Monday, November 26, 2012


I grew up listening to "the hits" of the radio.  It was about the songs I loved and sang along with, not caring about the personal life of the singer.  Nowadays, not only are we passing judgement on their private lives, we get to view it after they die. Choose: a reality show on tv about Whitney Houston's family: the last video of Michael Jackson; or the Off-Broadway Musical, Forever Dusty, the life of singer Dusty Springfield.

Forever Dusty stars Kirsten Holly Smith who co-wrote the book (script). She not only gives a likeness to the great singer, but captures her songs, as well.  An Authors' Note is placed in our Playbill saying, "What you'll see tonight in Forever Dusty is true, but in fictional form. Most of the major events in our narrative really happened. But the characters have been composited from multiple people in Dusty's life, or invented altogether. We've also taken some liberties with the time sequence of events".  In other words, you'll get the gist of her life and songs that live on forever.

The show opens to the year 1968 at a recording studio in Memphis as Dusty is trying to record "Son of a Preacher Man" for her album "Dusty In Memphis".  Along with the band is her producer Jerry Wexler (Benim Foster).  Recording session not working well and we are soon transported to Dusty's life as a teenager at a Catholic School in post-war London.  Her name is Mary O'Brien and on a dare sings "Wishin' and Hopin'. 

Next, we meet her brother Dion (Sean Patrick Hopkins), a singer who decides to form a band.  He becomes Tom Springfield and he and Dusty are now The Springfields. Dusty, listening to the American hits , seems to enjoy the Motown sound much more.  What to do, what to do.

Tv op and Dusty sings, "I Only Want to Be With You" which gets her to now wear her famous long eyelashes and black eyeliner to go with the big hair.  She soon meets Claire (Christina Sajous), an American writer who is black.  Dusty sings, "The Look of Love" leading into a love relationship with Claire.  So, we are now talking not only being a lesbian but black/white and Dusty has no intention of coming out of the closet. 

"You Don't Have To Say You Love Me" is first sung at a tv studio and more story that will lead us to find that she was an alcoholic as well as taking drugs.  The final life upset is breast cancer.

Sajous, who is not new to Broadway, does a lot of singing in the show.  I loved her voice. In fact, the entire cast is quite talented, contributing to a play that will appeal to both Dusty Springfield fans as well as those who grew up in the sixties or even the 70s. See it!

Forever Dusty is being performed at New World Stages, located at 340 W. 50th Street. 

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