David Campbell on returning to the stage in Dream Lover
Dream Lover is a new Australian musical about the life of legendary singer, songwriter and actor Bobby Darin. We chatted with star David Campbell (Darin) about working on a brand-new musical, the incredible cast he’s sharing the stage with, and why audiences should come see the show.
David Campbell is one of Australia’s leading musical theatre stars; he has achieved great success on stage and on screen, both in Australia and internationally. He, alongside Sonia Kruger, hosts the national morning show Today Extra on channel nine, and he presents his own radio show on Smooth FM. In 1997, David starred in a major revival of Les Miserables and had great success performing in musicals and as a renowned cabaret star in Australia and in New York.
David has appeared on stage touring for his various albums, but the last time he performed in a musical was the 2007 production of Company.
Tonight, he opens Dream Lover in Sydney.
What’s the process of working on a new Australian musical been like?
“It’s a gift. We’re so inundated with big musicals that aren’t ours and I think that something from the Hayes [Theatre Co, where Campbell is on the Board] that we love is to take shows and give them new creatives and then we can find new wonderful performances, as opposed to having them exported 7 generations down the track from the original performance. So to be able to work on a new musical has a great responsibility and it’s a great thrill to be able to do it.
“And this creative team and this cast has been the honeymoon period of all honeymoon periods. I may never do it again after this because it’s been too good! I’ve loved it too much, and I’ve been too sappy and emotional because of this show and the people that are in it. There’s so much connection: Hannah and I have bonded immediately, I have always wanted to work with Caroline O’Connor and Bert [LaBonte] was in my wedding party! So seriously, this is a gift. “
What challenges have you faced so far in the process?
“The challenges have been getting back into it [performing on stage] and the stamina I’ve had to build up. There are a lot of songs and I’m onstage for most of the night. It’s been fifteen years since I’ve done a show where I have to do that, so to get that back has been something I’ve been very mindful of.
“And before we even started rehearsals [choreographer] Andrew Hallsworth told me ‘I’ve found videos of Bobby dancing.’ Andy has got me dancing so that has been the thing that’s been challenging for me. But he, in his genius way, has nurtured me through it and now I feel almost like a semi-professional dancer.
What has been rewarding about playing Bobby Darin?
“To tell the life of someone who has been a hero of mine since ‘96, someone who I have put up on a pedestal with his music, and someone whose life story relates to mine so perfectly, is the most rewarding thing. To be able to convey that story and share the journey to people who might not know his story so well, is so rewarding. There was more to this man than meets the eye.”
Why should audiences come to see the show?
“You should come see the show because this is a brand new Australian musical which will blow your mind about an American performer who you know more about than you think, and it will move you to tears and it might even get you off your feet and dancing. “
Dream Lover opens tonight the Sydney Lyric Theatre. Book your tickets now!