Transcript: Jeff Hyslop | Mar 07, 1997

(Rhythmic string and wind music plays)

In animation, a word in pink slides by against a gray background as hands paint strokes using paintbrushes, play a piano, and touch as in a ballet performance.

The title of the show reads “Dialogue.”

The title of the episode pops up against an image of Richard Ouzounian and his guest sitting by a round table on a theatre stage: Jeff Hyslop, Actor.

Richard appears facing the screen. He's in his late forties, clean-shaven, with short side-parted blond hair. He's wearing oversized glasses, a purple suit, and a striped blue shirt.

He says I'M RICHARD OUZOUNIAN.
WELCOME TO DIALOGUE.
IF YOU GO TO THE THEATRE,
YOU'VE PROBABLY SEEN MY NEXT
GUEST IN NEW YORK OR LONDON
OR ALL AROUND CANADA.
BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, IF YOU
HAVE CHILDREN AND WATCH
TV ONTARIO, YOU'VE SEEN HIM
EXCHANGING WOODY BANTER
WITH SAM AND MUFFY.
NO, THIS ISN'T
TODAY'S
SPECIAL, BUT TODAY IS SPECIAL
BECAUSE THIS DIALOGUE
IS WITH JEFF HYSLOP.

He turns to his guest and says
SO JEFF, WHEN YOU CAME BACK
INTO TV ONTARIO TODAY,
I NOTICED EVERYONE WAS SAYING
HELLO BECAUSE I MEAN,
HOW MANY YEARS AGO WAS
TODAY'S SPECIAL?

Jeff is in his late thirties, clean-shaven, with short curly brown hair. He’s wearing a gray turtleneck sweatshirt.

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Jeff Hyslop. Actor."

Jeff says WELL, WE DID 125 HALF HOURS
OVER SIX AND A HALF YEARS
OF TAPING.
FROM ROUGHLY 1980
TO 1987, IN THERE.

Richard says NOW, THE STRANGE THING ABOUT
CHILDREN'S TELEVISION,
IT'S STILL AROUND.
WE STILL SHOW IT.
THERE IS STILL A WHOLE
GENERATION OF KIDS WHO THINK
IF THEY PULL OFF YOUR HAT,
YOU'LL HAVE TO STOP MOVING.
WHAT DOES THAT DO TO YOU?

Jeff says WELL, I'M VERY PROUD
OF THE WORK, YOU KNOW?
I'M PROUD THE SERIES
IS CONTINUING.
I'M PROUD THERE'S A LEGACY.
I'M PROUD WHEN I GET STOPPED
IN AIRPORTS AND MALLS.
THAT'S WHERE FAMILIES
SORT OF TEND TO GATHER.
AND THEY HAVE VERY
GOOD MEMORIES.
THEIR MEMORIES ARE GOOD ABOUT,
WE REARRANGED DINNER TIME SO
WE COULD ALL SIT AND
WATCH
TODAY'S SPECIAL.
OR THOSE KINDS OF STORIES.
AND JUST THE KIDS, WHATEVER
THEATRE I'M DOING, YOU KNOW
WHETHER I'M TOURING WITH
PHANTOM OR WHATEVER,
THEY'RE AT THE STAGE DOOR.
AND THEY'VE ALL GROWN UP
WITH
TODAY'S SPECIAL.

Richard says WHEN YOU FIRST STARTED OUT,
DID YOU EVER THINK IT WAS
GOING TO GO THAT FAR,
OR LAST THAT LONG?

Jeff says NO.
WE KNEW WE HAD
SOMETHING SPECIAL.
WE KNEW IT WAS A
CLASS ACT KIDS' SHOW.
BUT YOU KNOW YOU FORGET HOW
FAR-REACHING TELEVISION CAN BE.
AND IT GOT INTO MORE HOMES,
AND IT STARTED WITH ONTARIO,
OBVIOUSLY, AND IT JUST WENT
ACROSS, DOWN INTO THE STATES,
AUSTRALIA, HONG KONG,
YOU KNOW, IT JUST WENT
ALL THE WAY AROUND.

Richard says YOU KNOW WHAT'S INTERESTING,
A LOT OF CHILDREN'S SHOWS
DATE SO QUICKLY THAT, I MEAN,
THE SHELF LIFE IS WORSE THAN
YOGURT, THEY'VE GOT TO
DITCH IT RIGHT AWAY.
BUT I MEAN, I WAS WATCHING
A TODAY'S SPECIAL
NOT THAT
LONG AGO, AND IT
STILL HOLDS UP.
IT STILL SEEMS TO BE THE SHOW
I WATCHED WITH MY DAUGHTER
SEVEN, EIGHT YEARS AGO.
I THINK PART OF IT IS
THE ENTERTAINMENT VALUE.
IT'S ALSO SOMETHING THE ADULTS
CAN WATCH BECAUSE THEY TOOK
ADVANTAGE OF YOU AND
LET YOU SING AND DANCE.

Jeff says RIGHT, RIGHT.
AND THE FACT WE WERE REALLY
DOING MINI MUSICALS EVERY SHOW.
UNLESS IT WAS A PARTICULARLY
DRAMATIC PLOT LINE, WHICH
WE DID HAVE SOME IN THE
LATER PART OF THE TAPING.
BUT, REALLY, WE WERE LEARNING
SIX TO TEN NEW SONGS PER SHOW.
IT WAS ALL ORIGINALLY
DONE, COMPOSED.
CLIVE VANDERBURGH JUST WORKING
HIS LITTLE WRITER'S HAND OFF
EVERY SHOW.
YEAH.

