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Video: Jeff Daniels, "She Don’t Love Me"
Jeff Daniels has won Emmy and Drama Desk awards and has been nominated for four Golden Globes, four Screen Actors Guild awards and a Tony.
He’s acted in dozens of movies, plays and TV shows.
He’s a playwright, director and founder of the Purple Rose Theatre Company.
He’s a singer, songwriter and musician.
His entourage when he comes to Monroe Wednesday night? “Just me, my wife and my dog.”
Mr. Daniels will show off the musical part of his life when he performs at Monroe County Community College, the final stop in his six-city tour of Michigan. After that, it’s on to Chicago and New York.
On stage, it’ll simply be Mr. Daniels, his guitar and his easy-going style.
“I was between a movie (‘Dumb and Dumber To’) and starting up ‘Newsroom ’ … I was looking for something convenient to do and Michigan’s convenient and there are a lot of nice venues,” said the Chelsea native and resident. So he decided on a concert tour of smaller theaters around the state, he told The Monroe News in a telephone interview Thursday before performing in Traverse City.
To say Mr. Daniels’ shows are only musical concerts wouldn’t be fair. He lets the audience in on glimpses of his life through his stories and songs.
He writes most of the blues folk material he performs and each piece usually is preceded by a background story — sometimes long, sometimes short; sometimes humorous, sometimes touching.
“I’m not too judgmental about what finds its way into a song,” he said of his inspiration. In fact, he jokes about it with his audience: “That sounds like a song,” he’ll recall thinking at the time something is happening to him.
He used to write profusely in notebooks he keeps but he says he’s finding himself a little more judicious now.
“I write about things that might interest the audience about me or Hollywood or are humorous or introspective that people can relate to,” Mr. Daniels, 58, said.
His show is about 50 percent set and 50 percent determined by the audience, he said. If it seems they want to laugh, he’ll go in that direction. If it seems they want to listen, he’ll go that way.
“I want people to have a good time. I want to have a good time,” he said.
Be forewarned, however. That usually means audience participation. Someone’s going to find himself or herself up on stage to help the performer entertain.
“It helps make up for the fact that there’s no band, no dancing girls. It’s fun and it’s unusual. … People will be driving home, saying, ‘ Who knew we’d be doing the Big Bay Shuffle tonight?’ ” Wednesday night’s booking at MCCC came up quickly, said college marketing director Joe Verkennes.
They had tried to get him when they were signing acts last spring for this season, but Mr. Daniels was unavailable. The college is celebrating its 50th anniversary and the La-Z-Boy Center its 10th anniversary and is celebrating with the most popular acts it’s hosted over the years. Mr. Daniels had performed there in 2007 to a sold-out audience.
In November, they were contacted and told he had an opening in January and tickets went on sale at the beginning of the month.
Only about 80 seats in the 500-seat theater were available as of Friday afternoon. The show starts at 7:30 p.m.
For more information, call 384-4272.