THE LEGEND OF DUSTY SPRINGFIELD
Lives On in New York City at the New World Stages
A SoundPress.net Event Feature by Rich and Laura Lynch

Dusty Springfield (1939-1999) was a chart topping singer of the 1960's and beyond. Springfield was a strong woman who stood up against segregation and she supported other artists. Many early Motown musicians received exposure in the United Kingdom thanks to Dusty's covers. Today her legend lives on in New York City.

Forever Dusty at the New World Stages

Forever Dusty at the New World Stages (340 W 50th Street) is a tribute to this talented lady. The musical is an account of a shy Irish Catholic girl who became a superstar and the face of Swinging London in the 1960's.

Forever Dusty stars and was co-written by Kirsten Holly Smith. For Kirsten it is a dream come true to bring Forever Dusty to The Big Apple and the musical has already passed its 100th performance. The original production was a one-woman show that has expanded to include more characters and stories along with the songs of Dusty Springfield.

The authors (Kirsten and Jonathan Vankin) of Forever Dusty explain that their account is true but told in a fictional form. Most of the major events in the narrative really happened but some of the characters have been composited from multiple people or invented. The main focus of Forever Dusty is conveying the soul and spirit of Springfield.

Soundpress.net attended an afternoon performance of Forever Dusty on March 16th, 2013. On one side of the theater was a full band. The rest of the stage was set with simple props and a big screen which were used to convey places and time throughout the production.

The musical was a comprehensive summary of the life of Dusty as told thorough her songs and four supporting actors and actresses who all played multiple roles. Springfield like many had her triumphs and trials including battles with drinking, drugs and changes in the music scene. Yet, she also faced down racism, sexism and the fear of losing her livelihood because she preferred birds (girls) over boys.

The stark set design permitted quick scene changes so that the story and songs flowed smoothly. Kirsten in the role of Dusty was also quick in discarding or layering colorful costumes to allow for fast transitions. The musical traveled from childhood to Springfield's last years touching upon personal and professional highlights.

The production also paralleled world events including apartheid and the Civil Rights movement in America. Dusty was deported from South Africa for performing to a mixed audience but not before Smith sang a sizzling version of "Willie and Laura Mae Jones."

Passion for the music was a prevailing theme in Forever Dusty. The cast presented well known hits such as "Son of a Preacher Man", "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" and more with reverent fervor.

The closing song "Don't Forget About Me" was dedicated to Dusty and was a reminder not to forget about the great talents of Dusty Springfield. After the show Kirsten emerged in a glamorous gown to say hi and sign autographs for the patrons. Forever Dusty was a fast-paced and thoroughly entertaining glimpse at the sometimes troubled life of a real Rock and Roll Hall of Famer.

Forever Dusty is one of five shows currently running at The New World Stages, which are located in the heart of Manhattan and near the dining mecca of Hells Kitchen.

Related Links: For more information on FOREVER DUSTY and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - Forever Dusty | New World Stages

(Originally Published on March 18, 2013)

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