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Undercover Showtunes #5: Christian Campbell

New York Musical Theatre Festival concludes its first-ever Spring Concert Series with "Undercover Showtunes" on Monday, June 18 at 7PM at The Zipper Factory (336 W 37th St.) in Manhattan.

"Undercover Showtunes" is a unique concert comprised of pop and rock songs that weren't written for musicals, but sound as if they might have been – songs that tell a story, create a character, paint a full, vivid portrait as a great song in a musical is meant to do.

For more information on "Undercover Showtunes" and purchase tickets visit the show website at NYMF.org.  Tickets are $50 and $90 with post-concert cast party included by calling 212-352-3101 or visiting online.  Discounts are available here.

Christian Campbell (Great Expectations, Reefer Madness, NYMF's Drift) is one of the many talented Broadway and screen actors performing at "Undercover Showtunes."  BroadwayWorld.com's Eugene Lovendusky, based in San Francisco, got the opportunity to chat with Campbell about the up-coming concert and his past/future projects

Eugene Lovendusky: Hi Christian! What song will you be performing Monday, June 18?

Christian Campbell: "16 by 32" by The Decemberists.

Eugene: Some musical theatre fans feel they simply cannot find anything better than the music, lyrics and orchestrations showtunes provide… especially not on the radio.  How do you feel about this opinion and what kinds of music do you know of outside of musical theatre (like those presented at "Undercover Showtunes") that might tickle their fancy?

Christian: I find it difficult to fully enjoy musical theatre songs if I don't know the storyline of the show they are from as well as the context.  Of course I can appreciate the musicality of the pieces and sometimes the lyrics are generic enough to be listened to without reference, but I often feel cheated if I don't know what the hell is making this person burst out into song.  As for tunes that are written in and of themselves for popular consumption, they are often written in such a way that there may be many ways to interpret or relate to them.  This can often lead to shallow or empty songs but it more often let's me enjoy the music without having to give it too much thought.  Frankly I don't listen to lyrics (a problem in that I apparently work in musical theatre) I just want a good tune that doesn't require the use of too much grey matter.

Eugene: What kind of music were you raised on?

Christian: Classical, traditional Scottish, world (whatever that means), and a great deal of Jazz.

Eugene: And what kind of music do you find yourself most often listening to today?

Christian: My ipod currently shows Koop, Immortal Technique, Rufus Wainwright, Imogen Heap, Damien Rice, Bill Evans, My Chemical Romance and Snow Patrol as my most played artists.

Eugene: You last appeared with NYMF in your 2006 award-winning role in Drift. Was that your first experience with NYMF? And what was it like?

Christian: It was my first experience with NYMF besides having seen a few of the festivals shows.  The experience of being in Drift was one of the more challenging, terrifying and gratifying acting experiences I've had in a long time.  I was scared shitless so of course I had to do it.  It worked out well I think.

Eugene: What did you enjoy most about your 10-month stay with "All My Children", and what kind of skills did you walk away with?

Christian: I can memorize great swathes of dialogue!

Eugene: You last treated New York audiences with the world premiere of Great Expectations at TheatreWorks USA in the role of Pip.  Was the material challenging? What were some of the rewards of the project?

Christian: The material was challenging in that it was very much a language piece as well as the fact I had to play a young boy all the way up to a man in his 30s.  Also, that we played the entire story in an hour and a half was no small feat.  But I never felt lost or overwhelmed as the director, cast and crew were phenomenal to work with and the people over at Theatreworks USA were a dream.

Eugene: You're in Boise right now re-shooting a film? Tell us a little more about what you're up to!

Christian: I'm currently shooting an independent feature called Ibid, shot entirely on location in Idaho.  Then it's up to Vancouver to shoot a thriller called Captive next month.  Theatrically there is a show on the West End in London that I'm mulling over.

Eugene: What can fans hope to see you in next?

Christian: I'll tell you that after I've finished mulling!

Eugene: Awesome! Best of luck to you and have a great time at the concert!

Photos: Christian Campbell, 2007 (by Walter McBride); Christian Campbell in Great Expectations, 2006 (by Joan Marcus); Christian Campbell in Drift, 2006 (courtesy www.ChristianCampbell.org)

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Eugene Lovendusky Eugene Lovendusky graduated summa cum laude from SFSU with a BA in Writing for Electronic Media and a minor in Drama. Raised in the SF Bay Area, his love for the arts bloomed at an early-age; a passion that has flourished in NYC, where Eugene now lives and works. He is a proud member of the New York City Gay Mens' Chorus.