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, June 21, 2009

The Update - Part 2

Week of June 8 - 15: Bittersweet

The second week back from vacation was looking just as busy as the first, so I kicked it off right by working on my day off. Smart, huh? Well, when you love your job, and people want you to perform, it's hard to say no. So, Monday night Michael, Quinn, Grant Tilly (subbing for Jeremy) and I sang our 'Guy's Guy Movie Medley' at a Gala for the Paul Penna Downtown Jewish Day School at the Al Green Theatre in Toronto. I also sang a solo number from my CD 'TAKING THE WHEEL', entitled "What Is It About Her?". It was a fun night for a good cause, but ultimately a bit tiring.

Tuesday morning I did an interview by the Oakville Beaver newspaper. I think it'll hit Oakville's doorsteps in a couple days. Check their website in a couple days to see if they have it up online. Click here.

Wednesday morning brought us a rare opportunity - to do a feature on TV's popular infotainment show, "E-TALK". The idea for this came after all four of us - Jeremy, Michael, Quinn and I - were nominated for a Dora Award. They figured we'd all be going to the Gala together, and would want to look the part, kind of like a modern Rat-Pack. We met at Harry Rosen's flagship store in Yorkville, and their designers helped pick out stylish duds for us to wear. They filmed us the whole time, walking in, shopping around, trying stuff on, goofing off, and generally making asses of ourselves. It was a lot of fun. I can't wait to see the segment, if only to see what they bleeped out. It will be on TV in a couple days time - double check your local listings, but here's what I think will happen - Our segment will air on CTV Thursday, June 25th, 7pm EST; and again Friday, June 26th at 1pm EST; it will also air on STAR a couple more times. Don't miss it!

Thursday and Friday afternoons were again spent rehearsing with Dan. It's exciting to see him get more comfortable in the role. But again, it's really difficult doing the show with two different 'Tommys'. His character drives a great deal of Act 1, and most of what our characters do is in reaction to him. And, making it worse, we were all getting a bit emotional, knowing that we'd be saying good-bye to Jeremy.

Jeremy's last show was Sunday June 14th, and it was a roller-coaster ride. Emotions were running high - first, we were exhausted from a couple brutal weeks of non-stop work, second, we were losing our leader, the guy who set the bar for us all in rehearsal (since he has already done the part for over a year), and third, the show never felt so real, with exact lines of dialogue replicating what we were going through. It was trippy, really. Several times during the show I got choked up, as did the other guys. It turned out to be an incredible show for the audience, because everyone was so raw. Jeremy was given a well-deserved extra bow in the curtain call, and he welled up in front of 1500 cheering people. Oh what a night, indeed.

After the show, we had a party to say goodbye, but also to celebrate completing six full months of shows! There were speeches, free food and drinks and even an enormous cake designed to look like the front of the playbill. But it was bittersweet to be sure (the moment, not the cake). Jeremy will be missed, and we will carry on with Dan, hopefully for a long time to come.

Week of June 16 - 23: Another Astonishing Addition

Tuesday morning started off with an interview with a reporter from the Halifax Chronicle-Herald newspaper. I lived in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia for five years growing up, and had many great memories of living there. In fact, my first job was delivering that very newspaper. And I started playing trumpet and joined my first bands in school there. If you're interested in checking out the article, click HERE.

Tuesday night was Dan's first show! It was great. We knew he'd be great after rehearsing with him so much, and he hardly let us down - he knocked it out of the park! We had a big house that night, and they cheered him loudly throughout. I'm sure most of them didn't know it was his first show, either. We celebrated our new cast member in style with some Italian champagne after the show, but kept it an early night because Wednesday's two shows were looming.

Another rather big piece of news is the addition of Alison Smyth to our company, doing 'Francine' track. Alison is replacing the lovely Lindsay Thomas in the role while Lindsay attends to some personal matters. She will certainly be missed at the theatre.

