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.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Well, folks, it appears I have something in common with Messrs Obama and McCain. I, too, pledge that CHANGE is coming! Here's an outline of the changes coming my way in the near future.

1. Upcoming Gigs

Yes, I've got some NEWS about some gigs I've got coming up this fall. Fans of Cole Porter might be interested to know that I'll be taking part in a Concert Production of KISS ME, KATE November 5 and 6 at Gryphon Theatre in Barrie, produced by Talk is Free Theatre.
Tim French will direct (we worked together on The Mystery of Edwin Drood at Shaw in 2001 and Lady, Be Good! at Manitoba Theatre Centre in 1999 - my first Equity show!). Ryan de Souza will lead the orchestra of 19 (!!!) and musical direct. Ryan and I have collaborated on at least 11 productions at Shaw over the last eight seasons, plus Playground at Talk is Free Theatre in Barrie in 2006.

Immediately after Kiss Me, Kate finishes, I begin rehearsals on a new and exciting piece of Canadian Musical Theatre called VARIATIONS ON A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN. It is basically a song-cycle for 4 actors written by (and will be performed by, too) actor/singer/composer Jonathan Munro. Jonathan is currently acting in his third season at the Stratford Festival. Other cast members include Chilina Kennedy (who also stars in Shaw's Wonderful Town) and Elizabeth Beeler (whom I worked with in Scott White's Dance of the Dead). The show will be directed by none other than Richard Ouzounian (yes, he who moonlights as the Toronto Star theatre critic) and Reza Jacobs is musical director. It'll run from November 27 through December 6th at this point at TIFT's Downtown Theatre in Barrie. I can't wait to sink my teeth into some of his fresh, contemporary musical theatre tunes. Exciting!

After these two shows, I hope to have some down time over the holidays. I love having time off over the Christmas season to hang with our extended families. But I have a few irons in the fire for some work early in the new year, and hope to squeeze in one more show before heading west to Winnipeg March 16. (For those of you who didn't see the article in Playbill.com about THE BOYS IN THE PHOTOGRAPH, and all the dish to follow, check my Blog Post immediately below this one!)

2. New Website Updates

Yes, I've got the fine folks at Indiepool putting together a fab new website for me. Indiepool is the company that manufactured my CD 'Taking The Wheel'. Their design of the cool 12-page booklet and the layout of the many gorgeous pictures made me so excited that I had to have them design the website. And with so many of you complimenting me on the CD, I'm sure you'll love the new website too. Should be done sometime this fall.

3. Family Changes

No, not another baby - don't get excited. But, to fill you in on the kid situation, Sydney turns TWO years old this week, and is beginning Montessori school soon! Her vocabulary continues to make me feel inadequate most days.
And baby Emily turns six months old next week. She smiles all the time, has begun exploring her voice with a few Da-Da-Da-Da's (which makes me VERY happy!) and is already starting to creep around a bit. What a pleasure these girls bring us each and every day.

4. Leaving Shaw

This is perhaps the biggest change coming my way. Surprisingly, it has been eight years for me with this company, proving the old adage true once again, 'Time flies when you're having fun'. My life has changed tremendously during these eight years. Since my first season, I have gotten engaged, bought a condo, gotten married, learned to play cricket of all things, had a baby girl, moved into a new house, had another baby girl... oh, I almost forgot... and done 16 Shaw Festival productions among countless other readings, workshops, and projects.

Sure, I've worked elsewhere six or seven times in the winter between seasons, but I always knew I was coming back to Shaw. Well, not this year. When I leave Shaw this October 5th, I have no idea when I'll be back. That gives me an odd feeling. In some ways, I feel as though I have grown up here, both as an actor and as a man. I know it probably sounds corny, but The Shaw does feel like my home. I have always looked forward to coming back each year, to see so many familiar faces and places, to feel the comfort and excitement of beginning a new artistic journey in the friendly confines of Shaw's rehearsal halls. I will certainly miss that. I'm sure I'll write more about this in later posts.

Now, don't get me wrong, people. Change is not a bad thing. It's necessary. It's healthy. It's exciting! I am about to begin a new chapter in the book of my life, and like reading a good book, I'm anxiously looking forward to turning every page, to find out what's going to happen next. It's a thrilling feeling, this anticipation of discovering the future.

After all, that's what Taking The Wheel is all about. If I'm not driving, who is?

Comments? Click it. You know you wanna.

BOYS in the NEWS

Hey Everyone,

For those of you who didn't catch it last month, a story promoting THE BOYS IN THE PHOTOGRAPH appeared in the mother of all Broadway theatre websites, Playbill.com.

Copy and paste this url into a new tab to read the full article entitled "Madden, McMillan and Peck to Star in Lloyd Webber and Elton's Boys in the Photograph": www.playbill.com/news/article/120410.html

Hmmmmm. This is a fascinating story. You may recall that my offer was to play the lead dude in TBITP in Winnipeg in April-May 2009, followed by a Toronto run in May-June. There were full-page colour ads in the newspapers advertising the show in the Mirvish season. Excited, I eagerly agreed. Then, things started to get, well, interesting. The contracts were slow to arrive. And when they did, they were quickly revised to eliminate the Toronto portion of the run. Meanwhile, the Toronto run of the show was still being advertised. Confused, we waited for answers, explanations, anything. None came. Nothing changed.

The popular sentiment was that maybe Mirvish had to pull out of the Toronto run because of their legal issues with their competitor, Dancap. But then this Playbill.com story appears August 13th, out of the blue, saying the show will play Toronto after all. But, no changes had been made to our contracts. Still confused, nobody I spoke to could figure out why this story ran when it did, nor why it still contained erroneous information.

Then, exactly one week later, the newspapers reported the court case between Mirvish and Dancap has been resolved in the Mirvish's favour. Meaning that they will go ahead with their purchase the Canon and Panasonic theatres, and program whichever plays they like. Good news! TBITP is going to play the Canon after all. Just like it says in the Playbill.com article, right?

Uh, not so fast, Mister. If one goes to the Mirvish website today (copy and paste this url: www.mirvish.com/ComingSoon/) it appears that their May-June show is none other than... RIVERDANCE! Huh?

It appears there may be other goings-on behind the scenes. I have some suspicions, but won't waste space on them here.

So, now what? These are the facts, as I know them. The Winnipeg run is still on. The Mirvish's are still co-producing TBITP with the Manitoba Theatre Centre, meaning they are throwing a bunch of money into the production. The Mirvish's still hold the rights to produce the show in Toronto, and apparently intend to do so. But nothing is set in stone.

OK. So, what am I going to do? Well, I actually decided months ago that I would go ahead and do the show anyway. I mean, in spite of all this crazy stuff, this is still a very good offer to play a great part in an exciting show with top-notch musical theatre artists. Trust me, these types of offers do not come along very often.

However, accepting it means I will not be back at Shaw next year, after eight consecutive seasons. It's taken quite a while, but after much soul-searching, I have come to peace with this decision. I believe getting this offer happened for a reason. I am ready to go wherever it takes me. Whatever happens, I know I'll land on my feet.

One thing's for sure, though. This story surely isn't over yet. I'd bet this journey continues to be very interesting!

Let me know what you think, friends. That little icon below that says "comments"... please use it.