Matthew Reddin

Matt Daniels re-ups as Jeeves for MCT

In "Jeeves in Bloom," a quasi-sequel to 2010's "Jeeves Intervenes," the consummate valet must help his employer Bertie escape more romantic entanglements and meddling aunts.

By - Apr 11th, 2013 01:34 am
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Matt Daniels, returning to play Jeeves once again at Milwaukee Chamber Theatre.

It’s understandable that an actor might have the opportunity to play a certain role more than once in their career. But to play the same character in multiple plays – especially given the relatively small number of plays which feature overlapping characters – is much less likely.

Count Matt Daniels in that small group. The Milwaukee actor has been enlisted by Milwaukee Chamber Theatre to once again set foot upon the Cabot Theater stage as Jeeves, the famous P.G. Wodehouse valet with an uncanny ability to get his employer, Bertie Wooster, out of any sort of trouble, in Jeeves in Bloom, opening Friday.

In 2010’s Jeeves Intervenes, that trouble was an undesired engagement, a friend getting shipped off to India and a case of mistaken ownership of Bertie’s London home. This time, Daniels says, Jeeves will be helping Bertie survive the English countryside, where he’ll get roped into trouble of the romantic and larcenous variety by his loving Aunt Dahlia.

Daniels says he’s not surprised that MCT decided to bring another Margaret Raether adaptation to town, as the original seemed to be a success with Milwaukee audiences. “These plays are like candy,” he said. “They’re sweet, fun, great entertainment to get lost in for a couple hours.”

Matt Daniels first appeared as Jeeves in "Jeeves Intervenes," a Wodehouse adaptation by Margaret Raether produced by MCT in 2010. Photo credit Mark Frohna.

Matt Daniels first appeared as Jeeves in “Jeeves Intervenes,” a Wodehouse adaptation by Margaret Raether produced by MCT in 2010. Photo credit Mark Frohna.

Part of that, Daniels argues, comes from the novelty of the stories, less familiar to American audiences (Wodehouse is a quintessentially British author), and it’s also a spiritual predecessor to the modern sitcom, with its stock characters placed in various situations. Also likely an influence: the appeal of having someone like his character on hand in daily life. “It’d be great if everyone had a guardian angel like Jeeves,” Daniels said.

Daniels isn’t the only member of the original production returning – director Tami Workentin directed the earlier show, and some of the other production crew members worked on the show with her – but the remainder of the cast is entirely new, either because they weren’t in the original or because the roles have been recast. But Daniels says reprising the role has been going well, despite that difference. “It’s interesting to have a different Bertie … we’re trying not to force the old version, and develop something new.”

MCT’s run of Jeeves in Bloom is Daniels’ priority for now, but when asked to consider the possibility to return to Jeeves should Chamber request him to – after all, Raether has another Jeeves adaptation written – he said he’d certainly keep the possibility open. “I’ve enjoyed creating this idea of a character that comes back again and again,” he said. “And it’s fun to always have all the answers.”

As part of this interview, I asked Matt to “bring in Jeeves” for a few questions of his own. With a little help from Sahan Jayasuriya on sound engineering, we were able to put together the following exclusive interview with Jeeves himself.

[audio:http://urbanmilwaukeedial.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/JEEVES.mp3|titles=Jeeves visits Third Coast Daily]

Milwaukee Chamber Theatre’s production of Jeeves in Bloom runs April 12 through April 28. The cast also features Karen Estrada, Marcy Kearns, Chase Stoeger, Norman Moses and Matt Koester. Tickets are $33.50 and can be purchased online or at (414) 291-7800.

Categories: Theater

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