Richard says YOU USE THE WORD MINI
MUSICAL, WHICH IS INTERESTING
BECAUSE YOU SPENT THE LAST
FIVE YEARS DOING MEGA MUSICALS.
I WANT TO GET INTO THAT
SHORTLY, BUT YOU CALL YOURSELF
A DANCING MAN.
DID YOU KNOW FROM THE VERY
START, YOU KNOW, GROWING UP IN
BRITISH COLUMBIA, THAT THAT
WAS GOING TO BE YOUR LIFE?

Jeff says I THINK I DID.
EVEN THOUGH ME THINKS HE DOTH
PROTEST TOO MUCH, I MEAN,
I WAS JUST PETRIFIED OF IT.
YET I WAS DRAWN TO THE
FRED ASTAIRE MOVIES ON TV.
OR LITERALLY, AS MY
CHARACTER IN
CHORUS LINE,
I'M WATCHING SIS GO PIT-A-PAT.
I'D WATCH MY SISTER AT
HER REHEARSALS FOR LITTLE
COMMUNITY SHOWS.
SHE WAS A BATON TWIRLER AND A
TAP DANCER, AND I WOULD SIT
ON THE SIDELINES
AND JUST WATCH HER.
AND, FINALLY, SOMEBODY SAID,
TAKE HIM TO GRACE MCDONALD.
AND I WENT TO GRACE MACDONALD
AND STARTED GYMNASTICS.

Richard says GRACE MACDONALD IS
A LEGENDARY WOMAN.
SHE WAS A TEACHER AND
CHOREOGRAPHER, AND MY GOD,
I WORKED WITH HER
25 YEARS AGO NOW.
AND SHE BROUGHT YOU
UP ALONG THE WAY.

Jeff says TRADITION.

Richard says ABSOLUTELY.
SHE, AT ONE POINT, MUST HAVE
GIVEN YOU A PUSH, AND LET YOU
KNOW YOU COULD BE MORE
THAN BE A GOOD KID.
DO YOU RECALL WHEN
THAT MOMENT WAS?

Jeff says I THINK WHEN SHE JUST
TOOK ME BY THE HAND.
THE VERY FIRST TIME I
WAS IN A BALLET CLASS.
SHE ENTERED THE
STUDIO ONE DAY.
SHE TOOK ME BY THE HAND AWAY
FROM THE BAR, AND MARCHED ME
INTO THE NEXT CLASS.
UP THROUGH -- I GRADUATED BY
WALKING THROUGH THAT DOOR
INTO THE NEXT LEVEL.
AND FROM THAT TIME ON, SHE
REALLY HAD HANDS-ON WITH ME.
SHE WOULD SAY, JEFFREY, IT WAS
ALWAYS 'JEFFREY', YOU ARE NOW
GOING TO DANCE WITH
THE BOLSHOI BALLET.
I HAD NO CHOICE.
THAT'S THE WAY IT WAS.
AND I WOULD GO HOME AND I
WOULD SAY TO MUM AND DAD,
I'M GOING TO DANCE WITH THE
BOLSHOI BALLET, OH, MY GOD.
BUT I THINK IT WAS THAT, JUST
THAT FIRM PUSH ALL THE TIME.
IT WASN'T STAGE MOTHER, IT
WASN'T ANYTHING LIKE THAT.
IT WAS ABSOLUTELY HEALTHY.
IT WAS JUST MOTIVATED.

Richard says WHEN DID IT CROSS THE LINE
INTO BEING EMPHATICALLY AND
FOREVER AND EVER
MUSICAL THEATRE?

Jeff says WELL, I GOT THE BITE
VERY EARLY WHEN I WAS 11.
SHE PUT ME INTO
BYE BYE
BIRDIE, I PLAYED
RANDOLPH McAFEE AT
U.B.C., OUR OLD ALUMNI.

Richard says RIGHT.

Jeff says AND I HAD LINES.
AND I HAD A SONG.
I HAD TWO SONGS.
AND I DIDN'T DANCE.
WELL, I THOUGHT, THIS WAS
GREAT, I DIDN'T HAVE TO SWEAT.
SO THAT'S REALLY WHEN I
REALIZED I COULD DO MORE
THAN JUST DANCE.
AND AT THAT POINT, I WAS
STRICTLY, WELL, DANCING,
I GUESS IT'S THE GREATEST
THING SINCE SLICED BREAD.

Richard says WAS THE NEXT BIG
MOVE TO CHARLOTTETOWN?

Jeff says YEAH, YEAH.

Richard says AND YOU SPENT, WHAT IS
IT, FOUR YEARS AS GILBERT?

Jeff says FOUR SEASONS, YEAH.

Richard says NOW, AGAIN,
ANNE OF GREEN
GABLES
IS STILL GOING.
IT'S LIKE CANADA'S OLD
MAN RIVER, IT JUST KEEPS
ROLLING ALONG.
BUT YOU WERE ON FAIRLY
EARLY IN THE PROCESS.

Jeff says YEAH.

Richard says YOU SAY 'YEAH'.
WE WON'T SAY HOW MANY
YEARS AGO IT WAS.

Jeff says A LOT OF YEARS AGO.

Richard says AGAIN, DID YOU HAVE THE FEELING
YOU WERE PART OF A CANADIAN
CLASSIC AT THAT POINT?

