After the opening night of Dusty: The Original Pop Diva, in Melbourne earlier this year, the show’s star Tamsin Carroll arrived home to discover a sign she had been waiting for from Dusty Springfield herself.
As Carroll walked into her apartment late on the sultry Melbourne night, her boyfriend Ben opened the balcony doors to let in some fresh air. And that’s when she heard what she needed to hear.
As the breeze blew in, so did the sounds of the nightclub downstairs, Carroll recalls. They were playing Dusty’s Son Of A Preacher Man, and this is not the kind of club that plays Dusty hits.
I couldn’t help but smile as I thought it was her way of saying she was happy and that the opening night went well. A lot of us have had feelings that she is hovering around us, and we are glad to have her on side.
Carroll is undoubtedly hoping for another sign from the beehived British soul legend when Dusty opens in Sydney tonight, 23 March, at the Lyric Theatre. The musical won rave reviews and played to full houses in Melbourne, but Sydneysider Carroll admits she is very keen for it to be a hit in her home town.
It will be wonderful to bring this home, and I think Sydney knows how to welcome a show like this, she says. It is a home-grown show, it is a celebration of a great life and it is about someone everyone knows and loves.
Dusty also stars Deni Hines, Mitchell Butell and Tricia Noble, and has earned praise for its lavish production, which sees Carroll whip through 24 costumes and 14 wig changes.
Dusty loved the drama of the clothes and the wigs, but she also had a very camp sense of humour, Carroll says. She loved camp and it was very much a part of her.
The show features the music Springfield became legendary for, including You Don’t Have To Save You Love Me, I Only Wanna Be With You and Stay Awhile, against the background of her tumultuous personal life, involving battles with alcohol, drugs and depression.
In the show, the women in Dusty’s life have been combined in the composite character of Reno, played by Hines. Carroll says the topic of Springfield’s sexuality was an essential part of the show’s script.
Dusty was a lesbian and it is a completely necessary part of the character, Carroll says. It wasn’t something she felt she needed to speak up about in a huge way, but it wasn’t something she denied either.
Some people have said they didn’t know she was a lesbian, but I don’t think many people have a problem with it. Deni and I have a kiss at the end of the song, Wishin’ And Hopin’, and more often than not, we get a huge applause
The characters of Dusty and Reno are beautiful together and, ultimately, when there is love there, it has to be a good thing.
Dusty: The Original Pop Diva opens tonight, 23 March, at the Lyric Theatre, Star City. Bookings on 1300 136 166 or at the Ticketmaster website.