The first thing you need to know about this electric show is that it's a strictly limited season and only runs till 1 March 2018, so get your tickets NOW. Catch it at the Arts Centre, State Theatre, 100 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne. Tickets range from $59.90 - $159.90 with a running time of 2.5 hours (including 20 min interval). Starring David Campbell (Bobby Darin), Hannah Fredericksen (Sandra Dee), Marina Prior, Martin Crewes, Marney McQueen Rodney Dobson and a host of actors, grab a matinee or go glam in the evening, Just don't miss it!
Dream Lover tells the extraordinary story of legendary singer, songwriter and actor, Bobby Darin, husband of Sandra Dee and father to Dodd Darin. It captures the glitz and glamour of the Golden Age of Hollywood and all that it entails, and the big band era of life-changing events. It features a sensational cast of over 40 on stage, including an 18 piece big band and is directed by Simon Phillips (Priscilla Queen of the Desert – The Musical). Expect to hear great hits from the 50s and 60s including 'Mack The Knife', 'Beyond the Sea' and the multi-million-seller 'Dream Lover'.
The book Dream Lovers - The Magnificent Shattered Lives of Bobby Darin and Sandra Dee was co-authored by their son Dodd Darin and Maxine Paetro. "Every night, I hope and pray, a dream lover will come my way..." words that evoke memories of a more innocent and seemingly happier time before the electronic age of Tinder and such like. Darin and Dee were everyone's sweetheart in a picture-perfect existence. However, this very personal autobiography by their son tells it like it is, warts and all.
Bobby Cassotto (Darin), the manic fast-talking street kid from New York, lived for applause and clawed his way up into the music business. His edge was fuelled by a life-threatening illness he knew would shorten his life. He reinvented himself from a pop crooner to an acclaimed actor, music producer and blockbuster nightclub performer. This book is a tribute to a father that has been a long-time coming; a great entertainer to walk the nightclub stage finally getting the respect he deserved.
A better lead performer could not have been chosen. First of all, David Campbell's and Dodd Darin's lives have some very intimate similarities, including famous fathers and both related to the musical in a very personal way. Campbell belts out song after song with those powerful vocals of his and is tireless in his performance, accommodating dance in perfect timing to his musicality. If I were to comment on anything, it would be that it's nigh on impossible to imitate that Darin head swagger and the intensity of his gaze towards his audience or the camera lens. However, all that finger snapping was definitely Darin to a T.
Campbell gives it his all in every way and doesn't miss a beat. His powerful entrance onto the stage, along with the big band, gives you a heads-up of what to expect throughout the show. Number after number, dance and especially the music, just keeps on giving. The whole cast deserved all the whooping and hollering, wolf whistles and standing ovations they received. Campbell is mesmerising to watch, and this show is all about him as the songs keep coming non-stop. Two hours of belting them out gives Campbell powerhouse status in the vocal department - not that it was ever in question.
Support from the rest of the cast is phenomenal. The dancers don't go unnoticed in their timing and performance as they take you back to that era of romance and glamour. The whole stage was set up prioritising to accommodate the big band and the dance numbers. In the small space it took, with clever props, Darin's life story was efficiently portrayed to encompass all it needed to, without fuss. Marina Prior and Marney McQueen, as the mothers and sister duo, belt out quite a few numbers powerfully themselves and easily manage to create the air of family. None better than Rodney Dobson, whose portrayal as the loving Charlie who loves Darin as his own from a child, is on point. His performance gives the character a lot of warmth like a big old cuddly teddy bear, and it spreads all over the stage and spills out onto the audience.
Martin Crewes as Darin's manager is stunningly performed by Crewes and you feel the friendship and camaraderie that would have existed between them. However, I couldn't help but fall in love with the performance of the youngest performer (Hudson Sharp), who plays young Darin on opening night. He was full of confidence and had his own swagger going on, in his natural ability to move in dance, and his vocals were sharp and crystal. He just stood out for me as an unmissable talent. Overall, a stellar show with accomplished performers and highly recommended.
Did you enjoy Opening Night? I flew up to Sydney to see this show as it wasn’t coming to Melbourne. Unfortunately there’s a mistake in the article as Bobby and Sandra’s son is called Dodd not Todd. Dodd was in Australia for both opening nights of the show.