Time Is A Traveller
Chapel off Chapel
August 6th, 2014
David Harris is an acclaimed leading man of the Australian musical stage.
Thanks to the artist’s magnetic appeal and a dedicated work ethic, Harris has risen to the top of his profession. He has starred in such hit productions and national tours as Malcolm MacGregor in The Full Monty, Perchik in Fiddler on the Roof, Chris in Miss Saigon, Joe Hardy in Damn Yankees, Jimmy Smith in Thoroughly Modern Millie, Greg Connell in The Boy From Oz, Fiyero in Wicked, Emmett Forrest in Legally Blonde, and most recently, Noah/Adam in Children of Eden, and The Baker from Into The Woods.
A Green Room Award Winner for Best Male Actor in a musical (2013), Harris has also released two solo albums, Til The Night Is Gone (2009) and At This Stage (2011). A rich mixture of Top 100 Pop, Jazz and Broadway, notable tracks from both releases include ‘For All We Know’, ‘I Honestly Love You’, ‘Bewitched’, ‘Last Night Of The World’, ‘I’d Rather Leave While I’m In Love’, ‘Corner Of The Sky’, ‘Vincent, and ‘Unexpected Song’.
Blessed with matinee idol looks, a golden singing voice and self – deprecating humour to spare, it comes as no surprise that a local Buzzfeed article recently ranked Harris as our hottest man treading the boards.
All of these achievements and accolades will serve him well, as the thirty – eight year old is packing his bags and heading overseas indefinitely for the bright lights of New York City next month. His first performance in September will be at 54 Below, a prestigious Big Apple supper club that has hosted the likes of Patti LuPone, Donna McKechnie, Ben Vereen and Matthew Morrison, to name a few. From there, he plans to chart his adventures along the Great White Way with a regular video diary posted on You Tube.
As a means to thank his countless Australian fans for all of their love and support, his last touring commitment on home soil may also be his most personal and moving. Written, produced and directed entirely by Harris, Time Is A Traveller is best described as an autobiographical cabaret. A memory book in song, he peppers many hilarious and poignant anecdotes with more than a dozen big show – stoppers and lesser – known delights.
Harris’ intimate journey maps growing up and finding his voice at a high school in country New South Wales, his fan boy admiration for Anthony Warlow, the years of struggle auditioning and working unglamorous gigs, to professionally breaking through by singing and acting in productions like The Boy from Oz, Miss Saigon, Wicked and Legally Blonde.
Reconnecting with some of the material he interpreted from the above – mentioned shows, it is a joy to witness Harris perform them live at such close range. Mixing these old favourites with several jazz standards, his musical versatility, vocal range, passion and intensity in Chapel off Chapel’s Loft space are all the more palpable. Special mention must be made to David Cameron’s fluid piano and guitar accompaniment. Together, both artists shared a fun and relaxed rapport.
As his show’s title suggests, Harris is also a long time fan of Peter Allen.
He was a part of both the original workshop and subsequent touring productions of Allen’s musical life story, The Boy From Oz. It was fascinating to hear Harris talk about these serendipitous life and career changing turning points in depth. Then in respectful dedication to the late songwriter and entertainer, he covered ‘Harbour’, ‘Once Before I Go’, ‘Not An Ordinary Man’ and the magical ‘Tenterfield Saddler’.
However, it wouldn’t be real cabaret without at least one moment of audience participation.
Having confessed that an early teacher suggested a career in yodelling, Harris then turned his attention to the front row. There was no escape as he pointed his microphone in one poor man’s direction. The guy was a good sport however, and earned himself a cute blonde plaited wig for participating.
Time Is A Traveller co – stars his good friend and colleague, Amanda Harrison. Harrison also fronted her own show, Up Close and Reasonably Personal, at Chapel off Chapel as part of the recent Melbourne Cabaret Festival. (She is also performing her review later this year at other venues including The Butterfly Club.)
Together, they made vocal electricity with a pair of duets, ‘You’re Just In Love’ (by Irving Berlin) and ‘As Long As You’re Mine’ (Stephen Schwartz). Fans of the latter song will particularly enjoy their collaboration from Wicked. Though both artists toured in the mega musical, neither starred in the Australian production at the same time. It was a rare treat to see Harris sing as Fiyero and Harrison as Elphaba just one more time.
Further song choices from Harris ranged from ‘Recipe For Love’ (Harry Connick Jnr), ‘The Way You Look Tonight’ (Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields), to ‘If I Only Had A Brain’ (Harold Arlen). His rendition of ‘You Walk With Me’ from The Full Monty was a particular highlight.
It seemed fitting that Harris finished the show with two songs that capture what makes him so special and valued. His renditions of ‘Bring Him Home’ from Les Miserables and ‘Why God, Why?’ from Miss Saigon were definitive.
With a ninety – minute running time that simply flies by, Harris is both completely at home and at the top of his game on the cabaret stage. Time Is A Traveller is an outstanding career snapshot that simultaneously builds and draws one in at the same time. Don’t miss it.