David Camp­bell’s Dream Role

David Camp­bell brings Bobby Darin’s story to the stage this month in Mel­bourne. By Jenny Burns

Where Melbourne - - Contents -

DAVID CAMP­BELL HAD long dreamed of play­ing Amer­i­can mu­sic icon Bobby Darin on stage.

So when ap­proached by leg­endary pro­ducer, John Frost, to star in a new mu­si­cal about Darin’s life, Camp­bell knew he had to make it hap­pen.

Need­less to say with Aus­tralia’s stage roy­alty in­volved “Dream Lover – The Bobby Darin Mu­si­cal” was a great hit when it pre­miered in Syd­ney in 2016.

Now Mel­bourne au­di­ences have the chance to see the show and Camp­bell couldn’t be hap­pier.

“It’s a fan­tas­tic show with an in­cred­i­ble cast and I am sure Mel­bourne au­di­ences will love it,” Camp­bell ex­plained en­thu­si­as­ti­cally.

“Repris­ing the show has given us a chance to look at what worked and what could be im­proved so the Mel­bourne pro­duc­tion is even bet­ter.”

“Dream Lover – The Bobby Darin Mu­si­cal” spot­lights the amaz­ing life of the leg­endary singer, song­writer. An in­ti­mate and epic story of an all-round en­ter­tainer adored by his fans, Darin, to­gether with his movie star wife, San­dra Dee, pro­vided the iconic sound­track to a gen­er­a­tion. The mu­si­cal cap­tures the glamour and pas­sion of the big band era, the Rat Pack in Ve­gas and the Golden Age of Hol­ly­wood. It’s based on an orig­i­nal con­cept and stage play by Frank How­son and John-michael How­son and adapted for the stage by Frank How­son with Si­mon Phillips and Carolyn Burns.

The show in­cludes 34 great hits from the 50s and 60s in­clud­ing “Mack the Knife”, “Be­yond the Sea”, “Splish Splash” and the multi-mil­lion-seller “Dream Lover”.

A cast of over 40, in­clud­ing an 18-piece big band, brings the story to life. Other stars of the show in­clude Han­nah Fred­er­ick­sen who plays San­dra Dee and Ma­rina Prior who plays the dual roles of for­mer show­girl Polly (Bobby Darin’s mother) and the am­bi­tious cut-throat Mary Dou­van (San­dra Dee’s mother). Martin Crewes plays Steve Blauner, Darin’s old­est friend, big­gest fan and long-time man­ager while Mar­ney Mcqueen is Nina, Darin’s sis­ter.

Much of the ma­te­rial for the mu­si­cal came from the book “Dream Lovers: The Mag­nif­i­cent Shat­tered Lives of Bobby Darin and San­dra Dee” writ­ten by Darin’s son Dodd.

Dodd was present for the open­ing night of the mu­si­cal in Syd­ney and his tick of ap­proval was a great thrill for Camp­bell.

“The show isn’t a doc­u­men­tary, it’s a mu­si­cal and it’s en­ter­tain­ing, so nat­u­rally we put our own spin on it,” he ex­plained.

“But the fact that Dodd and the fam­ily loved the show was fan­tas­tic.”

Play­ing a mu­si­cal le­gend is noth­ing new to Camp­bell. In 2001 the Ade­laide born per­former was tempted back to Aus­tralia, af­ter a suc­cess­ful cabaret and stage ca­reer in New York, to play leg­endary Aus­tralian rocker Johnny O’keefe, in the mu­si­cal phe­nom­e­non “Shout!”

Since re­turn­ing to Aus­tralia he’s starred in Aus­tralian pro­duc­tions of clas­sic mu­si­cals such as “Carousel” and “Com­pany”, new works at the Mel­bourne The­atre Com­pany and Syd­ney The­atre Com­pany and “The Pi­rates of Pen­zance” for Opera Aus­tralia.

To­gether with his wife Lisa, Camp­bell runs In­de­pen­dent Mu­sic The­atre which pro­duces na­tional con­cert tours and live the­atre pro­duc­tions, their most re­cent ven­ture be­ing the crit­i­cally ac­claimed re­vival of Stephen Sond­heim’s “As­sas­sins” (in which Camp­bell also starred).

A multi-plat­inum record­ing artist with sev­eral of these al­bums fea­tur­ing hits made fa­mous by Darin, Camp­bell is also a suc­cess­ful tele­vi­sion and ra­dio host.

Nat­u­rally Camp­bell has per­formed in Mel­bourne many times with Arts Cen­tre Mel­bourne be­ing one of his favourite venues, es­pe­cially given he met his wife there!

This time around he’s look­ing for­ward to in­tro­duc­ing his young fam­ily to the de­lights of Mel­bourne. The Royal Botanic Gar­dens, Luna Park and Mel­bourne’s beaches are high on the ‘must see’ list.

“We are also go­ing to try and get to the Aus­tralian Ten­nis Open, while my son is a great foot­ball fan,” he added.

Of par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est to Camp­bell is Mel­bourne’s many veg­e­tar­ian restau­rants.

“I am a ve­gan and there’s a num­ber of re­ally in­ter­est­ing restau­rants I have been fol­low­ing on so­cial me­dia that I can’t wait to try.”

“Dream Lover – The Bobby Darin Mu­si­cal” is cur­rently play­ing at Arts Cen­tre Mel­bourne’s State The­atre. Visit dreamlover.com.au for more in­for­ma­tion and tick­ets.

David Camp­bell (cen­tre). Photo: Brian Geach.

David Camp­bell and Han­nah Fred­er­ick­sen. Photo: Brian Geach.

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