Book by Kirsten Holly Smith and Jonathan Vankin
Starring Kirsten Holly Smith as Dusty Springfield
Directed by Randal Myler
New World Stages on West 50th between 8th & 9th Avenues
Official Website

Reviewed by David Spencer

Forever Dusty is a by-the-numbers “biopic”-style overview of the life and career of legendary British/crossver pop singer Dusty Springfield. The book by Kirsten Holly Smith (who also stars in the title role) and Jonathan Vankin features all-too-standard clumsy, exposition-laden hit-the-highlights dialogue that never digs very deep, and clunky construction, which isn’t helped by Randal Myler’s colorless, no-frills direction—whose transitions from scene to scene, in addition, are graceless rituals of clumsy fade-out and quick-scuffling to get the next set-piece configuration in place before lights-up again, “covered” (not) by music. And the insertion of songs into the proceedings is okayish when they’re presented consciously as songs being performed on stage or in a studio—but, because they’re all from the Springfield catalog, just plain weird when inserted as book songs we’re meant to accept as having sprung from the action.

            The good news is that the music, as performed, is pretty good, and is what tends to predominate. What Ms. Smith lacks as a talkin’ Dusty (she’s okay, nothing extraordinary), she makes up for as a singin’-dancin’ Dusty. The rest of the musical cast, and the band are her match; and Christina Satous, as Dusty’s “secret” black, lesbian domestic partner is, frankly, even better. So if Forever Dusty is lackluster as a book musical, it at least has some cred as a concert surrounded by a little biographical context. If that’s enough for you, you won’t find it dull or unentertaining. It is what it is.

Go to David Spencer's Profile
Return to Home Page

  • Road (National) Tour Review Index
  • New York City & Environs Theatre Review Index
  • Berkshire, Massachusetts Theatre Review Index
  • Boston Area Theatre Review Index
  • Florida Theatre Review Index
  • London Theatre Review Index
  • Minneapolis/St. Paul (Twin Cities) Theatre Review Index
  • Philadelphia & Environs Theatre Review Index
  • San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Review Index
  • Seattle Area Theatre Review Index
  • Toronto, Ontario (Canada) Index