Actress Shea Madison on taking challenging roles and becoming a great actress

London Prestige: Tell us a little about yourself, growing up and your passions.

Shea Madison: I grew up in Orlando, Florida with my older sister, Channa, my parents, and my Nana. I had a little bit of an unconventional childhood, as my parents both had day jobs, but were primarily booking gigs with their band, Eve’s Fault. I grew up immersed in the arts and music, and my parents were and still are very supportive of the life I’ve chosen.

I studied theatre at Circle in the Square Theatre School and have a BA from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. After I graduated, I moved to NYC with my doggy, Prudence, and have been hustling and booking roles ever since! In my free time, I enjoy reading, snuggling Pru, finger painting, and long naps on the couch.

London Prestige: What are you currently working on?
Shea Madison: I am currently in production on THE ADVENTURES OF CHEAP CHAD, my very first entirely improvised feature-length film.
London Prestige: What made you take this role in “The Adventures of Cheap Chad”?
Shea Madison: Honestly, the role was sort of written for me! I met Victor Chu on set of a commercial earlier on in the year, and we discussed the possibility of working together again, and before I knew it, he was pitching this idea to me, and I couldn’t turn it down!
London Prestige: What journey does your character go on in the course of the monologues?
Shea Madison: Funnily enough, my character is named after me. So, Shea goes on a sort of emotionally freeing journey, as most Rom-Com leading ladies do. She meets the guy, falls in love, has a series of rough patches, and then eventually comes out better on the other side. Whether or not Chad is still a part of that “better picture,” I can’t say. You’ll have to wait and find out!
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Photo by Emily Cullum
London Prestige: Tell us a little bit more about “The Adventures of Cheap Chad”, what is it about, who else are you working with, and who is the director?
Shea Madison: THE ADVENTURES OF CHEAP CHAD is about a young man, living in Astoria, Queens who is extremely cautious with his money, his time, and his emotions. This film follows Chad for a few weeks while he bargains his way through multiple relationships, some very funny situations, and, eventually, to an understanding that sometimes being cheap is not necessarily a good trait to have.
Victor Chu is the director of this project and he’s brought along some really talented people with him! Zach Stevens plays Chad, my boyfriend. Drew Drake plays Drew, Chad‘s best friend. And Nastassia Maltsava plays Alina, my best friend. We also have various day players and background actors who have all be absolute dolls to work with.
London Prestige: What is the most challenging role you have played and why?
Shea Madison: Allison in LOOK BACK IN ANGER. Allison is nothing like me. It took me a very long time to find a way to relate to her, and still to this day, I think back, and I almost don’t remember playing her. It feels more like an out-of-body experience. Like I was watching myself as this beautiful, strong, militant, British woman, rather than becoming her. That is a challenge I hope I never forget. I want to forever accept roles that push me that hard.
London Prestige: And the most fun one?
Shea Madison: Most Fun is DEFINITELY my most recent film role as Julissa in ZERO ABSOLUTION. The film premieres in October on Amazon Prime! It’s a psychological thriller, and Julissa may not be as sweet as she seems. **evil laugh**
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London Prestige: Describe your biggest accomplishment to date?
Shea Madison: This is always the hardest question to answer because I never feel like I’m doing enough! I have to consistently remind myself that I’ve already made it so much further than others do. That I’m in New York City, paying my bills as an actor, working constantly as an actor, and moving further and further up within the industry itself.
It’s difficult to put into perspective when you spend every day working as hard as you can, but I’d say my biggest achievement is exactly that. I may not have my name in the papers, but I’m always contracted and always working toward what’s next, which is exactly what I’ve wished for. To be a successfully working actor. 
London Prestige: What training / education do you have? How has your training prepared you for you acting career?
Shea Madison: I attended Circle in the Square Theatre School’s Musical Theatre Summer Intensive, and studied at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville for a BA in Theatre. I am very fortunate to have had a taste of both University schooling and Conservatory Training, as well as having been able to work within an Equity Theatre while I was still in school.
Nothing could have taught me more than simply learning among and alongside the people who are currently in the industry, but most importantly, I had instructors that pushed me to my absolute limit, and taught me that I can handle anything, so long as I prepare for it and I keep working hard. That’s being an actor in NYC–hard work and perseverance, even when you feel like you can’t, or like you’re not moving anywhere. You keep going.
London Prestige: Is there any academy or professional in the field that you enjoyed working with that you would like to recommend in your city?
Shea Madison: I’m gonna cheat and split this answer into two cities:
Carol Mayo Jenkins: Knoxville, TN, she was my mentor in college, is my life coach out of college, and one of the dearest people I know.
Ken Schatz: New York, NY, this man pushed me so hard while I was at Circle. He is still one of the best teachers I’ve had the pleasure of working with. For one-on-one classes, for group classes, for seminars, whatever–find this human and work with him.
Shea Madison HS 2
Photo by Rachel Clift Photography

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