There are always exceptions, like Jamie Foxx (Ray Charles) and Robert Downey Jr. but certainly they are not the rule. Add Jeff Daniels to that list, the list of exceptions not the rule that is. Daniels has enjoyed much success on the big screen during his 25-year acting career that includes his breakout film Terms of Endearment (1983), starring next to Mia Farrow in The Purple Rose of Cairo (of all the Woody Allen films, Allen has said this one was the best he has ever made), 101 Dalmations and Dumb & Dumber. These are four films that showcase his character range.
On September 24 Daniels will bring his musical talents to the stage of the City Opera House in Traverse City for the Restoration Recherche III. The Opera House is nearing the completion of their restoration campaign and more than $5.3 million in restoration has been completed in the regions oldest theater. Traverse Citys historic landmark seeks the remaining $3.6 million that will construct a new grand entrance, grand stairs and an elevator from Front Street, replace seating, build a permanent concessionary, finish original decorative paintings, and outfit technical areas that support professional programs in a central 730-seat venue.
Daniels, who grew up in Chelsea (outside of Ann Arbor), is no stranger to music (after all, anyone growing up in Southeastern Michigan during the sixties and seventies was in the center of Detroits great contributions to rock/pop music) and has been writing songs for over 30 years.
Look, I dont write hits and I didnt send out demos to famous singers, said Daniels. I just write songs. Theyre my diaries. I had everything Ive ever written in this big, black notebook. Some of them were typed, some were in long hand, but all of them had a time and a place that marked some moment in my life. If you really wanted to get to know me, youd find me in there.
At the urging of his sound engineer Steve Curran during the filming of Escanaba in Da Moonlight, Daniels organized his more than 400, songs and selected a dozen to be recorded in a live and unplugged format.
I did some concerts to raise funds for the Purple Rose Theater in Chelsea (Daniels founded the theater to help burgeoning playwrights find a venue for their works), said Daniels. Well, we recorded the concerts and created the CD. All the proceeds go to the Purple Rose Theater.
To date more than 10,000 CDs have sold; not because it is a novelty but because Daniels is quite talented with a guitar on his lap and a microphone at his mouth. Daniels songs, as he says, are essentially diary entries ala Harry Chapin and Jim Croce (his vocal stylings are similar to both great singers) and reflect upon his Midwestern values.
Daniels has avoided the typical trappings of Hollywood. His name doesnt make the gossip pages and in world where actors seem to have a new wife or girlfriend every other month, Daniels is still married to his high school sweetheart Kathy. The two just celebrated their 26th wedding anniversary. While his peers are out chasing the nightlife, Daniels has chosen to take an active role in raising his three children.
I guess Id rather load up the minivan and head to the Upper Peninsula with the family, said Daniels. I owe a lot of my success to my wife who has to put up with a lot, being married to an actor.
Daniels even wrote a song about her titled Kathy.
Jeff Daniels will make two appearances at the City Opera House Saturday, September 24. This isnt a night to come out and suffer through an evening of some egotistical; celebrity instead ticket holders will be in for a real treat to their ears. Tickets for both shows are selling quickly and a limited number of VIP seats remain that include a wine reception with Leelanau Peninsula wines and a meet and greet time with Daniels. For additional information visit www.cityoperahouse.org or call the box office at (231) 941-8082.