Jeff says YEAH, YEAH.
IT WAS BECAUSE OF THE QUALITY
OF WORK, ONCE AGAIN, I'VE
BEEN VERY FORTUNATE IN THE
PROJECTS THAT I'VE BEEN
ASSOCIATED WITH HAVE ALWAYS
HAD A CERTAIN CALIBRE OF
QUALITY AND POTENTIAL.
AND WHEN I AUDITIONED FOR
THE ROLE OF GILBERT BLYTHE,
IT WAS A BIG THING.
YOU KNOW, IT MADE HEADLINES
THAT THEY WERE CASTING
THESE TWO ROLES.
THE NEW ANNE AND
THE NEW GILBERT.
IT WAS LIKE, I WOULD IMAGINE,
YOU KNOW, GETTING ONE OF THE
BIG ROLES IN THE BIG SHOWS
NOWADAYS, WAY BACK THEN.
SO WHAT HAPPENED WAS WE DID
THAT, BUT THEN YOU WERE PUT IN.
IT WAS LIKE GOING TO STRATFORD
OR SHAW, AND BEING IN A GREAT
REP COMPANY.
AND YOU DID ORIGINAL MUSICAL
THEATRE, ON A BROADWAY SCALE
AT THE TIME, WHICH
WAS UNHEARD OF.

Richard says I MEAN, IT'S INTERESTING.
I WAS THINKING BACK TO
CHARLOTTETOWN BECAUSE, I
GUESS, PEOPLE HAVE LOST TRACK
OF WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO IT IN
THE LAST 10-15 YEARS.
BUT THERE USED TO BE
THREE CANADIAN MUSICALS,
BIG MUSICALS A SUMMER.
ONE WAS ANNE, AND THE OTHER
TWO WERE, AS YOU SAID, BRAND
NEW, BROADWAY-SIZE MUSICALS.
WE WERE WRITING THESE MEGA
MUSICALS, BUT NO ONE OUTSIDE
CHARLOTTETOWN, EXCEPT ON
TOUR, WAS PRODUCING THEM.
THEN THE FESTIVAL STARTED TO,
I GUESS I'LL USE THE WORD
DECLINE BECAUSE THAT HAPPENED.
YOU CAME BACK AT ONE POINT
IN THE DECLINE, IN FACT WERE
INVITED BACK TO DIRECT THERE.

Jeff says YEAH.

Richard says DID YOU NOTICE THE CHANGE?

Jeff says YEAH.
WHAT I FELT WAS IT HAD
BECOME MORE INSULAR.
IT'S AN ISLAND.
P.E.I.
IT'S A LITTLE COUNTRY OUT
THERE, VERY SEPARATE,
IT SEEMED, FROM THE REST OF
THE COMMUNITY OF THEATRE.
AND I THINK WHAT I FELT WAS
THEY WANTED IT TO BE MORE SO.
THEY WANTED IT MORE THEIR OWN.
AND BASICALLY, THE CREW, WHO
ARE STILL THE SAME GUYS THAT
WERE THERE WHEN I WAS
PERFORMING, ARE STILL THERE.
SO THERE'S A GREAT KIND
OF FAMILIAL, THIS IS
OUR
THEATRE KIND OF FEELING.
AND WE ARE THE STRANGERS.
WE'RE FROM ABROAD.
WE'RE FROM OUT THERE.

Richard says AWAY.

Jeff says WE'RE FROM AWAY.
SO I THINK THERE'S MORE AND
MORE THAT KIND OF FEELING.
AND I BELIEVE IT SORT OF LOST
A LOT OF ITS FINANCIAL POWER.
SO IT'S NOT DOING THE SCALE OF
PRODUCTION THAT IT USED TO DO.
SO I THINK IT'S LOST THAT
ENERGY AND MOMENTUM THAT IS
SO NECESSARY IN THE
'90s FOR BIG THEATRE.

Richard says ONE OF THE THINGS THAT
REMINDED ME ABOUT IT IS WE
JUST RECENTLY HAD, IN TORONTO,
A NEW MEGA MUSICAL OF
JANE EYRE, WHICH WAS WRITTEN,
SCORED BY AN AMERICAN, BOOKED
BY AN ENGLISHMAN, DIRECTED
BY AN ENGLISHMAN, LEADS FROM
AMERICA LARGELY.
THERE WAS A JANE EYRE YOU
WERE IN IN CHARLOTTETOWN
TWENTY-SOMETHING YEARS AGO.
AND I THOUGHT THE IRONY IS
NOW THAT WE HAVE THE THEATRE
MACHINE TO PRODUCE THESE SHOWS
ON A GREAT SCALE AROUND THE
COUNTRY, WE NO LONGER HAVE THE
FARM TEAM WHERE THE PEOPLE
CAN WRITE THEM.
DOES THAT OFTEN CROSS
YOUR MIND AT ALL?

Jeff says WE DID A PRODUCTION
OF MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS.
WE DID A PRODUCTION
OF JANE EYRE.
WE DID A WONDERFUL THING
CALLED PRIVATE TURVEY'S WAR.
WE DID SUNSHINE TOWN.
THESE WERE REALLY WORTHWHILE,
SOLID, MAJOR BROADWAY SCALE
PIECES.
JOHNNY BELINDA, WHICH IS
STILL ONE OF CHARLOTTETOWN'S
CLASSICS.
I THINK IT'S BEING
REMOUNTED AGAIN.
SO YEAH, IT'S A LOT OF THEATRE
THAT'S GONE BY THE WAY.
AND NOW IT'S BEING
REDISCOVERED TOTALLY
SEPARATELY FROM WHAT
WE DID YEARS AGO.
SO IT'S A LITTLE STRANGE.
DISCONCERTING.

