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WHO IS JEFFERSON

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Born in Ithaca, NY into a showbiz family, Jefferson took to music, dance and performing early on.  Homeschooled through high school, he focused his studies on classical piano and literature, particularly interested in Greek plays, Shakespeare and Chekhov.  His interest in Russian theater would lead him to study in Moscow through the Eugene O'Neill National Theatre Institute.  Initially, however, he felt a call for public service and attended a liberal arts college in Virginia studying Public Policy.  While the prospect of lawyering interested him, after a year he transferred to Ithaca College to study drama and would later attend the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training and graduate with an MFA in Acting.  Since graduating, he has worked in a wide array of disciplines, from dance to puppetry to music to Shakespeare.  Drawn to both comedy and drama, Jefferson is a force of nature and attacks large roles with meticulous detail.  

His album release, Memphis, in 2021, ushered in a new phase of musical performance and his show, "JEFFERSON MCDONALD'S GREAT BALLS OF FIRE" is currently one of the most in demand rock and roll/comedy performances on stages throughout North America, Canada and for Princess and Celebrity Cruise Lines.  

Dubbed “the Victor Borge of Rock and Roll” who was “born inside a piano,” McDonald, an award-winning actor and composer,
has developed a new concert series that showcases the hits of Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Willie
Nelson, Ray Price and other legends.

Growing up on an organic poultry farm, McDonald realized he had dexterous fingers, as he says “being the fastest chicken gutter in upstate New York”. No one has come close to dethroning him. He soon realized his fingers could move just as fast playing Mozart, and at age eleven, started pursuing music aggressively.  After college, he began to study drama intensely, learning under the tutelage of Patsy Rodenberg in London and engrossing himself in Stanislavski at the Moscow Art Theatre (MXAT). He then attended the Florida StateUniversity/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training where studied under Andrei Malaev-Babel who transformed his approach to acting and creating a character.  It was at the Asolo that Michael Donald Edwards cast McDonald as Spike in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, which caused him to be featured – shirtless - in a New York Times article.  
In subsequent years, McDonald received critical acclaim for playing Jerry Lee Lewis in thirteen productions of the
Tony Award winning musical Million Dollar Quartet beginning at the Arrow Rock Lyceum Theater in Missouri.
His interpretation of Jerry Lee Lewis has been described as “an unparalleled performance that defies description” (Broadwayworld) and “one of the most shockingly brilliant performances I’ve seen anywhere by anyone” (The Frenetic Peripatetic). He recently won Best
Performer and Music Direction for a production of MDQ at Studio Tenn, in Franklin, TN. His performance was met
with such acclaim at Playhouse Stage Company in Cohoes, NY, that he was commissioned to write a new musical,
Jerry Lee Lewis VS Jerry Lee Lewis, with press declaring the inaugural production a “thrill” that “ends explosively”
(Patrick White, Nippertown). An active playwright and composer, he released his first album, Memphis, in 2021
which can be heard on Spotify and all other platforms. His follow up album, Man of the Road, is also available.
Having toured for the past year, Jefferson McDonald’s Great Balls of Fire is one of the most successful and in-
demand productions across North America and Canada and for Princess and Celebrity Cruise Lines. 

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