A Vancouver native, Jeff is a Canadian gem with a packed career as a musical theatre actor, singer, dancer, choreographer, and director already behind him, and still going strong. I remember seeing Jeff years ago in the titular role in the Canadian touring production of The Phantom of the Opera, and he was most recently tapped to direct Eye Heart Production’s current run of Good Boys and True, up now at the Firehall.
1. In one word, describe your present condition.
2. In as many words as you’d like, describe the present condition of the Vancouver theatre scene.
First time back in over 6 yrs – a little difficult to say yet. It seems there are more and more independent productions happening – and that is a good thing for the community.
3. What first spoke to you about Good Boys and True?
The intelligence of the writing, it’s simplicity but most of all it’s scope – which is huge.
4. What’s your most recent revelation about yourself as a director?
I can communicate my ideas clearly and in this particular piece was able to meld diverse abilities in the acting team and bring together a strong ensemble led by Teryl Rothery.
5. What can/should we be doing as an industry in response to the recent government funding cutbacks?
We have to keep showing up! We have to keep the ARTS alive. We have to incite the public sector and rally their support and interest, an ongoing challenge.
6. What is your fondest theatrical memory?
The most fun I’ve ever had in the theatre was touring Canada in the British Panto – Aladdin with Ruth Nichol, Karen Kain, Ross Petty and Bruno Gerrussi who played my mom, Widow Twanky. We were the “5” Muskateers.
7. What would you like to see more of on Vancouver stages?
More of everything – Entertainment!
8. If you could have drinks with any 3 theatre artists, alive or dead, who would they be and why?
Helen Mirren – the most intellectual actor in the business.
Mike Nicholls – the most intuitive director around.
Stephen Swhartz – prolific Broadway composer – Godspell, Pippin, Wicked….
9. What’s your best piece of advice for our young actors just starting out on their careers?
Learn your craft – sing, dance, act, play a musical instrument, ride horses, play sports and most of all, READ everything!
10. What are your top 3 theatre reads?
Diana Rigg’s – No Turn, Unstoned!
Stephen Sondheim’s Bio
Any and all plays.
11. What’s next?
The development and production of the original new musical “Dancing in the Coal Dust” by composer/librettist David Warrack.
Based on my concept of the legend of Ginger Goodwin, a Yorkshire coal miner who revolutionized the working conditions in the mines of B.C. during WWI. He got the 8 hour work day for the miners.