Aussies Cream of the Big Apple

New Yorkers are tapping their toes to a fair dinkum beat thanks to a three-pronged Aussie invasion on the Big Apple.

For the past fortnight, the talk of the town has been all about Australia thanks to polished performances from powerful soloists David Campbell and Maree Johnson and harmonising trio Combo Fiasco.

In a boost for the Australian entertainment industry, they have been performing at some of the best-know cabarets in New York.

In their spare time the talented exports, who know each other through their work in the Australian productions of Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables, have been meeting up to enjoy their US experience together.

"New York is a tough place to make it and we've been helping each other where we can," Adelaide-born Campbell said.

"When we hang out, we talk about Australia and the things we miss."

Campbell won over the critics with his second season at the Rainbow and Stars Room atop the Rockefellar centre.

One reviewer labelled Campbell as Generation X's answer to crooner Tony Bennet, while the New York Times likened him to Johnny Mathis.

Combo Fiasco - a fun trio of Tony McGill, Sharon Millerchip and Shaun Murphy are in their second season at the popular downtown venue of Eighty-eights. They have also travelled to Florida to open the nightclub's sister venue in Miami.

The trio's light-hearted approach to music has thrilled many New Yorkers, while their more serious approach to several ballads has won the group an army of new fans.

"Their finely harmonised singing has a tight, slick, highly professional feel," the New York Post said.

"All of (their) original arrangements glowed with life"

McGill says the group is relishing New York life in their return to the city after a short season here last year.

"There is so much going on and it's just fantastic to be part of such a huge showbiz scene," he said.


The Melbourne Age, October 1998 - by Geoff Stead in New York