Spotlight On Allen Campbell

EF - Do you have a favorite composer? There are many that say ALW shows are just for the sets?

AC - I find that it is difficult for me to see movies like ConAir or Independence Day. I like the smaller independent movies. I like more character stuff. I went to the screening of Air Force One with Glenn Close. I liked that because it had a good mix of effects and acting. I think a lot of people look at ALW shows at being spectacle but I loved Phantom and I think Evita was an incredibly well written show. I like Sondheim too. I am a Cole Porter fan. There are accurate criticisms of both Sondhem and Webber. Put them together and they would make one hell of a composer. I think melody wise that what Andrew has written is breathtaking. I like the way his things are scored.

EF - Do you get out to see any shows?

AC - Some. I have seen Chicago. I saw Steel Pier before it closed. I haven't seen the others because I have been out of town. I'd like to see Titanic.

EF - Describe the closing night, the energy?

AC - Because they had announced way ahead of time that the show was closing, people had time to adjust and there was no surprise. There wasn't a great deal of sadness or bitterness. There was an up kind of moving on. People were sad that the experience was over. It was a positive kind of closing night. I was really ready to move on Glenn's closing night was very sad for me. I love Glennie and continue to. She remains a close friend. We went through the rehearsal process together and saw the show come together.

EF - Had you met Glenn Close before?

AC - No, met her for the first time during rehearsals.

EF - You stayed for a long time. Did it occur to you to move on?

AC - George and I stayed for the entire length. I did a workshop once while doing Sunset and it was very difficult. I did a film where they let me out for a month. It was very difficult to get another job while I had this one. I got a call about auditioning for Side Show and other projects. I couldn't do a 7 1/2 week workshop while doing Sunset. The ended represented a chance to move on. I couldn't do a lot of other projects because I wouldn't be doing the show justice. It would be exhausting.

EF - Why do you feel Sunset closed?

AC - The cost of operating the show was too high. The crowds and ticket prices dropped off. You have to be able to run the show with less than an 80% capacity of full price tickets or else you are going to be in trouble. The cost of running this show and the salaries paid to these women (actresses portraying Norma)were very high and far outdistanced itself from other shows.

EF - It was a star driven show, wasn't it?

AC - Yes. Cher had kind of been mentioned for a while. The star that you need has to be able to deal with the vocal and physical demands of the part. Many actresses don't want to do it for six months. The production people put themselves in a corner by needing to get a star. This was proven on the road. You need a star to drive it. Linda (Balgord) is an incredible performer but they might have made a mistake in not hiring a star as brilliant as I thought she was.

EF - There was talk of RUG making a film version of Sunset. If they ever did, would you want to reprise the role of Joe Gillis on film?

AC - Sure, who wouldn't.

EF - I had the pleasure of seeing Forbidden Broadway. Tell me the scoop of how you are parodied on that show? What Bryan Blatt does?

AC - They had been talking about microphones. The sound designer put the microphones further down to get a sort of filmatic presence at lease in terms of the sound. When Sunset was reviewed, there were a lot of comments about the microphones and how they could be seen. The parody had to do more with the microphones in general rather than on me and my microphone. I used to comb my hair over it. They took that whole opportunity to do something with the microphones on Forbidden Broadway. Bryan did a great job. He is a talented guy and a good friend.

EF - You saw it. Did you take it in the way it was intended, as a parody?

AC - Oh absolutely. Elaine and I went to see it together when she first came to town. I said to her once they do a parody of you in Forbidden Broadway, you have arrived on the scene.

EF - Did Elaine think it was funny?

AC - She was hysterical. I think she thought it was very funny.

EF - Do you think actors have any obligation to their fans beyond the performance?

AC - Personally, I don't think actors owe anyone anything outside the performance. I love the contact with people. If you are an intensely private person it could be very difficult. It is an individual choice and I don't fault people either way. I enjoyed it. Both Glenn and Elaine were very shy. Glenn was uncomfortable with people fawning all over her.

EF - What projects are you working on now?

AC - I have been working on material. I wanted to do some cabaret. I just did a film called Simple Wish that just came out with Martin Short and Kathleen Turner. It is a kids movie. It is a very silly role but it was a lot of fun. I have some opportunities in LA now. I am going to put some of my focus there . I want to put some of my attention back to film and television. I really enjoyed working in TV. I'm not anxious to jump back into theater now.

EF - Do you have an interest in doing a recording?

AC - I do. I love working in a recording studio. Elaine Paige and I talked about it. She said if she was going to do something that she would love to have me involved. That may or may not happen. I think the most important thing for me is to get material that you are passionate about. I have been looking at a lot of different songs. What I would like to do first is do it live as a cabaret type performance to see if I can do them justice.

EF - What advice would you give to people pursuing a career in theater?

AC - Believe in yourself, believe in your own uniqueness. There is a lot of rejection and you have to constantly believe you are unique and have something to offer.

EF - Alan, you have many fans out there who really enjoy your work and loved you in Sunset. There are too many messages to read off. Do you have a message to your fans?

AC - Thanks for the interest. That is why you do it. The show was supported through thick and thin. People seemed attentive to the piece. I always thought we had smart audiences. I don't think it was a show that appealed to people who wanted to sit back and watch the house move up and down as amazing as it is. The audience really listened to the piece and the music and got involved in the emotion of the thing.

EF - Thanks Alan for taking the time to do this interview.

AC - It was my pleasure. Thank you.

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