Alison had the unenviable position to learn the entire track in about a week. You've gotta understand, her track is probably the most technical of them all - for example she has 13 costume changes in Act 1 alone, often rushing on with some piece of furniture and as a new character. She sings the lead in "My Boyfriend's Back", and to top it all off, she has to play my mother, my girlfriend, and my daughter. Now if that doesn't break you up when you go to bed tonight, nothing will.

So, there we were, back at rehearsal Thursday and Friday. And, Alison did so great, they decided to put her into the show right away Friday night! Of course, she did amazing. You'd never have known that 10 prior she was signing her contract. And of course, to celebrate Alison joining our company, more Italian champagne was poured.

Something else cool happened this week - we had three sold-out shows! And, Friday night we sold the most tickets to any performance of JERSEY BOYS ever in Toronto, including the Touring production. Ticket sales have really picked up lately. No one really knows why - the great word of mouth, the 7 DORA nominations, the onset of Summer, all the Publicity, Father's Day - but it's a sign, Tommy. Here's hoping we rock through the summer selling out every night, and run this fantastic show for a long, long time.

Oh, and before I go, I thought I'd mention that we're performing at the CHIN picnic on Canada Day. Details will be figured out later, but if you're around and you're interested, check it out. And, the DORA awards will be handed out next Monday night, June 29th. Cross you fingers, everybody.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Update - Part 1

Uh, yeah, sorry. I haven't written in a while. You see, I've been a little busy with work. After reading on, you'll understand why. This blog post is Part-1 in an attempt to get you caught up with my ridiculously busy schedule for the past four weeks.

My Vacation Week, May 25 - 31: SICK HAPPENS

Life is funny. You plan months in advance, you think you are in control. Uh, not so much. Although my wife and I had our trip to Cuba all planned out, our bags packed and waiting at the door, we apparently forgot to tell 15-month-old Emily not to get a fever. Sick happens, I guess.

With only 12 hours to go before we were to leave for the airport, her fever and symptoms were bad enough to make us very uneasy about getting on a long plane ride to a communist country with temperatures nearing 100F. I couldn't believe our luck. I had been looking forward to this week of fun and pampering for such a long time. Needless to say, we cancelled the trip. Honestly, I was crushed. On the plus side, we learned that Cancellation Insurance was made for families with young children. We'll get all our dough back, he says crossing his fingers.

So, after a few days at home managing the colds things settled down a bit - yes, that's colds, plural, because of course, Sydney got the bug two days later. I salvaged some vacation time by hopping on a plane with my Dad Phil bound for Las Vegas. We found a great last minute deal to stay at the Palazzo Hotel right on the strip, which just happens to be where JERSEY BOYS is playing. So of course, we went to see the show! How could I not? Here's a pic of me and the "Vegas Four Seasons" backstage after the show.

I did feel a bit out of place sitting in the audience though. I think I prefer to be up onstage! The show was great - if a bit shorter. They cut out lines of dialogue throughout the show and shortened the intermission to eight minutes, so the audience could get back onto the Casino floor faster, I guess. But it didn't seem to matter - the crowd reacted almost identically to our crowds here in Toronto, which is the goal, I think. A hit is a hit, wherever you go!

The rest of our time was spent trying to stay out of the casinos. We hung out around the beautiful pools relaxing, we played a nice round of golf, and saw the Cirque du Soleil show 'O' from the second row - which was absolutely mind-blowing. All in all, it was a nice - if short - vacation.


My first week back from vacation was a doozie. (There's a word for you - God, how old am I?) Talk about being jolted back into the swing of things. First thing Tuesday morning, a did an interview with the Etobicoke Guardian newspaper. Check it out HERE.

Then later in the week I did a live radio interview on The Fan 590 AM. Check that out HERE. My interview should appear at the top of the list - June 7. If that doesn't work click on Audio Archives on the left, and look for my name.

And, no, I didn't forget how to do the show Tuesday night after the week off - in case you were wondering, it went great!

