Every day is opening night.

Full Cast and Creative Team Announced for the World Premiere of “Forever Dusty”


“F O R E V E R   D U S T Y”



New York, NY (October 4, 2012) – The full cast and creative team for the world premiere of Forever Dusty, a new musical about the life and times of legendary icon Dusty Springfield, by Kirsten Holly Smith and Jonathan Vankin, has been announced. Directed by Randal Myler (Love, Janis; It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues), performances will begin November 11, 2012 at New World Stages (340 West 50th Street), with an official Opening Night set for Sunday, November 18, 2012.

Along with Smith, Forever Dusty will feature Christina Sajous (Spider-Man, American Idiot), Coleen Sexton (Jekyll and Hyde, Wicked National Tour), Benim Foster (Barefoot in the Park, Twelve Angry Men), Sean Patrick Hopkins (Forever Plaid, Angels in America), Ashley Betton (Peep Show, Midsummer Night’s Dream) and Jonathan C. Kaplan (Falsettos, Diary of Anne Frank).

The additional creative team includes Wilson Chin (Set Design), Richard DiBella (Lighting Design), Matt Kraus (Sound Design), Michael Thomas Murray (Musical Direction), and Nancy Palmatier (Costume Design).

With her towering blonde beehive, spectacular outfits, and most of all, her unforgettable, soulful voice, Dusty Springfield became the first great female pop star of the 1960s.  But how did a shy, awkward Catholic schoolgirl with the cumbersome name of Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O’Brien, transform herself into an icon for a generation?

Forever Dusty tells the compelling and moving story of Dusty’s journey, in a dramatic, high-energy musical filled with some of the most exciting pop songs ever written, including “Son of a Preacher Man,” “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me,” “The Look of Love,” and many others.
The Forever Dusty box office is located at New World Stages (340 West 50th Street). Tickets range in price from $69.00 – $79.00, with premium tickets available at $110. There will also be a general rush policy in place, which will take place every day when the box office opens. Rush tickets will be $26.50, cash only, and each person may purchase up to 2 tickets. Box office hours are as follows: Monday, Thursday and Friday (1:00 pm – final curtain), Tuesday (1:00 pm – 7:00 pm), and Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday (10:00 am until final curtain).

Forever Dusty will play the following performance schedule:  Mondays at 7:00 p.m., Wednesdays at 2:30pm & 7:00 p.m., Thursdays & Fridays at 8:00 p.m., Saturdays at 2:30 p.m. & 8:00 p.m., and Sundays at 3:00 p.m.  For the special holiday schedule, please check the website: http://foreverdusty.com/.

Forever Dusty will be produced by Jorja Fox, Leslie Brockett, Jane Gullong, and Sandalphon Productions, with executive producer Eva Price of Maximum Entertainment Productions.


KIRSTEN HOLLY SMITH (Co-Writer/Dusty Springfield). For the past several years, the dynamic singer-actress has devoted herself to researching, writing, and developing her musical about the legendary Dusty Springfield. In 2006 she received The Spectrum Arts Grant at The University Of Southern California. Her show Stay Forever: The Life and Music of Dusty Springfield had its world premiere at The Renberg Theatre in Los Angeles to critical acclaim and sold out houses. She also created a concert version of the show, featuring many of Dusty’s greatest hits, which she has performed at numerous venues in New York and Los Angeles as well as regionally. She is thrilled to bring the biggest, most powerful version yet, Forever Dusty, to New World Stages. Kirsten's other credits include: Three Sisters at LATC (Natasha),The Foursome (Ellie) (Tim Robbins' The Actor's Gang Theatre),Tomfoolery (Pam) The Comedy Store, Of Mice and Men  (Curly’s Wife) Cape Fear Regional. Other credits: Lysistrata (Lysistrata), Twelfth Night. (Olivia), Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and No Strings. Kirsten spent a year in Japan performing live with a big band orchestra. Her most recent TV/Print appearance was for the HBO show Hung as Kate. In film she was most recently seen in the Tribeca Film Festival selection, Curfew. She played the lead in the award-winning musical Isle of Lesbos (Berlin and other festivals), Forever Love with Reba McEntire, Firecracker with Karen Black, After Image with John Mellencamp/Sundance Film Festival. She has twice been a finalist in the Sundance Writers Lab. Currently studies acting with Alice Spivak and voice with Bill Riley and Dr. Linda Carroll.

