About Me

My photo
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.

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!