Up From Down Under

David Campbell may be the most respected young musical theater star in New York to never actually perform in a full-scale production.

After all, Campbell, a 26-year-old Australian actor and cabaret singer, has sung in such prized locales as Carnegie Hall and City Center, and has been cast in workshops of productions from "Don Juan DeMarco" to last week's "Thoroughly Modern Millie." And in each, the reports have been good to glowing.

But for all that, Campbell has never been in a real show. The closest he came was in February when he appeared in "Babes in Arms," part of the Encore musical concert series at City Center.

That is about to change. Starting in January, Campbell is to lead the cast of "Saturday Night," the early Stephen Sondheim musical making its New York premiere at Second Stage. Campbell will play Gene, a character he describes as "a young man who dreams of other things and doesn't quite know how to get them."

That is certainly not the case for Campbell. In the last three years, he has released two solo CD's, won a handful of cabaret awards and has been named Young Australian of the Year (narrowly outpolling Dame Edna).

Most of his performing has been done alone, but "I didn't plan it this way, I promise," Campbell said. He added, "It's going to be good to be able to play with others."


The New York Times Online, 22nd October, 1999