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.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Support Canadian Talent

Shawp Talk

Wonderful Town has been in previews for a while now, and has really hit its stride. People just love this show. They are warmed by the set and costumes, dazzled by the music, and finally overcome by it’s sweet story and sense of goodwill. That, and some amazing performances by the entire cast, led by the hilarious Lisa Horner. I am having a blast doing the comedy thing for a change. Our official opening night is 10 days away, May 24th. I’m told there are good seats available for performances through the end of June, but after that it gets tougher. So, book now and don’t be disappointed.

For a video with actual show footage, go to the following site, and click on the Video tab. It gives you all the info you need about our production: www.shawfest.com/web/content.asp?docid=1_3_2_1

When I’m not chewing the scenery in Wonderful Town - and believe me, I chomp away pretty good - you'll find me in rehearsal hall 3, working on A Little Night Music. The show is really coming along. The music is definitely a challenge to perfect, as is the complex staging of the show on the three-sided Courthouse stage. We are looking forward to moving into the theatre this Friday to begin technical rehearsals. June 1st is our first preview performance, with the official opening night July 4th. So, all you Sondheim fans, don't wait - A Little Night Music is the best selling show so far this season! Get your tickets now!

Field of Stars

I had so much fun last night. I had the privilege of singing in a concert celebrating the release of a new CD/Songbook called “Field Of Stars - Volume 2”. First, let me tell you about the book. The songbook is the second in a series dreamed up by Jim Betts, featuring 22 Musical Theatre songs written solely by Canadian composers. Included in the book is the sheet music to each song, plus two CDs. Disc 1 is a CD of all the songs recorded by various "stars" of the genre (including me, of course), and Disc 2 is a CD of just the piano accompaniment, so you can fire up the karaoke machine and sing along at home. It’s a great idea for any actor just starting out, or who is looking for new audition repertoire, or for any fan of canadian music who wants to listen to a kick-ass compilation of songs and/or play along on the piano.

So, this past fall I had the privelege to record two songs for the Songbook, and last night I got to sing them live at Statlers, a club downtown Toronto. The songs come from two shows very close to my heart : “One Face” from Tristan with composer Paul Sportelli accompanying me, and “Disappointed House” from Emily with composer Marek Norman at the piano. I am thrilled to say that both songs went over extremely well! It was so exciting - you could have heard a pin drop in the packed club. Actually the entire event was such a hit that they had to turn people away. Many people were forced to stand out on the sidewalk, listening through the open windows and doors. It was quite an inspiring night, to be surrounded by so many talented supporters of Canadian Musical Theatre.

If anyone is interested in buying a book, go to this site for a bunch of information: http://northernriver.com/FOS2Preview.html. I believe you can buy it at Theatrebooks and Song and Script in Toronto, two stores that coincidentally also carry my CD, "Taking The Wheel". And if you haven't picked that up yet, get on it already! There are 14 beautiful tracks of musical theatre and pop songs with all new arrangements. It's really fine stuff. Actually, the easiest way to buy my CD is through my website www.jeffmadden.ca, or if you're in town to see a show, pick it up at the Festival Theatre Shaw shop. If you must, download it on iTunes. But if you do, you won't get the lovely 12-page booklet with lots of beautiful photos and information on why I chose each song. Trust me, the booklet really completes the package.

Support Canadian musical theatre talent! And, you'll have the added bonus of knowing that you helped put my kids through university. Well, daycare, anyway. Cheers, everybody.

The New 'Normal'

Lately, it seems like every post begins with an apology for not writing more often! The last post I wrote was exactly seven weeks ago today. I remember the day so well, because it was the day of Emily’s birth. I was so euphoric that day that I just had to post a photo and the good news right away. You see, tiredness had not yet crept in. Exhaustion was still around the corner. Collapse was several weeks away. In the meantime, whenever I even thought about blogging I began to laugh at the absurdity of that idea. Life has been such a blur. As you might imagine, having a newborn and a toddler and a 6-day-a-week job acting, singing and dancing takes a lot out of you. But I think we have now started to understand the new 'normal'.

Sleep. Hmmm, how can I put this... I really miss it. I miss being able to come home from work, maybe have a drink, relax, and finally hit the pillow knowing that eight hours later, I’ll gently wake up feeling wonderfully rested. These days, it’s a really great night when we get six hours of semi-interrupted sleep. On not-so-great nights, it’s more like four or five. After a week straight of crappy sleep you start to become some other person. Someone who bumps into things, mumbles two-word answers, and ceases to find anything funny. It’s rough a lot of the time. But somehow, we make it through.

We do, because in spite of everything, it’s unbelievably amazing.
Holding Emily as she squirms to find just the right position in my arms before falling asleep gives me an incredible feeling of joy.

And taking Sydney for a walk to the park these days is an amazing experience, listening to her say things like “Where are you, school bus?” and “Hi squirrel!” and “Oh Boy, the slide!”. These and a hundred other simple things a day give me such a sense of pride and contentment that it’s nearly impossible to describe. Crazy. And so, on we go stumbling around with smiles on our faces...

At this point I have to say that my incredible wife Christine is doing an amazing job holding it all together, managing motherhood with skill and grace. She got her great mothering instincts from her mom Ilse, just as I learned everything I know from my mom Jody. Happy Mother’s Day again to you three great ladies. There is no job more demanding than being a mother. What an undertaking. Thank you for doing such a great job, and for being such awesome grandparents.

Now, when can you come down to babysit???