We are used to calling them triple threats - musical theatre performers who can sing, dance and act. But what do you call a guy who does all that and more? In addition to his career as a stage and cabaret performer in both New York and across Australia, David Campbell is a Platinum recording artist, a presenter of the television show Mornings on the Nine Network, and in his role as Artistic Director led the Adelaide Cabaret Festival to three consecutive years of record-breaking success.
He also performs and records with his rather famous dad, runs a production company with his wife Lisa, and is currently touring Australia with his 80’s-is-now-retro concert LET’S GO. High achiever and hard worker are understatements with David Campbell (and he just might be the nicest guy in the business!).
Campbell is a cross-genre performer that musical theatre lovers like to claim as their own. After starring in LES MISERABLES in Australia in the late 90’s Campbell became something of a wunderkind on the New York cabaret scene, becoming the youngest ever performer to headline at the iconic venue Rainbow and Stars. Making a name for himself stateside led to roles in productions including BABES IN ARMS, SOUTH PACIFIC and the New York premiere of Sondheim’s SATURDAY NIGHT.
In 1998 Campbell featured in the all-star cast of the London concert and DVD tribute to Cameron Mackintosh HEY, MR PRODUCER! and returned to Australia in 2001 to take on the lead role of rocker Johnny O’Keefe in the hugely successful musical SHOUT! Further theatre success followed with leading roles in CAROUSEL, SUNSET BOULEVARD and COMPANY, with Campbell picking up a Helpmann award for SUNSET BOULEVARD along the way. In 2010 Campbell released ON BROADWAY as his fourth studio album, going on to tour Australia with this tribute to the great songs of musical theatre.
One of our most versatile and engaging personalities, here is just a little of David Campbell's brain on musical theatre …
This is your brain on musical theatre – 6 questions with David Campbell
Is there a particular show and/or person that first made you feel like ‘this is what I want to do’?
I went to NYC in ‘93 and saw a lot of shows, however, it wasn't until I saw Mandy Patinkin in Concert at the Kennedy Centre in DC that I thought, "Hang on … I know a ton of these songs and all I need is a piano?? (and singing lessons)".
Can you remember the moment when you first understood that you could sing the way most others can’t?
I never felt like I had the best voice ever. I still don't. I worked very hard for the sound I have. I was always envious of people who made it look easy. I wanted to be better. I still do. It's hard work to make it look easy. It seems that every kid nowadays has a great voice. If I had to start now, with my sound, I am not sure I would make it. But, I am happy and grateful for my voice. It has given me many adventures.
Is there one night in your career that you would love to go back to and experience over again?
Too many. Hey, Mr Producer! Babes in Arms. Saturday Night. Many nights in Shout! My Broadway show at the Opera House. Singing with Barbara Cook. I am looking forward to the new ones. The nights around the corner. The nights that you haven't planned.
Is there one role that belongs to the opposite gender or a different age group that you’d secretly love to perform?
Mama Rose. Too Camp?
Do you still sing in the shower when you sing for a living?!
Of course. We all sound better in the shower. In fact my next album should be "Campbell sings in the Shower" ... probably be my best work.
And finally, borrowing from James Lipton via Bernard Pivot:
What sound or noise do you love?
The sound of my son Leo laughing with my wife. Two of the best laughs out there. Words cannot describe what I feel when I hear it. I will spend the rest of my life making Dad jokes and prat falls, just to hear them every day. Continued next page.