| By Kay Johal
(Updated on Jan 5, 2018)
Oh, those lazy hazy days of the 60s. Cilla doing her thing, Petula Clark giving music life. Swinging London was the place to be. New music was flooding the scene daily. And then there was Dusty Springfield. Educated at a convent school, with a slightly dysfunctional family and being somewhat of a tomboy, music was, perhaps it can be inferred, her release.
Spawning such magnificent songs as ‘I only want to be with you’, ‘Son of a Preacher Man’, You Don’t Have to say you Love Me’ and the collaboration with The Pet Shop Boys for ‘What have I done to deserve this”. With such a stellar set of hits, one would think that Dusty the Musical would be a sure fire hit.
The musical started previews at the Charing Cross Theatre in May 2015. However, it was beset with problems and suffered the misfortune of amongst other things, claims of cast unrest which ended with a three-month delay and a loss of nine cast members. It seemed to want to follow in the footsteps of Let It Be – The Beatles Musical – in that it mimicked being innovative by featuring archive footage of Dusty accompanied by a live band, but this was often out of sync. The general view of the critics was that the show lacked conviction, being committed to the project and failed to explore the woman behind the show.
Forever Dusty, the new show, hopes to remedy that. It is based on the memoirs and notes of Vicki Wickham, a close friend of Dusty’s. What this incarnation of the show perhaps needs to do is expose Dusty’s darkness (certainly towards the end of her life - with battling with cancer, divulging her sexuality and drug abuse issues coming into play) to fresh air and light. The songs themselves will stand the test of time, indeed, Dusty is an alumnus of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame class of 1999.
What is required for the show to become the resounding success it deserves to be, is to be bold, yet sympathetic. Not to back away from the issues in Dusty’s life that she had to face, yet handle them with the due care and sensitivity that is required. Her love of music was instilled primarily by her father and she had a wide range of influences. Perhaps the new show can explore the relationships that Dusty had in her life, from the very public relationships to what actually happened behind closed doors and having to live a secret, double life.
We all recognise Dusty’s tone and warmth and of course her songs. We also need to recognise the life behind the voice.
Dates and running times for the show have not yet been released. Please check back with us for further announcements.