CD "Taking The Wheel".

Now, if that ain't the most boring speech you'll ever hear...

So, I told you that story to tell you this one. The CD led to the website jeffmadden.ca, and the website led to this blog. So, 'Taking The Blog' makes total sense in my world. How about you?

Let me know what you think about all this shhhtuff. Have you ever felt like you weren't in control of your career, or your life in general? I'd love to hear what you think. Hit the comment link below, and share.

Until next time...