Richard says NOW, AFTER THESE YEARS AT
CHARLOTTETOWN, WHAT WAS THE
NEXT JUMP, THE
NEXT STEP FOR YOU?

Jeff says I THINK A BUNCH OF
TV STUFF FOR CBC.

Richard says OH, WHEN THEY
USED TO DO VARIETY.

Jeff says WHEN THEY USED TO DO VARIETY.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

Richard says IN THOSE DAYS.

Jeff says THEY DO NEWS VERY WELL.
UM, YEAH, I DID, EVERY TV
SUPER SPECIAL, JACK MACANDREW'S
SUPER SPECIAL YOU
COULD EVER WANT TO DO.
I GUESTED ON EVERYONE'S SUPER
SPECIAL UNTIL I FINALLY
GOT MY OWN IN 1980.
CALLED DANCING MAN.
THEN I HAD KAREN AND FRANK
AND HONI COLES AND
ANN REINKING, AND ALL
OF THOSE PEOPLE ON.
AND WE DID A WORLD
CLASS DANCE SPECIAL.
AND THAT WAS SORT OF
THE END OF VARIETY.
IT WAS THE RAYS, THE
RENE SIMARD SHOW.
AND IT JUST PETERED OUT.
AND DANCE AND SONG AND DANCE
AND ENTERTAINMENT WENT
BY THE WAYSIDE.
STAND-UP COMEDY CAME IN.
AND YOU EITHER HAD TO HAVE
A MILLION-SELLING ALBUM,
OR A STAND-UP ACT, AND
THAT WAS VARIETY SUDDENLY.
SO IT REALLY CHANGED.

Richard says BUT BEFORE IT KIND OF
CRUMBLED OUT, YOU WERE ABLE TO
MAKE A LEAP OUT OF IT.
WAS IT, I'M ASSUMING IT WAS
MAYBE THROUGH THESE VARIETY
SPECIALS YOU MET ROB ISCOVE
WHO WAS THE CHOREOGRAPHER FOR
NORMAN JEWISON'S MOVIE OF
JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR
WHICH YOU WOUND UP IN.

Jeff says YEAH.

Richard says IN FACT, IF OUR VIEWERS RENT
THAT VIDEO AND TAKE IT OUT
AGAIN, YOU WILL SEE A JEFF
WITH HAIR DOWN TO ABOUT THERE,
SWEATING IN THE DESERT, YOUR
ARMS GOING UP AND DOWN GOING
CHRIST, YOU KNOW I LOVE YOU.
I MEAN, AGAIN, Mr. JEWISON,
WHAT WAS HE LIKE TO WORK FOR?
WHAT WAS THAT PROJECT
LIKE TO WORK FOR?

Jeff says WELL, THAT WAS A VERY
INTERESTING PROJECT BECAUSE
SUDDENLY YOU'RE GOING OFF
TO A WAR-TORN COUNTRY
TO SHOOT A MOVIE.
A HOLLYWOOD MOVIE.
AND NORMAN JEWISON ARRIVING
EVERY DAY ON THE SET IN HIS
CHAUFFEUR-DRIVEN JAGUAR XJ 12
OR WHATEVER IT WAS, IN THE
PANAMA HAT AND
THE HIKING OUTFIT.
ANDREW LLOYD-WEBBER AND TIM
RICE ARRIVING, YOU KNOW,
IT WAS VERY BIG.
AND THERE WE WERE, LITERALLY
TRAVELLING AROUND TO ALL PARTS
OF ISRAEL FILMING.
IT WAS LIKE WE WERE A TOURING,
A BUS AND TRUCK OF JESUS
CHRIST SUPERSTAR
FILMING IN ISRAEL.

Richard says NOW, IN THE MOVIE, THERE
ARE HINTS THERE'S A MILITARY
ENVIRONMENT OUT THERE, AND
THERE IS WAR OUT THERE.
DID ANY OF THAT
ENCROACH ON YOU?

Jeff says YEAH, IT WAS THERE.
WE WERE OFTEN TIMES TOLD
TO GET DOWN IN THE BUS
TRANSPORTING US FROM LOCATION
TO LOCATION BECAUSE THERE
WERE ARAB SNIPERS HAPPENING,
OR THE JETS THAT FLY OVER IN
SOME SCENES WERE
ACTUALLY NOT PLANNED.
THEY WERE HAPPENING.
WE HAD TO, THE FINAL SCENE,
WE WERE 45 MINUTES FROM THE
GOLAN HEIGHTS SO THE
BOMBS WERE GOING OFF.
AND YOU COULD HEAR THEM.
SO WE HAD TO STOP
FOR THE BOMBS.
THE SOUND.

Richard says I'M JUST SITTING HERE
THINKING, IN 25 YEARS, THERE
ARE TWO THINGS THAT HAVEN'T
CHANGED, ANDREW LLOYD-WEBBER,
AND STRIFE IN THE MIDDLE EAST.
YOU CAME BACK FROM THAT, AND
I GUESS, A PERSONAL NOTE, IT
WAS SHORTLY AFTER THAT THAT
I GOT TO WORK WITH YOU.
WE DID A PRODUCTION OF
GODSPELL
IN VANCOUVER.

Jeff says YES.

