Review: Springfield sings again 'Forever Dusty'

Associated Press Modified: November 19, 2012 at 8:01 pm •  Published: November 19, 2012

Smith bears a striking physical resemblance to the title character and displays a nuanced command of Springfield's unique vocal style, performing standbys like "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me," ''The Look of Love," and "Son of a Preacher Man."

Accompanied by a funky, four-piece band, the singers complement each other neatly, with Dusty's smooth, subdued approach contrasting Sajous' hard-hitting voice and energetic presence.

Sajous leaves a lasting impression — and a blur of sequins — in her electric rendition of the soul classic "Tell Him" by the Exciters, a high-energy, danceable tune that opens Dusty's ears to the American sound.

The play breezes through a famous chapter of Springfield's life in which her tour is canceled and she is deported from South Africa for performing for racially integrated audience.

Benim Foster plays legendary record producer Jerry Wexler and also a British journalist who first reports Springfield's romantic interest in women, a revelation the singer had avoided for years because of the potential fallout it would cause in her career.

In covering the entire span of Springfield's life and career, the show even recreates a 1980s collaboration with the Pet Shop Boys, a musical number that probably wasn't necessary.

While Smith has embraced her subject with unquestioned thoroughness as an actor, singer and writer, her script could benefit from some tinkering to hone its focus and strike a better balance between its theatrical and musical elements.

At the very least, "Forever Dusty" is sure to give Springfield fans a rare, richly developed revue of her music, if only a skin-deep reading of her life and place among her contemporaries.