First thing Wednesday morning, Jeremy, Michael, Quinn and I were invited to announce the 2008-09 DORA Nominations at a press conference at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in downtown Toronto. (Get the tie-in there? The 'Four Seasons' at the Four Seasons. Sorry to be so obvious for pointing that out!) Anyway, much to our pleasure, JERSEY BOYS was nominated for seven DORA awards, and surprise surprise, all four of us were nominated in the same catagory - for Best Performance in a Musical!

It feels really amazing being nominated for this DORA award. But, I have to say, I'm over the moon about having all four guys nominated. And, the absolute capper is having the show be nominated for Best Musical. Man, I hope we win that one. And actually, there is one big award that you can all help us win. There is an Audience Choice Award for Best Show, but there's only a day or two left to vote. Please help us win by going to this site and vote for JERSEY BOYS. CLICK HERE TO VOTE.

Thursday and Friday afternoon we had rehearsals with our new 'Tommy Devito', Daniel Robert Sullivan. Dan had been rehearsing the show with the National Tour for the past couple weeks, and now he has joined us. Dan has replaced Jeremy Kushnier, who has left the show to move back to New York with his very pregnant wife Jenny Lee Stern who played 'Mary Delgado' here in Toronto for four-plus months. They want to settle in to their new house before baby makes her appearance later this summer. So, it's been a bit weird - rehearsing with one 'Tommy' in the afternoon, then doing the show with the other 'Tommy' at night. But, that's show biz.

After Sunday's matinee, Michael, Quinn and I took Jeremy out for a 'Big Man In Town' Night, Jersey-style, in honour of his leaving and to say thanks for being such an incredible cast member. We rented a limo for the night, and started the night off in style, having dinner overlooking the beautiful skyline atop the CN Tower. Then it was a seemingly endless series of drinks at various nightspots around the town, the names of which I seem to escape me for some odd reason. What I do remember though, is that it was an epic night of great meaning to me and the guys. I wish we all could hang on to that feeling forever.

Jeremy's 'BMIT' Night also happened to coincide with a little event called the Tony Awards in New York City. Some of you may have heard a bit of juicy gossip about my potential involvement in a live performance onstage at said Tonys. And some more of you may have watched the Tonys, heard them say something like "... the Frankie from Toronto, ..." only to see five other guys sing.

Let me set the record straight. It's all very simple. The Tony Awards broadcast decided to give JERSEY BOYS a 2-minute performance slot for having such great success beyond Broadway. The producers of JB decided after much deliberation to do a medley of "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You" and "Oh, What A Night", and feature the five 'Frankies' from the five North American companies of Jersey Boys currently playing. Which meant that I was to be a part of the live televised event. Only, being a Canadian citizen, I can only work in the United States if I have a working VISA and join the American Actors Union(s). Unfortunately, there was not sufficient time to get me the legal paperwork before the Tonys. End of story.

I was actually spared a lot of heartache, because I was only informed of all this after the final (negative) decision was made by the American Government agency. Which was a blessing. Since I didn't know it might have happened, I couldn't get all excited about the prospect. But, of course, I was disappointed to miss out on this potentially amazing opportunity. I mean, who wouldn't want to go sing a great song on live TV in front of millions of people at the Tonys - not to mention meeting celebrities, party-hopping, and hanging with Liza?

The way I look at it is this: The producers really wanted me to be a part of this event. They chose to go ahead with this event with me in mind as one of the 'Frankies'. That makes me feel really good. And, after my involvement fell through, the news was respectfully broken to me in the most professional and gentle manner by several key members of the JERSEY BOYS family, which made all the difference to me. Look, I believe that all things happen for a reason, even if the reason isn't obvious at first. It'll reveal itself to me at another time. I still have a fantastic job, and get to perform in front of tons of screaming fans every night. Talk about "Too Good To Be True". I'm living that dream. It's all good.