Dusty: The Musical opened two months ago in Melbourne, winning over the critics and audiences. The show is a hit and is now on its way to Sydney for the 23 March opening night.

But as audiences now line up for tickets, producers and writers of the show are breathing a sigh of relief. It has been a four-year journey from the time of the initial idea for a musical about Dusty Springfield through to the successful opening night.

The new eight-part ABC TV series Dusty, Little By Little chronicles every turning point of that journey, from early writing meetings, through to the casting of the show, the rehearsal process and then developing it to opening night.

Tamsin Carroll has the lead role of the beehived diva, while Mitchell Butell plays the role of Rodney, Dusty’s hairdresser and trusty gay best friend.

Butell says while rehearsals can usually be a very slow and boring process, the TV cameras did manage to capture a few moments of high dramas behind the scenes as the musical began to take shape.

There are a few times when people say, -˜Can you turn that camera off, please!’ when they were feeling a little vulnerable, Butell says. They caught a few spats and turns, but there were others too that weren’t captured.

They didn’t catch any hissy fits from me, only quite a lot of swearing and chastising myself and calling myself all kinds of four-letter names when I got something wrong. If you don’t know how a theatre show is rehearsed, then this is a pretty interesting series.

Butell features throughout the TV series, as his character first came to life in an early workshop production and then developed as the rehearsal period of the full musical continued. At one point in the multi-production number show, Rodney has his own Wig Medley, appearing as 60s divas Petula Clark, Cilla Black and Shirley Bassey.

The other day, one of the chorus boys said to me, -˜This is the gayest show I have ever been in,’ and I don’t think he is entirely wrong, Butell says. It is certainly up there for me too!

Dusty, Little By Little screens Tuesdays at 8pm on ABC TV.

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