Richard says AND YOU WENT ON YOUR
OWN TELEVISION SHOW.
YOU HAD A SERIES
ON CTV FOR A WHILE.

Jeff says YES.
OOMPAHPAH.
WHICH WAS GREAT FUN.
I CO-HOSTED WITH
RUTH NICHOL, MY WIFE.
WE WERE SHORT LIVED.
WE DID 12 HALF HOURS.
IT WAS A SUMMER REPLACEMENT.
BUT WE ACTUALLY DID, WE
THOUGHT HOW CAN WE BE A
VARIETY SHOW AND LIVE ON CTV?
SO WE WERE BAVARIA MEETS
BROADWAY, WE CALLED IT.
WE WERE THIS TYROLEAN BROADWAY
LOUNGE ACT DOING ALL OF OUR
FAVOURITE BROADWAY SHOWS.
IT WAS GREAT.

Richard says IT WORKED FOR A WHILE.

Jeff says IT REALLY WORKED.

Richard says AFTER THAT, I GUESS YOU MADE
THE FIRST OF ONE OF MANY BIG
INCURSIONS FOR YOU.
I REMEMBER WE WERE AGAIN
WORKING ON A PRODUCTION OF
COMPANY
THAT YOU WERE
CHOREOGRAPHING IN VANCOUVER,
WHEN YOU GOT THE CALL TO FLY
TO NEW YORK AND AUDITION FOR
MICHAEL BENNETT FOR THE LONDON
COMPANY OF
A CHORUS LINE.
NOW, AT THAT TIME, IT'S HARD
TO THINK BACK TO IT BECAUSE
THE MOVIE OF CHORUS LINE HAS
BLOTTED SO MANY PEOPLE'S
MEMORIES, BUT 20 YEARS AGO,
A CHORUS LINE
WAS THE HOLY
GRAIL TO ALL OF US WHO
WORKED IN MUSICAL THEATRE.
AND TO HEAR YOU WERE GOING TO
MEET THE HIGH PRIEST OF THIS
AND WORK FOR HIM.

Jeff says AND IT WAS ESPECIALLY IRONIC
BECAUSE WE WERE WORKING ON
ONE OF HIS PIECES,
COMPANY.

Richard says RIGHT, BECAUSE HE HAD
CHOREOGRAPHED
COMPANY.

Jeff says I REMEMBER COMING TO TORONTO
TO THE OLD MASONIC TEMPLE ON
DAVENPORT AND AVENUE ROAD,
I THINK IT'S STILL THERE.
AND 400 OTHER
PEOPLE... ARRIVING,
BEING GIVEN NUMBER
ONE ON MY DANCE CARD.
I'D NEVER HAD A DANCE CARD.
I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT
A DANCE CARD WAS.
AND YOU HANDED THOSE IN,
AND THEY PUT MARKS
ON YOUR DANCE CARDS.
SO I REMEMBER STEPPING UP AND
SAYING TO MICHAEL, I'M DOING
ONE OF YOUR SHOWS RIGHT NOW.
AND HE JUST SORT OF GUIDED ME,
ONCE AGAIN, HE JUST GUIDED ME
RIGHT THROUGH THAT
WHOLE AUDITION PROCESS.
I WAS THERE FOR
ABOUT SIX HOURS.
AND SLOWLY, IT WAS 200 PEOPLE,
THEN IT WAS A HUNDRED PEOPLE,
THEN IT WAS... AND WE
WERE ELIMINATED.
AND THERE WERE ABOUT SEVEN
OF US LEFT BY THE END
OF THE DAY.
AND IT WAS... I
LEFT ON A CLOUD.
IT WAS ONE OF THOSE INCREDIBLY
ELATING, LEGENDARY...
THAT'S ONE AUDITION THAT
WILL GO IN THE BIOGRAPHY.
IT WAS GREAT.

Richard says AND THEN WHEN YOU WORKED ON
THE SHOW, YOU WERE THE FIRST
REPLICATED COMPANY SO YOU
DIDN'T GET THAT TIRED FEELING
LATER OF GO TO POINT
A AND DO POINT B.
AND IN FACT, IT WAS SO FRESH
STILL THAT BENNETT LET YOU
INCORPORATE SOME OF YOUR
PARTICULAR DANCING SKILLS.

Jeff says YEAH, HE WAS VERY INSISTENT
UPON UTILIZING BECAUSE HE
DIDN'T WANT ANYBODY TO
BE BORED OR COMPLACENT.
SO IF HE SAW YOUR POTENTIAL,
HE REALLY PUSHED YOU
TO THAT LEVEL.
AND MYSELF AND DON CORREIA, WHO
LATER MARRIED SANDY DUNCAN,
HE ALLOWED US TO HAVE
INDIVIDUAL INTERPRETATIONS
OF “I CAN DO THAT.”

Richard says WHEN YOU WORKED WITH BENNETT,
IT WAS STILL EARLY ON.
THE BIOGRAPHIES NOW TELL US
THAT SHORTLY AFTER CHORUS LINE
BECAME A HUGE HIT, HE
STARTED TO TRASH HIS LIFE
WITH DRUGS AND ALCOHOL, AND
THEN FINALLY DIED OF AIDS.
AND THERE WAS A BIG
HORRIBLE DOWNWARD CURVE
IN THE LAST DECADE.
WAS HE STILL UP, UP, UP
WHEN YOU WORKED WITH HIM?

