Talking Theatre: Darius Campbell Discusses Funny Girl
The stage musical and film Funny Girl brought global fame to Barbra Streisand over 50 years ago and now the revived touring stage musical version is taking UK audiences by storm. Next week, the production starring Sheridan Smith and Darius Campbell plays Wales Millennium Centre boasting some of the most iconic songs in film and theatre history, including People and Don't Rain on My Parade.
“This is a great opportunity to see something that is a once in a lifetime show,” Darius tells Andy Howells, “It’s taken a whole new generation to revive something that is so beloved. It’s a roller coaster ride emotionally and one that lifts spirits and lights up audiences faces and hearts.”
Funny Girl tells the true-life story of Fanny Brice (played by Sheridan Smith), whose vocal talents and comedic ability see her rise from Brooklyn music hall singer to Broadway star and her stormy relationship with entrepreneur and gambler Nick Arnstein (played by Darus Campbell).
“It’s amazing to be part of this and look back at what went before and it’s been a very memorable and uplifting experience,” says Darius who is famed for his roles in several hit musicals including Chicago and Guys & Dolls.
Darius first theatrical work stretches back some two decades. “My career started off as an actor,” he says, “I appeared in and produced plays at Edinburgh Fringe and Edinburgh Festival. While studying English Literature I had a keen interest in Shakespearian performance and started drafting at the Bedlam Theatre. That was really the beginning for me but my career turned out to be something different.”
The “something different” was a career in popular music which began in 2001 with appearances on the TV talent competition Popstars. A year later, Darius made the finals of Pop Idol, before signing a record deal with producer Steve Lilywhite and releasing his debut album Dive In and a number one single Colour-blind. “It was amazing” recalls Darius, “I’ll be forever grateful to the British public for their support in allowing me to pursue a career in which I was able to create original music as a singer/songwriter”
Darius will shortly be returning to the world of music with a new album project as well as producing a film starring Orlando Bloom, however he is still bubbling with enthusiasm with his role in Funny Girl of which he continues to tour the UK with until August.
“It’s being an extraordinary journey so far,” he concludes looking over the last 15 years of his career, “and in many ways, it feels like I’ve only just begun!”
- Funny Girl - The Musical plays Wales Millennium Centre from July 4 until July 8. Check wmc.org.uk for ticket details and availability.