In 2006, I was cast as Judas in Gospell while Jeff Kready was cast as Jesus. Such casting could have said something quite profound about our personalities, but it was during this show where Jeff and I became great friends.
It was a summer of change for both of us- personally and professionally. We spent many nights talking through life while drinking beers in a small rural town in southern Illinois. At the end of the summer, I was planning to hit the road as the lead role in a touring regional production of The Full Monty, while Jeff had just landed his first Broadway show in the revival of Les Miserables.
Over the years, Jeff and I have taken road trips together, got our first tattoos together, stood up in each others weddings, watched as we each became fathers, and have had years of memories, laughter, and stories.
One of the things I love most about Jeff is his incredible joy in life. Not only is he a great storyteller, wonderful friend, and incredible performer, but he also loves all parts of life. Even in our friendship when life brought struggle or pain, Jeff was always able to laugh and make others do so, too. I am so thankful for his friendship.
Professionally, Jeff has been in Broadway shows for the last ten years. Not only did he play Jean Valjean in the Les Miserables revival, he was also seen as Tony Elliot, Billy’s older brother, in Billy Elliot, a standby in the revival of Sunday in the Park with George, and most recently starred as Monty Navarro in A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.
In Episode Three of The Why Behind the What, I interview Jeff about his career as Broadway performer. As you’ll hear in the interview, Jeff was a 26-year-old music teacher from Kansas who, on a whim, decided to audition for the revival of Les Mis, and got cast as Jean Valjean’s understudy. He shares a hilarious story about being a tap dancing 10-foot dress as well as the his passion for storytelling.
If you’re interested in learning more about Jeff, check out his website, jeffkready.com or follow him on Twitter. Also, if you’re in NYC, be sure to check out his wife, Nikki Renee Daniels, absolutely kill it as Nabulungi in the Book of Mormon.