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.

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...