Q&A: CTC Conservatory Actor Madeline Seidman Balances Acting and Singing

Madeline Seidman

Who: Madeline Seidman, Chautauqua Theater Company conservatory actor.

She takes the stage in CTC’s production of The Christians as the shy, yet determined, Congregant Jenny. Seidman said her favorite part of the role has been digging into the philosophical and theological themes of the show.

“We really got to spend a lot of time working with each other at the table,” Seidman said. “We got to share our own personal stories about religious upbringings, to explore the religious aspects of the show and to ask some questions of our own.”

She also enjoys how the show sheds light on the human aspects of a religious community, and how personal relationships play a part in whether or not people stick to their beliefs.

Where she’s from: Originally from Wesport, Connecticut, Seidman currently lives in New Haven, Connecticut. She’s currently pursuing her MFA in acting at the Yale School of Drama.

Her first exposure to performing in theater was in her community’s theater programs for children. After that, she began performing in shows for her schools.

“I really love the transformative aspect of theater,” Seidman said. “At the same time, it’s a really inclusive environment and you’re able to form a community while exploring change.” 

Favorite theater memory: Playing an opera singer in her sixth grade performance of the musical Barnum, a show about the traveling circus and raucous life of P.T. Barnum.

Seidman had never had any opera training, but said she just leapt into it.

“(The character) was also Swedish,” Seidman said. “So learning both how to sing opera and how to do that accent was so much fun. I loved taking that risk and being challenged.”

Favorite food: Pot roast or brisket.

Her mother has a recipe for both, and Seidman said few other foods topped these homemade dishes.

What she’s reading: Hamlet, at the moment.

Next year, her drama program will be focusing entirely on Shakespeare, so Seidman is working to prepare.

“I know that work will be tough, so I’m trying to read ahead and get ahead,” Seidman said.

What she’s watching: A whole lot of nothing.

She’s currently shopping around for a good show to get into, but said there’s so much out there to choose from that it’s hard to differentiate between what’s worthwhile and what’s just fluff.

Previously, she’s enjoyed “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.”

Favorite part of the Chautauqua community: She’s appreciated the community commitment to asking big questions.

“It’s not just the arts programming, but the tie-ins to all the lectures,” Seidman said. “It’s been so cool to have people come up and ask me questions about the show and the themes. The inquisitiveness of the people here has been a lot of fun.”

Fictional character she’d love to meet: Hermione Granger.

Seidman said that Granger is someone she finds inspiring, powerful and intelligent; someone she’d love to hang out with.

“I’d love to just pick her brain and talk with her,” Seidman said. “It wouldn’t hurt if she could teach me some spells too.”

Dream vacation: Seidman said she’d love to go to London to bring her love for theater and Harry Potter together.

“There’s such a vibrant theater scene over there right now,” Seidman said. “I’d love to go and just take that in.”

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The author Duard Headley

Duard Headley is from tiny Yellow Springs, Ohio, and studies journalism and American studies at Miami University in Ohio. Coming hot off the heels of performing in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream last summer, he is excited to cover theater at Chautauqua, merging his love for writing and theater into one experience. In his free time, he enjoys acting, reading, and staring wistfully into the distance as though he were deep in thought (He usually isn’t).