It was quite an eventful week in the lives of the Toronto Jersey Boys company.
NEW CAST MEMBER:
The Big News of the week was supposed to be the arrival of our new 'Bob Gaudio', Quinn VanAntwerp. Quinn arrived in Toronto Tuesday, got settled in, and met the cast. He watched our show Wednesday, rehearsed with us Thursday and Friday afternoon, and did his first show Friday night. Quinn was fantastic. There was absolutely no worry on my part about working so closely with a new scene partner, and he fit in seamlessly into the harmonies and choreography, right from the start.
Coincidentally, I had 12 old friends from High School - some of which I hadn't seen in 15 years - come to the show that Friday night. They were blown away. The audience that night was electric, one of our best yet. It could not have gone better for Quinn's first show.
THE SHOW MUST GO ON:
That was Friday. Well, everything changed Saturday. No, no, Quinn was still great... Unfortunately the lift/trap door/elevator down-stage-centre in the floor was not. It became clear right away in the matinee that it was malfunctioning, so the crew shut it down. But the show went on without stopping. Oh, and we also had two swings on for that show, too (the talented Victoria Lamond and Aaron MacKenzie). And since I had the afternoon off, I had the pleasure of watching it all unfold.
The amazing thing was how calmly everything came together. The stage management team was brilliant. They quickly paged the other two swings (Grant Tilly and Matt Cassidy, kudos to you both), and informed them that they'd be going on too, only in newly created roles - as Set Movers! Our crack wardrobe unit quickly dressed them in costumes, and they basically became 'roadies' for the Four Seasons. There they were, bringing out and taking away microphones, tables, chairs, basically whatever was needed to play the scenes that otherwise would have appeared/disappeared on the lift.
And, the audience was fantastic. Some may have known something was up, as we started late and had an extended intermission, but I'll bet most had no clue. They cheered loudly the entire show long.
That night, for my show, the lift was working again. Relieved, I carried on as usual. Until about 15 minutes from the end of the show, right in the middle of one of my monologues (and incidentally the quietest part of the play) I hear, (insert imaginary sound FX here) "grindity grind grrrind... crrrunchy crunch, squeek, snap..." coming from the floor.
Hmm. I think, 'Gee, that's unusual.' During a brief turn upstage, I glance towards the Stage Left wing - and see my ASM staring out at me, whispering into his headset.
Hmm. I think, 'Gee, why is he doing that?' I cross over to the Trap, where I'm supposed to sit on a bench. After that noise, I didn't expect to see it, but there it was.
Hmm. I wonder, 'Should I sit?' As I am finishing the last paragragh of my monologue, I put my left foot gingerly over the line, half on the floor, half on the trap, testing to see what would happen. Nothing. I slide my entire foot on the trap, and gently put some weight on it. Again, nothing. I figure, 'OK, I'm cool'. I play the scene, and sing "Fallen Angel". At the end of the song, the bench and I are supposed to disappear below the stage in a cleverly designed transition. But, I ain't going nowhere.
So, I casually stand up and walk off stage right. When I get into the wing, everybody is waiting there for me, like nothing new is going on. My dresser, the other Four Seasons, our mic stands, everything. In 15 seconds, we enter like nothing different has happened, sing "Ragdoll", and end the show. I tell you, it was seamless. You've got to love live theatre.
Sunday morning, we were back in the rehearsal hall. You see, we have another big publicity event this week. We're appearing on TV again, this time on CTV's 'CANADA AM' Thursday morning, January 15th. (I think we're on sometime between 8am - 9am, but don't hold me to that). So we had to squeeze in one rehearsal to learn the new medley for the 3+ minute spot. It features the songs "My Eyes Adored You", "Dawn" and "December '63 (Oh What a Night)". After the rehearsal and quick lunch at Timmies, we're back on stage again, doing the show without the lift. The crowd goes crazy again. I love my job.
So, remember everyone, set your PVRs to record CANADA AM this Thursday around 8am. Somehow, I'm going to be singing high E's at 8 in the morning. The question is, is it better to sleep a few hours, or stay up all night???
Hmm. I wonder.
- Jeff Madden
- 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.