Dusty – the Original Pop Diva tells the story of Mary O’Brien who the world knew as Dusty Springfield. In the 1960s Dusty Springfield takes the entertainment world by storm with a score of hits, a top TV show and a legion of fans. She was the most influential British female artist of the 60’s. Known as the White Lady of Soul, she was responsible for bringing the Motown sound to the UK. But the success she wanted is hollow and real happiness eludes her.
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In the 1950s a star-struck, plain and dumpy London schoolgirl imagines she could become a glamorous movie idol. Her parents tell her that her fantasies will never come true and not to dream the impossible dream. But nothing deters her, and blessed with an amazing voice and talent, she sets out to become a singer and star. Soon, plain Mary O’Brien has transformed herself into the blonde pop icon, Dusty Springfield. But while Dusty, the gorgeous blonde star, is the image the world sees, it is an illusion behind which little Mary O’Brien still lives; the alter ego from which Dusty can never escape and who remains with her throughout her life. In the 1960s Dusty Springfield takes the entertainment world by storm with a score of hits, a top TV show and a legion of fans. She was the most influential British female artist of the 60’s.
Known as the White Lady of Soul, she was responsible for bringing the Motown sound to the UK. But the success she wanted is hollow and real happiness eludes her. Driven by her sense of perfection, Dusty takes on the world even as she discovers a desperate need to be loved in a way that could cause her career to crash. At the pinnacle of international success, with triumphs in Britain and America, Dusty finds the pressure unbearable. Unable to be what other people expect, and finding the spotlight’s heat can burn, she retreats from the world into a dark place. Finding strength in adversity, Dusty returns to soar to the top. With the world applauding again, she has one more battle to fight.
Dusty – the Original Pop Diva
by John Michael Howson, David Mitchell & Melvyn Morrow
9 Women, 1 Girl, 8 Male plus numerous small roles, showgirls, drag queens, fans, backing singers.
DUSTY SPRINGFIELD: The character will develop as the story progresses. Strong acting ability will be required to carry her extremely complex personality. Requires an excellent pop voice that can handle the Dusty Springfield range and style. Very demanding vocally. Sings almost every song in the show. All the songs are in Dusty’s original keys. Range: G below middle C to strong chest C above middle C. Age Range: 20-40 years. General movement.
RENO: the lead singer of a black female trio “The Nevadas”. The role is written for a black pop/soul singer, however is not paramount to casting the role She has a close relationship with Dusty. Strong contemporary soul voice. Range: A below Middle C to C above Middle C Age Range: 20 – 40 years. Typical Motown style movement.
MARY O’BRIEN (YOUNG DUSTY): Mary is the young, gawky, bespectacled Dusty and is portrayed in the show as a juvenile school girl who takes the journey through Dusty’s formative experiences. This character takes on a narrative role and is continually on stage. Strong pop ballad voice. Strong acting and vocal ability with good movement. Age Range: 18-25 years.
RODNEY:a Hairdresser who is one of Dusty’s long time confidantes. Theatrically ‘camp’ and extremely loyal to Dusty through her career. Good at harmonies. Vocal Range: High pop baritone to D. Age Range: 20 – 40 years. Good mover.
PEG:Theatrical Dresser – another of Dusty’s closest friends. Good pop voice. Range: A below Middle C to C above Middle C Age Range: 20 – 40 years. Good mover (Double Up).
KAY O’BRIEN (MOTHER): Typical Irish working class parent with a sense of humour. Actors with comedic style. Vocal Range: Mature ballad voice. Solo song. Age Range: 30 – 50 years. Will double up in other parts.
MR O’BRIEN (FATHER) – Typical Irish working class parent with a sense of humour. Actor with comedic style. Basically a non singing role. Some harmony work. Range: Baritone C to C. Age Range: 30 – 50 years. Will double up in other parts. Tom: Mary/Dusty’s Brother. He helps arrange early songs and performs as part of her original backing group. Strong vocals. Vocal Range: Tenor up to G Age Range: 20 – 35 years. Good movement (Double Up).
BACKING VOCALISTS: NEVADAS, LANA SISTERS, SPRINGFIELDS, DRAG QUEENS: Typical 60’s style backing vocalists. Good contemporary singers. Must be excellent at harmonies and blending. Vocal Ranges: Nevadas – 2 girl singers. B below Middle C to C above Middle C. Lana Sisters – 2 girl singers . A below Middle C to D above Middle C. Springfields – 2 boy singers. Pop baritone up to D. Drag Queens – Strong Movement.
COMPANY/ENSEMBLE: School girls/Young Tom/Al Saxon/TV Announcer/Radio Announcer/ Go Go Dancers/ Starlets etc. Up to 12 in total. This is an exciting dance and ensemble singing show in the 60’s style. Must be able to carry the vocal demands of the show. The ensemble will also play a variety of small speaking/vocal roles and take on some key backing vocal parts. Some boys will need to wear drag for the Drag Queen and company scene. Vocal Range: All must be excellent at harmonies and blending. Age Range: 16+ years (Double Up)
Piano/Vocal: Keyboard 1 (Acoustic Piano and Electric Piano.)
Keyboard 2 (2 keyboards required for the one player)
Reed 1 (Alto and Flute)
Reed 2 (Tenor and Clarinet)
Trumpet (Trumpet and Flugel)
Guitar (Acoustic and Electric)
Drums (Kit and a Mark Tree)