BWW Interviews: LEGALLY BLONDE THE MUSICAL Star Cameron Daddo (Professor Callahan)
Australian star of television, film and the stage, Cameron Daddo believes the best advice he has received in life was ‘to have courage to push through the fear and to live from my heart.” It is no surprise then that with this advice guiding him, Cameron has had such a diverse and illustrious career. After relocating to Los Angeles almost 20 years ago, Cameron has become known for his roles on the television and the big screen including Anthrax, Big Momma's House 2, Models Inc and FX - the series. He has also recurred and guest starred in high profile American television programs including Monk, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Boston Legal, 24, The Mentalist and NCIS.
It has been 20 years since Cameron last hit the musical stage to critical acclaim when he starred as Huckleberry Finn in The Gordon Frost Orgasnisation’s Big River. He followed this success by playing the role of the Scarecrow in the Victorian Opera’s Wizard of Oz. So what brings him back after such a long absence?
“I love live theatre. Some of my best experiences in my career have come from live theatre in particular Big River, which was my first professional musical and I loved Wizard Of Oz… I had my time in LA acting and there Broadway is very different to LA but now I am back and have the opportunity to work with (John) Frost again…”
In 2012, Cameron returned to the Australian television screens portraying Beaconsfield Mine Manager Matthew Gill in Beaconsfield, the story of the 2006 mine collapse. It was when he was in Melbourne for Beaconsfield that Cameron became aware of Legally Blonde the Musical.
“I hadn’t heard of the musical prior to the auditions, I hadn’t even seen the movie! I was on my way to do Beaconsfield when I got a call asking for me to audition. I had a long flight and spent the time reading through the script and thought it was fun.
To be invited to audition is lovely. The director and creative team were all from London so they had no idea who I was and so it was still necessary for them to see me. I turned it down at first because I didn’t believe I had enough time to prepare and wanted my first impression to be strong… I was talked out of that and told to ‘just do it’ and here I am.”
In his career, Cameron Daddo has played both villain and hero and it was the villainous role of Professor Callahan and his influence on the storyline that attracted Cameron.
“It is always fun playing a villainous role, a role which creates a more treacherous path for the hero which makes the story more satisfying for the audience. I enjoy storytelling. I’ve had my time as a hero but the other guys, the ones throwing bullets or shooting arrows… they are always a lot of fun”
Legally Blonde the Musical is currently in previews at the Lyric Theatre in Sydney and the audience’s reception has certainly been a positive one.
“I didn’t have expectations about how the audience would respond but from the very first audience, I have been blown away… The reaction to ‘There, right, there’ in particular is incredible, you feel the force of the audience leaping from their seats. It’s an incredible rush. You can feel the audience giving back, it’s pure joy and it’s what brings me back every night.”
Cameron is surrounded by a stellar Australian theatre cast with fellow experienced performers, Lucy Durack, David Harris, Rob Mills and Helen Dallimore, just to name a few. Cameron believes that working with such an experienced cast helps everyone lift their own game.
“I read an article Lucy (Durack) did in which she said that this cast makes you want to make sure you lift your game. She is such a pro. She is playing what I call the Hamlet of musicals, she is never off stage and has been on it from day one. She knows her stuff. Then there’s Helen Dallimore who is the consummate professional and such a kind person… David Harris is very particular, so good but also still open and ready to learn… And Millsy’s (Rob Mills) fantastic.