David Campbell

On Broadway

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The warhorses that have emerged from the Broadway musicals of the 1940s on have become such standards -- either in the popular culture at large or at least along the Great White Way -- that when cabaret singers and moonlighting stage performers make solo albums, they often shy away from these obvious songs, perhaps feeling they have been too exposed, or that definitive versions of them have been recorded already. Australian singer David Campbell appears to be completely untroubled by any such consideration on his album of theater music, On Broadway. Instead of avoiding the standards, he fills the disc with them, starting (after an overture) with the opening song from Oklahoma!, "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'." From there, it's one familiar song after another, including "Hey There" from The Pajama Game, "Hello, Dolly!," "Being Alive" from Company, and "Bring Him Home" from Les Misérables. As such a selection suggests, Campbell has a tenor voice, and he likes to show it off. He has appeared in Les Misérables in his native country, and Off-Broadway in Stephen Sondheim's Saturday Night, and it sounds like he'd like to do more stage work. In fact, On Broadway is, in a sense, an audition tape in which Campbell tries out for the leads in Chicago, Guys and Dolls, and even a show that, as of release date, hadn't yet opened in New York, the musical adaptation of the film Catch Me If You Can. Typically, he chooses from its score a real "11 o'clock number," the soaring "Goodbye," which gives a hint of the show's classic rock feel. Maybe if he gets some of the stage work he wants, Campbell will get a chance to live with some of this material, and with the characters who sing it, a little more and gain a deeper understanding of both. On this album, he is too in love with his own voice to really get the most out of, for example, "What Kind of Fool Am I?" (He does not sound like a man who thinks he's any kind of fool). Still, it's hard to blame him for his self-regard, since he clearly has the talent to back it up.

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