August 17, 2010

Jersey Boys Sing ‘Bye, Bye, Baby’ to Toronto This Sunday

August 17th, 2010

JB Toronto Four Seasons
Jeff Madden, right, stars in Jersey Boys with, from left, Quinn VanAntwerp, Daniel Robert Sullivan and Michael Lomenda. The musical closes at the Toronto Centre for the Arts on Sunday. (Photo Credit: Joan Marcus)

Richard Ouzounian notes that the cast of Jersey Boys sing “Bye, Bye, Baby” to their loyal Toronto friends this Sunday and it’s an occasion marked by both sorrow and joy.

When the show first opened at the Toronto Centre for the Arts on Aug. 21, 2008, it was scheduled for a limited run and people wondered if the venue on Yonge north of the 401 could draw a substantial audience after being dormant as a legit theatre for so long.

But by the time the musical closes, it will have played to more than a million people and established a new long-run record for the venue, which would normally be a cause for celebration.

Aubrey Dan, head of Dancap Productions stated, “Jersey Boys meant a huge milestone in development and viability for Dancap Productions. It proved that dreams can come true. With an empty theatre and a vision to make great entertainment for the city of Toronto, anything can happen.”

Des McAnuff is currently artistic director of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, and the man who helped create Jersey Boys from its earliest incarnation in La Jolla, Calif., to its Broadway triumph and subsequent hit runs all around the world.

But it’s this long run in Toronto that mattered the most to him.

“I would never have imagined having a show that would run two years in my hometown. That was never on my radar. It’s been great and surprising. It means a great deal to me. It’s the gold medal.”

It also changed the life of actor Jeff Madden. When he was cast as Frankie Valli, he had been a member of the Shaw Festival company for eight years, doing solid work but never thought of as a star. Jersey Boys changed all that. He won a Dora Award, became a prominent figure on the Toronto theatre scene and has a bright future ahead of him.

“It’s been a dream come true. I get to sing some of the greatest popular songs ever written and literally become a rock star in front of over a thousand people every night and I’ve had doors open to me that were closed before.

“My happiest moment still comes during the curtain calls when the crowd jumps to its feet. Not only do I hear them roar, which gives me goosebumps, but I see the sheer joy on their faces, which makes it all worthwhile.”

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1 Comment »

  1. Its pure joy Jeff!!! Can’t describe it any better than that – pure joy!!!!!

    Comment by sharon M — August 26, 2010 @ 7:43 pm

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