The Provincetown Repertory Theatre (REP), led by artistic director Lynda Sturner at the Provincetown Theater, presents writer-conceiver Susann Fletcher's musical, which, in its development in recent years, starred Fletcher and was called Dusty Springfield: See All Her Faces. Playbill.com previously reported about the Manhattan cabaret test of the material in 2002.
Fletcher has handed the role over to Stacia Fernandez. Evan Bergman directs the two-act production, the second show in the Rep's 10th anniversary season. The musical arranger is Dimitri Nakhamkin. The other featured actors are Beth Beyer, Charlie Parker, Don Stitt, Tom Story and Kathy Deitch.
"A Girl Called Dusty is a musical loosely based on the life of legendary pop singer Dusty Springfield that delves into the psychological conflict between youthful dreams and the realities that follow," according to the Rep.
The "uplifting drama" includes such Springfield classics as "Son of a Preacher Man," "The Look of Love," "Wishin' and Hopin'," "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" and "lesser known gems that reflect the depth and artistry of this musical icon."
Playwright Susann Fletcher has spent the last two decades performing in seven Broadway shows, including three original companies, six national tours, as well as television, film, regional, stock and readings and workshops. She conceived A Girl Called Dusty while on the national tour of Annie Get Your Gun and originally performed it as a one woman show at The Triad in Manhattan in 2002 under the title Dusty Springfield: See All Her Faces. Fletcher's passion for musical theatre prompted her to develop the show further, beyond the cabaret world. During that process, she also recast the title role "finding that being the playwright and the star was one hat too many."
Director Evan Bergman staged the New York and Los Angeles productions of The Director starring John Shea, and was the original Off-Broadway director of Bobbi Boland.
Actress Stacia Fernandez (Dusty) has appeared in Broadway's Tom Sawyer, Swing, The Scarlet Pimpernel and Beauty and the Beast. Most recently, she appeared in Off-Broadway's Lone Star Love. National tours include Evita, Beauty and the Beast, Jerome Robbins' Broadway and Heartstrings to raise money for AIDS awareness.
Performances of A Girl Called Dusty play Tuesday-Friday and Sunday at 8 PM and Saturdays at 5 PM and 9 PM. Tickets are $30-$35. For reservations, please call PtownTix at (508) 487-9793 or log on to www.ptowntix.com.
The Provincetown Theater opened at 238 Bradford Street as Provincetown's first new playhouse in over 25 years. Formerly the site of the old Provincetown Mechanic's Building, the theatre opened in 2004 and houses two resident theatre companies: The Provincetown Theatre Company (PTC), a community-based theatre company, and the Provincetown Repertory Theatre (Rep), a professional theatre operating under arrangement with Actors' Equity Association.
See All Her Faces — the earlier version of A Girl Called Dusty — was an intimate musical biography that explored Springfield's professional life (she was a white woman who brought Motown moves and an R&B-flecked sound to the U.K.) and personal life (she came out as a bisexual as early as 1970, and would struggle with mental illness, substance abuse and cancer in her later life).
"My agents, friends and peers had been after me for quite a few years to do a one woman show but I had never really come across anything that blew my skirt up enough for me to be willing to devote the enormous time, passion and energy required," Fletcher told Playbill.com in 2002. "I didn't want to do something about me at all. But, as I continued to dig, I found that I did want to create a show about Dusty Springfield."
Fletcher knew of Springfield, but not at length. She came across a TV program about Springfield's life and was fascinated by the singer's look, sound and the story. "How could I have missed this woman?" Fletcher said. "I have very strong remembrances of most of the music from that era and I had absolutely loved Petula Clark when I was a girl."
The openly gay Fletcher was also astonished that she had never known through the gay community that Springfield was one of the first pop culture figures to be out of the closet.
Fletcher penned the new show using public accounts of Springfield's life — poring over newspaper clippings and magazine articles.
"As much as possible, I have tried to use direct quotes from the myriad of newspaper, magazine and television interviews that she gave during her life," Fletcher said. "She had a great way with a phrase and wonderful honesty and humor. It's not something that I could really improve upon."
Springfield recorded "Dusty in Memphis" in 1968, and Rolling Stone includes it on its list of the most influential albums of all time. The Pet Shop Boys reintroduced Springfield to a new generation with the success of three songs, recorded between 1985 and 1988: "What Have I done to Deserve This," "Scandal" and "In Private." She started to record again when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1995. She died in England in 1999. Shortly before her death, she received the Order of the British Empire from Queen Elizabeth. She was inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame two weeks after her death. Elton John accepted the award on behalf of her family.