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