Jeff says OH, YEAH.
EVEN AFTER THAT.
YOU KNOW, HE WAS VERY, VERY
CREATIVE ALL THE TIME.
HE WAS ALWAYS THERE.
EVEN WHEN WE'D FINISHED
CHORUS LINE, YEARS LATER,
WE WOULD LITERALLY RUN INTO HIM
IN NEW YORK AT THE THEATRE.
HE HAD BEEN CALLED IN TO
DOCTOR CERTAIN SHOWS THAT WERE
STILL IN PREVIEWS.
VERY VITAL, VERY TALENTED.
YOU KNOW, JUST INCREDIBLE,
INCREDIBLE WORK.
DREAM GIRLS, BALLROOM.

Richard says HE TOOK YOU TO
LONDON WITH THE SHOW.
AND THEATRE LEGEND HAS THAT
THE OPENING NIGHT AT DRURY LANE,
WAS IT, I BELIEVE?
KENNETH -- I'M THINKING BENEDICT
NIGHTINGALE WROTE HE SAID
PROBABLY THE CHEERS ARE STILL
ECHOING IN THE THEATRE
EVEN TODAY.
WHY DO YOU THINK LONDONERS
EMBRACED THAT SHOW
SO VEHEMENTLY?

Jeff says OH, GOSH, IT'S A MYSTERY.
I THINK THE SIMPLICITY
OF THE SHOW.
THEY JUST GOT IT.
THEY GOT THE SHEER
TALENT, THE SHEER...
IT'S JUST THE SIMPLICITY
AND ATTACK OF THE SHOW.
THE SHOW, I MEAN, THE SHOW,
IT SAYS EVERYTHING, SUCH A
THEATRICAL COMMUNITY IN
THE WEST END, IN ENGLAND,
THEY ARE SO AWARE OF IT.
AND IT WAS IN A HUGE THEATRE.
AND IT'S SUCH AN
INTIMATE SHOW, YOU KNOW.
IT WAS A MYSTERY, YOU KNOW,
THAT IT TRANSLATED, ESPECIALLY
BECAUSE IT WAS SO AMERICAN.
AND I THINK THE ONLY OTHER
SHOW THAT HAD DONE THAT WAS
WEST SIDE WHEN IT WENT THERE.
IT WAS THIS BIG HIT, BUT
THEY DIDN'T QUITE KNOW.

Richard says AND HOW MANY YEARS
DID YOU STAY WITH IT?

Jeff says I WAS WITH IT FOR
TWO AND A HALF YEARS.
AND I DID IT HERE IN TORONTO
FOR THREE MONTHS ORIGINALLY.
I THINK, WE PUT THE
TICKETS ON SALE.
THEY WERE SOLD
OUT IN 24 HOURS.
THEY PUT ANOTHER BLOCK ON,
AND IT WAS SOLD OUT AGAIN
IN ANOTHER 24 HOURS.
IT'S JUST A VERY HOT TICKET.
AND SIX MONTHS IN LONDON, AND
THEN AT LEAST A YEAR AND A
HALF TOURING, AND THEN
SIX MONTHS ON BROADWAY.

Richard says NOW, YOU CAME BACK FROM THAT,
AND AGAIN, PEOPLE THINK,
OH, YOUR CAREER IS MADE.
YOU'VE DONE LONDON, YOU'VE
DONE BROADWAY, YOU'VE DONE ALL
OF THIS, BUT YET WHEN YOU CAME
BACK TO CANADA, IT'S NOT THAT
YOU LACKED FOR WORK FOR
A WHILE, YOU STARRED IN
STRATFORD, YOU WERE IN THE
GRAND THEATRE COMPANY, YOU
DIRECTED A LOT, YOU
CHOREOGRAPHED A LOT, BUT THERE
WASN'T THIS ONGOING THRUST
WHICH HAPPENS TO EVERYONE.
I MEAN, PEOPLE SAY TO YOU,
WHAT'S A CAREER IN
CANADIAN THEATRE?

Jeff says HE LAUGHS.

Richard says WITH A LITTLE BITTERNESS.
WHAT WAS IT LIKE FOR
YOU IN THE '80s THERE?

Jeff says WELL, I WAS VERY FORTUNATE.
I WAS LUCKY.
I REALLY DIDN'T STOP TO BLINK.
I MEAN I WAS WORKING.
I WAS DOING
TODAY'S SPECIAL.
I WAS DOING STRATFORD.
I WAS DOING THE SEASON AT
LONDON AND DOING
TODAY'S
SPECIAL
AT THE SAME TIME.
I WAS DRIVING LIKE A MANIAC
ON THE 401 BACK AND FORTH.
I WAS VERY FORTUNATE.
BUT, YOU KNOW, THAT WAS A
HEYDAY FOR THE BUSINESS.
I THINK UNLESS YOU ARE IN A
BIG COMPANY OR A BIG SHOW,
AND YOU HAVE A CERTAIN AMOUNT
OF TIME YOU CAN DO ONE SHOW AT
A TIME, THAT IT
REALLY DOESN'T EXIST.
IT'S VERY DIFFICULT TO
CONNECT ALL THE DOTS NOW.
BECAUSE PEOPLE WANT A
DIFFERENCE SO OFTEN BECAUSE
THE AUDIENCES DEMAND SO MUCH.

