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    Darius Campbell, previously known as Darius Danesh, or simply Darius during his short-lived but surprisingly fruitful solo career first came to the public attention for a dubious version of Britney Spears' classic …Baby One More Time.

    At the time of his audition on TV's talent search Popstars, he was ridiculed for his over the top performance and claims that he would have a triple platinum selling album by the time he was thirty.   He never made it into the final group, Hear'say, but that could be where things first started going right for him.  The group itself faltered after a couple of single releases with even the public preferring Liberty X, the group made up of the finalists that didn't make it into the band.

    Unperturbed, Campbell then entered the show's successor, Pop Idol, slowly turning public perception around and coming in third place to Will Young and Gareth Gates.  Still managing to land a solo career, his first single surprised again by hitting the UK topspot, with subsequent singles and an album also selling well.  

    He began to make the move into musical theatre and won rave reviews for his turn as Billy Flynn, the lead male role in long running West End hit Chicago in 2006.  He was the youngest actor to have ever played the role.  Subsequent roles have been Skye Masterson in the Olivier Award winning Guys and Dolls, and originating the role of Rhett Butler in Sir Trevor Nunn's Gone With The Wind.

    His star continued to dazzle with impressive performances leading him to win the first series of ITV's Popstar To Operastar.  The show was designed to retrain standard pop singers to the challenges of the opera world.  Such has been his newfound success in this field that he made his debut opera performance in The Royal Philharmonic's Carmen at the O2 arena.  At 29 he was the youngest performer to take on the leading role of Carmen's bullfighting lover Escamillio, a role usually reserved for baritones in their early forties. 

    He will return to the West End when Chicago moves from the Cambridge Theatre to the Garrick Theatre on the 7th November.  Campbell will star alongside previously announced Ugly Betty actress America Ferrera, with Amra-Faye Wright as Velma Kelly, James Doherty as Amos Hart, Jasna Ivir as Mama Morton and R.Whitehead as Mary Sunshine.  The show is produced in London by Barry and Fran Weissler and has been a West End resident since opening at the Adelphi Theatre in November 1997.    

    Book Chicago tickets online now.

    Posted by James, 28/10/2011]


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