Seven-time Olivier Award winner Maria Friedman will direct Dusty, the first authorised musical charting the life of “panda-eyed” songstress Dusty Springfield which will premiere in the UK in 2018.
Although Maria Friedman is best know for her award winning performances in musicals, more recently her directing credits have included Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along for Menier Chocolate Factory, which won the Critics’ Circle Award for Best Musical in 2012, and, more recently in 2015, a successful revival of High Society at The Old Vic Theatre.
Now taking on Dusty’s story, the new musical’s plot-line is derived from notes and memoirs written by the singer’s close friend and manager Vicki Wickham which have been turned into a script by Bafta- and Olivier-nominated writer Jonathan Harvey, whose tv credits include Rev, Shameless, At Home With The Braithwaites, The Catherine Tate Show and Tracey Ullman’s Show.
Dusty Springfield sadly lost her fight against cancer in early 1999, but her legacy lives on as one of Britain’s most successful and enduringly singers with her career spanning four decades starting in the 1960s with her iconic hits “I Only Want To Be With You”and “You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me”. She would later have more success at the top of the charts with “What Have I Done To Deserve This?” a collaboration with the Pet Shop Boys in 1987 and two years later another top ten hit with “Nothing Has Been Proved” from the “Scandal” film soundtrack.
People who knew the singer often described her as having two personalities : shy, quiet, Mary O’Brien (her birth name) and the public face she had created as Dusty Springfield. She also battled many for years with alcohol and drug abuse and it was reported that she self-harmed a number of times during a tuburlant personal life.
Shortly after her death, at her induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, her friend Sir Elton John said, “I’m biased but I just think she was the greatest white singer there ever has been … Every song she sang, she claimed as her own.”
A West End venue and casting for the musical have yet to be confirmed.