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Matthew Ashford, who plays Bill in Mamma Mia!, is fitted for pants at Green Shag by owner Victoria McPhedran.


Mamma Mia, he looks sharp
Hunky soap sars like Matthew Ashford (Jack Deveraux on Days of Our Lives) are more accustomed to doffing their shits. But here he is at Gree Shag Bespke Clothier, 670 Queen St. W., trying on bespoke sirts and pants to wear when he is not playing Bill, one of the prospective "dads" in Mamma Mia! at the Princess  of Wales Theatre.
Victoria and Neil McPhedran, Shag owners, can assemble a ward-robe for a 96-hour trip that fits in carry-0n. "A white T-shirt, a white shirt, a three-piece suit, dark denim jeams and you have 16 different outfits," Victoria says.
The shop's tag line is "everyone needs a shag." Why green shag?
"Victoria and I as children had green shag rugs," Neil explains.
They deal from the underwear out: Boxer shorts, ties and suitings in 216 fabrics from Italy, Switzerland and Egypt.
Boxer shorts of shirting fabric are $40. Suits start at $1,800; sustom shirts at $290, depedning on fabric. Playful and/or subversive "cheat sheets" are available on the shirt cuffs: Roll them down and read chessy pick-up lines or wine lists.
Green Shag carries wonderful vests back with silk Bemberg coot shirt fabric. Bemberg is the short fibre that grows near the seed pood of the cotton plant.
"Orignally, the vest was to hide suspenders because they were like lingerie for men," Victoria reveals. Cufflinks are popular Father's Day gifts at Green Shag because you can design your own.
Personalized links are $280 a pair; three for #380; five for $450.
They also make great groomsment's gifts. One groom had (the groomsmen's) tattoos customized into cufflinks.
"We also do (add-on) stand-alone cuffs," says Neil. "We did some for Pamela Anderson."
Ashford is the sixth of eight children, born in Davenport, Iowa. He has a B.F.A in theatre from the North Carolina School of theArts and is wed to singer/actor Christna Saffran Ashford. They have two daughters: Grace, 17, and Emma, 12.
Straight out of school, he moved to New York where he snagged the role of Drew Ralston on One Life to Live (1982-1983) and went on to play Cagney McClary on Searc for Tomorrow from 1984 to 1986. He played Tom Hardy Sr. on General Hospital from 1995 to 1997, serial killer Dr. Stephen Haver on One Life to Live from 2003 to 2004 and dar, conflicted and tortured Jack on DOOL on and off from 1987 to 2007 and is recurring on the show.
Jack would love Green Shag. He wasn't a sweats-and-sneakers guy.
"Jack was younger than most of the people in the room so he dressed to impress," Ashford explains. "He used wardrobe as armour."
Ashford's style is sport-orientate, though he has an appreciation for bespoke.
"I'm casual, mostly, though I like to shop in places like this. I get spoiled by beautiful clothes," he says. "Big stores have too many choices and I get overwhelmed. I like to go [to] places where they quickly understand my needs. In Billy['s] Hollywood's [sic] Screen Kiss, I played a male underwear model past his prime. I had the most expensive suit on set; int came from Days."
Ashford belongs to the Interact Theatre Company inn Los Angeles and is part of the production company NGM Prodctions which produced the indie The Unlikely's, in which he played the most famous soap star in the world and his doppelganger, a hopeless jewel thief on the lam.
Ashford has been touring with Mamma Mia! for six months. It closes June 28.
"My character, Bill, the intrepid traveller, used to be Australian but they changed it to American," he says. "I feel that Bill is a scam artist. He is afraid of commitment. He can face wild animals but not a 20-year-old girl."
Ashford is a chameleon.
"I'm the guy you'd never suspect (of being a serial killer),"he says, "I remind people of their sons or I could be their lawyer. I'm not Joe Six Pack. I may be wearing a suit but I may end up in a dress and wig."
Or as Elvis. The costumes in Mamma Mia! in the outrageous final production number are worty of The King.
"They are Spandex and cost $15,000 a piece because they are hand stitched. We are dressed like Vegas Elvis, which Jack also did on Days. I was always doing some crazy thing."
The ABBA music in Mamma Mia! is infectious. If you aren't swaying to the music, check your pulse. You are deceased.
"Mamma Mia is pure enjoyment," Ashford says. "I grew up with the Beatles, disco and "Styain' Alive." I am steeped in Sondheim and musica theatre, but I also listened to Jethro Tull, The Stones the Alan Prasons Project."
What kid of busic would Jack listen to?
Jack would probably listen to Mahler or something grim.
Matthew Ashford Homepage copyright 1996-2013, S. A. Wilson. The page has no connection to nor official approval from any person, show, or organization that may be mentioned anywhere throughout these pages -- unless otherwise noted.

The MAH was created July 21st, 1996