Richard says THAT'S IT.
THE NEXT BIG BLOCK OF YOUR
LIFE, 1990, YOU CAME AND
AUDITIONED FOR HAL PRINCE.
HE DECIDED YOU WOULD BE
THE PHANTOM IN THE FIRST
TOURING COMPANY HE'D
LET GARTH TAKE OUT.
AND YOU PLAYED THE PHANTOM
TO GREAT ACCLAIM ALL OVER.
AND THEN BECAUSE YOU WERE
PART OF THE DRABINSKY LIVENT
EMPIRE, YOU THEN TOOK OVER
THE ROLE OF MOLINA IN
KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN
AND PLAYED THAT IN LONDON.
AND THERE WAS A WHILE, WASN'T
IT, WHERE YOU WERE BOUNCING
BACK AND FORTH FROM
PHANTOM TO MOLINA?

Jeff says WELL, THAT WAS
A DIFFICULT TIME.
YOU KNOW, WHEN... IT'S FUNNY,
WHEN YOU CAN DO TWO ROLES,
IT'S LIKE BEING IN THE
REPERTOIRE COMPANY OF THE
FAST LANE, YOU KNOW,
ON THAT LEVEL.
ONLY YOU ARE DOING
THESE MEGA SHOWS.
AND I CAN DO A PHANTOM, AND I
CAN DO A MOLINA, AND YOU'VE
GOT ALL THESE ROLES
IN YOUR BACK POCKET.
SO YES, THERE WAS A TIME I WAS
IN MONTREAL AND GARTH SAID,
YOU KNOW, I THINK WE NEED
YOU TO DO MOLINA IN LONDON.
AND WE ARE GOING TO LEAVE
A COMPANY RUNNING THERE.
SO WE ARE GOING TO MOVE
THAT COMPANY TO NEW YORK,
AND YOU'LL GO THERE.
SO WE DID THAT
FOR SIX MONTHS.
AND I CAME BACK.
I THOUGHT I'D HAVE
A NICE VACATION.
AND GARTH SAID DON'T UNPACK,
YOU'RE COMING TO NEW YORK.
BRENT'S LEAVING THE SHOW,
AND YOU'RE COMING IN.
SO I LITERALLY DID NOT
UNPACK AND WENT TO NEW YORK.
AND WITHIN THE FIRST FIVE
MONTHS OF THE RUN THERE, WHICH
WAS UNBELIEVABLE BECAUSE,
YOU KNOW, THE SHOW WAS STILL
NUMBER ONE SHOW ON BROADWAY,
SO I WAS ABLE TO FEEL LIKE I
HAD BEEN A PART OF THAT WHOLE...
NOT SUCCESS, BUT THE EXCITEMENT
OF THAT BEING A FIRST
RUN SHOW AND GETTING
FIRST RUN AUDIENCES.

Richard says BUT FIVE YEARS OF THAT,
AS YOU CALL IT IN THE MEGA
MUSICAL FAST LANE, TRAVELLING
ALL OVER THE WORLD, PLAYING
THESE ROLES IN THESE BIG
HOUSES, WHEN IT FINALLY ENDS,
AND THE FIVE YEARS IS UP AND
YOU SAY ENOUGH, I WANT OFF,
WHAT DO YOU FEEL LIKE THEN?
YOU'VE HAD ALL THAT
CENTRIFUGAL FORCE.

Jeff says YOU FEEL AWFUL.
I FINISHED IN NEW YORK, AND
ONCE AGAIN, GARTH HAD ASKED ME
TO GO AND DO PHANTOM AGAIN.
SO I WAS FLIPPING BACK AND
FORTH BETWEEN THESE RATHER
AMAZING ROLES.
SO I WENT AND LAUNCHED THE
NATIONAL COMPANY AGAIN OF
PHANTOM ON A SECOND
LEG OF THEIR TOUR.
AND I LASTED ABOUT 11 WEEKS.
AND THEN I JUST GOT...
I GOT PHYSICALLY ILL.
AND I WENT HOME TO VANCOUVER,
AND FOR ABOUT A YEAR,
I JUST WORKED ON MYSELF.
I WORKED ON MUSIC.
I STAGED MY DAUGHTER'S
PRODUCTION OF JOSEPH
AT HER SCHOOL.
I JUST DID THOSE KINDS
OF THINGS, WHICH REALLY
HELPED CENTRE ME.
AND I ALSO DID, I GOT MY ONE
MAN SHOW TOGETHER, AND I ALSO
DID KISS OF THE SPIDER
WOMAN AGAIN IN VANCOUVER.

Richard says I WAS GOING TO SAY, THE
DESIRE TO DO THE ONE MAN SHOW,
AFTER ALL THIS TIME WITH
CHORUS LINE, AND
PHANTOM
AND
SPIDER WOMAN, PUTTING YOUR
HEART AND SOUL INTO PARTS THAT
YOU DIDN'T GET A CHANCE TO
CREATE FIRST, IS THAT WHY YOU
WANTED TO GET OUT THERE
AND DO SOMETHING THAT WAS
UNIQUELY YOURS?

Jeff says PARTLY, YES.
BECAUSE I KEPT BUGGING GARTH.
I WANT A ROLE OF MY OWN.
I WANT TO ORIGINATE A ROLE.
YES, IT WAS A LOT OF THAT.
AND I GOT TO DO MATERIAL THAT
I HAVE DONE IN MY CAREER
FROM A VERY EARLY AGE.
BUT I ALSO GOT TO PUT IT
OUT THERE AND THEN MOVE ON.
AND I THINK THAT'S A LOT OF
THE REASON I DID THE SHOW WAS
TO GO, OKAY, NOW I'M THIS FAR,
AND NOW I CAN ACTUALLY LOOK AT
THAT CHAPTER OR THOSE CHAPTERS
FROM A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE
AND GO ON FROM HERE.

