Lost Boy Campbell Walker Fields’ 2 dads helped him ‘Fly’ at DTC
It’s probably no coincidence that Campbell Walker Fields’ favorite TV show is Dance Moms. He’s kind of living that life.
No, Campbell isn’t Abby; he’s the kid of the story, the young actor who had a hankering to act and just happened to have two dads who encouraged him.
“I wanted to be a parent for as long as I can remember,” says Tim Fields, one of Campbell’s dads. (Fields is Daddy to Campbell and his brother Sam; his partner, Eddie Walker, is Poppy.) When he and Walker began dating 18 years ago, they discussed having children.
Twelve years ago, they adopted Campbell at birth; four months later, Sam came along and they did the same.
But being gay parents, they didn’t immediately jump into the idea of forcing their sons into sports.
“Our philosophy was to avoid sports until the fourth grade,” Fields explains. “We encouraged the arts, and as long as they wanted to stick with it,” they followed through. Sam was attracted early to art; Campbell, now 12, liked performing.
“We saw something in him from birth,” Fields says. “Before Campbell could speak, he was singing.”
“Is that true?” Campbell chimes in. “Hmm.”
Campbell’s interest has now hit a high-water mark, as he’s Foo, one of The Lost Boys in Dallas Theater Center’s world premiere musical adaptation of the Peter Pan story, Fly.
“I wanted to be a police officer when I was younger,” Campbell says over a plate of pad see ew. “Then I started singing.”
He entered a performing arts elementary school in Oklahoma City, getting started in singing half his lifetime ago (he’s now enrolled in another performing arts high); he even appeared as the Artful Dodger in Oliver! at the acclaimed Lyric Theatre in OKC. But this is a huge leap forward.
“In Oliver!, not everyone was a professional; in Fly, everyone is a professional. And it’s my first paid show,” he says.
It’s also his first show that required actual relocation. When Campbell was doing Seussical at the theater at the University of Oklahoma, the show’s director spotted his talent and recommended he audition for Fly. Fields and Walker discussed it; because it was in Dallas, they figured they could manage it if Campbell got cast.
Campbell was quickly signed — the first of the child actors to be cast — and his dads began the process of coordinating life for an out-of-town run. Fields, a hairstylist and fashion editor, and Walker, the CEO of the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, have spent most of the summertime swapping weeks with Campbell in Dallas while the other stays home looking after Sam; on weekends, they all unite in Dallas as a family.
Not that Campbell has much time for traditional family stuff — Fly runs for a total of 52 full performances (including weekend matinees), as well as promotional shows and many weeks of rehearsal leading up to the opening. It’s been a full-time job.
It’s also been one for Fields, who has to drop about half his clients to accommodate Campbell’s schedule. But it hasn’t been all lounging around the pool while his son works; Fields (and Walker on alternate weeks) is responsible for dropping off and picking up the young actor, including fetching him for lunch/dinner breaks. And there have, of course, been some of those Dance Moms moments.
“One night I was picking Campbell up from rehearsal at midnight and he came limping out to the car in a bad mood. I asked him what happened. He said, ‘One of the other kids ran over me with his scooter.’ Well, the kids were told not to ride their scooters around. I did go a little Momma Rose about that,” says Fields, alluding to the quintessential stage mother from Gypsy.
“They’re not crazy,” adds Campbell gingerly. “[Poppy], though, is more relaxed than Daddy.”
“He’s certainly a better diplomat,” Fields agrees.
Campbell exudes a rare maturity and sophistication about the whole experience, from being apart from his home for the summer (“there are 11 kids in this show; they are replacing my friends back home — I’ll be sad to see them go … unless we move to Broadway”) to his own taste in music (“I sing lots of genres. I like Broadway and have developed a liking for some Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis — I don’t rap, though”) to the process of being part of a world premiere, including script changes and adapting to the new choreography on a routine basis. And he’s glad his dads are as supportive of his career as he is.
“If God didn’t give me a daughter I could shove into pageants, at least He gave me a son with an interest in musical theater,” Fields says.
Momma Rose would be so proud.
Fly runs at the Wyly Theatre, 2400 Flora St., through Aug. 18. For tickets and more information, visit DallasTheaterCenter.org.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 2, 2013.