Richard says SO IF YOU EMBRACE ALL THAT
PAST, EVERYTHING YOU HAD FROM,
AND IN THE SHOW, AND ON THE
RECORDING YOU HAVE OF YOUR CD
WHERE YOU DO THE MATERIAL,
YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR YOUTH
AND THE PARTS YOU PLAYED
AND UP TO YOUR TRIUMPHS
IN THESE OTHER ROLES.
YOU'VE TAKEN IT, AND AS YOU
SAY NOW, YOU'VE LET IT GO.
YOU START FROM THE
BEGINNING AGAIN.
NOW, IS THAT SCARY?
YOU KNOW, YOU'RE
IN YOUR MID-FORTIES.

Jeff says IT'S TOTALLY SCARY.
IT'S UNBELIEVABLE.
IT IS... BECAUSE THERE
SEEMS TO BE NO CONTINUITY.
YOU'RE ONLY AS GOOD OR AS
IMPORTANT OR AS CURRENT
AS YOUR LAST JOB OR WHATEVER.
AND IT'S REALLY FRIGHTENING.
AND, YOU KNOW, WHEN I WAS 15,
AND I GOT ON A PLANE TO COME
AND AUDITION FOR GILBERT
BLYTHE IN TORONTO,
I WAS IN VANCOUVER, I WAS
GOING TO BE A WRITER.
THAT'S WHAT I
WANTED TO BE.
MY EDUCATION WAS
GOING TOWARDS THAT.
AND I HAD WRITTEN AN
ORATORICAL SPEECH FOR THE
ORATORICAL COMPETITION, AND I
MISSED DOING THE FINAL SPEECH
BECAUSE OF THIS AUDITION.
AND I HAD TO CHOOSE, WHEN I
WAS 15 WHETHER I REALLY --
BECAUSE I SOMEHOW KNEW
I WAS GOING TO WIN IT.
'COS I HAD GONE, I'M
GOING TO DO THIS.
I'M GOING TO GET UP.
I'M NOT GOING TO BE
INTIMIDATED BY HIGH SCHOOL AT
THE TIME, WHENEVER THAT WAS,
IN THE '60s, THE LATE '60s.
IT WAS A PRETTY ROUGH SCHOOL.
AND I THOUGHT, NO, I'M
GOING TO SAY THIS SPEECH,
I'M GOING TO BE COMMITTED.
AND I CHOSE TO GO TO TORONTO
AND AUDITION FOR THE PART
OF GILBERT BLYTHE.
AND I MISSED OUT
ON THE COMPETITION.
AND I ALWAYS REGRETTED THAT.

Richard says SO WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO
DO WITH THAT REGRET NOW?

Jeff says WELL, I'M BUSY WRITING.
I AM.
I'VE BEEN WRITING
FOR ABOUT A YEAR NOW.
I'VE FOLLOWED JULIA CAMERON'S
ARTIST'S WAY, AND SHE WROTE
THIS BOOK, THIS COURSE,
THIS THREE-MONTH COURSE
ON WRITER'S BLOCK.
IT'S A CURE FOR WRITER'S
BLOCK, BUT IT'S ALSO A
WONDERFUL STIMULUS TO
GET UP IN THE MORNING.
AND SHE CALLS THEM
YOUR MORNING PAGES.
SO I GET UP EVERY MORNING
AND I WRITE THREE PAGES.
AND SOME MORNINGS YOU GET UP
AND YOU GO I DON'T REALLY FEEL
LIKE WRITING, BUT...
BEFORE YOU KNOW IT, FOUR
SENTENCES LATER, YOU'RE
WRITING WHATEVER
YOU ARE THINKING.
AND IT'S REALLY OPENED UP A
LOT OF MY PAST, AND I'M ABLE
TO REMEMBER MORE OF THE
DETAILS THAT I'VE REALLY
WANTED TO REMEMBER
OF MY CHILDHOOD.
NOT SO MUCH MY CAREER BECAUSE
IT'S VERY PREVALENT IN MY
HEAD, BUT IT'S MY FAMILY
STUFF, AND MY INNER CHILD,
MY MEMORIES.

Richard says SO REALLY NEVER HAVING HAD
A CHILDHOOD, YOU'RE GOING TO
GET IT AND RECAPTURE IT.
AND AFTER A LIFE OF ACTING ON
THE STAGE AND DIRECTING AND
CHOREOGRAPHING, DO YOU THINK
THERE'S A CHANCE YOU MIGHT
BE WRITING FOR IT?
THAT MIGHT BE WHAT
YOU ARE SAYING?

Jeff says YEAH, YEAH.

Richard says WELL, JEFF, WE WISH
YOU ALL THE BEST.
IT'S BEEN AN INCREDIBLE RIDE.
AND WHEREVER YOU ARE GOING TO
GO, YOU'LL HAVE A GOOD TIME
DOING IT, AND WE'LL
BE WATCHING YOU.
AND WE'RE WITH YOU.

Jeff says THANK YOU.

Richard says JEFF HYSLOP,
THANKS VERY MUCH.

He faces the screen and says
I'M RICHARD OUZOUNIAN
FOR DIALOGUE.
GOOD-BYE FOR NOW.

Music plays as the end slate reads “Dialogue.”

A production of TVOntario. Copyright 1997, The Ontario Educational Communications Authority.

Watch: Jeff Hyslop