CHRISTINA SAJOUS (Claire). New World Stages Debut! Broadway: SPIDER-MAN Turn off the Dark (Arachne), Baby It's You! (Shirley), American Idiot (Extraordinary Girl). Regional: American Idiot (Berkeley Repertory Theatre), The Who’s Tommy (Arkansas Repertory Theatre), RENT (National Tour/ Japan Tour). Readings/Workshops/Labs: Holler If Ya Hear Me ( w/ Kenny Leon), Super Fly: The Musical (w/ Bill T. Jones), Her Lightness (w/ Jackson Gay), Prometheus Bound (w/ Diane Paulus). TV: “The 52nd Annual Grammy Awards” (CBS), “One Life to Live” (ABC). Training: NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Dedicated to my Brother and Angel, Joshua Sajous.

COLEEN SEXTON (Becky/Gini, Dusty Cover) is thrilled to be a part of this exciting show! Coleen is best known for her portrayal as Lucy Harris in the original Broadway production of Jekyll and Hyde. She can be seen in the film version opposite David Hasselhoff.  Her most recent performance was playing Miss Sandra in All Shook Up at the North Shore Music Theater. National touring credits include Elphaba in Wicked and Brooke Wyndham in Legally Blonde. She also played various roles in Chicago on the Broadway tour as well. Other favorite roles include Lady of the Lake in Spamalot, Florence in Chess, Narrator in Joseph…, Mary Magdelene in Jesus Christ Superstar and Velma Kelly in Chicago. TV credits include “Law and Order”, “Third Watch”, “As the World Turns”, and “Guiding Light”. Jersey girl and NY Yankees fan….and proud of it!

BENIM FOSTER (Jerry Wexler). Benim's credits include Broadway’s Barefoot in the Park (with Patrick Wilson and Amanda Peet, Directed by Scott Elliot), and The Roundabout Theatre Company's National Tour of Twelve Angry Men (with Richard Thomas and George Wendt, Directed by Scott Ellis). Off-Broadway credits include Becky Shaw at Second Stage, Last Train to Nibroc (Drama League Nomination for Best Play), and The Public Theatre’s Henry V (Directed by Doug Hughes). Chicago:  Disgraced (World Premiere, American Theatre Company).  Some other regional credits include The Merchant of Venice, The Venetian Twins, Sleuth (with Keir Dullea), Much Ado About Nothing, Modern Orthodox, and the world premieres of A Higher Place in Heaven, and Duplex, for which Benim received an award for Best Actor from NYC's Midtown International Theatre Festival. Benim starred in the indie film favorite Stags in which he received a best actor nomination from NYC's Visionfest Film Festival.  Other film credits include The Flying Scissors (with Matthew Arkin), Analyze This, Broadway Damage, the award winning short Imperfection and the IFC's The Undeserved. TV credits include “Fringe”, “Ugly Betty”, “Law & Order”, “Law & Order: SVU”, “Guiding Light”, “As the World Turns”, “Another World”, and “All My Children”.  Benim is a graduate of the North Carolina School of The Arts.

SEAN PATRICK HOPKINS (Tom Springfield). Sean Patrick Hopkins is thrilled to be making his Off-Broadway debut with Forever Dusty after being involved in its development since 2010. He has also had the pleasure of being active in new works and readings at the York Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, and Mint Theatre Company. Regionally, Sean helped to open a new theatre in Sacramento for California Musical Theatre with a year-long run of Forever Plaid under the direction of Guy Stroman. Hailing from RI, Sean has appeared throughout New England, notably as Joe Pitt in the first professional American revival of Angels In America at Boston Theatre Works, which won an Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Production. Sean was seen opposite Dawn Upshaw in Opera Boston’s Ainadamar, directed by Peter Sellars. He also had the honor of appearing opposite the late James Whitmore in one of his final productions, The Man Who Came To Dinner at the Peterborough Players, directed by Gus Kaikkonen. Other regional favorites include George Bailey in It’s A Wonderful Life, Bernard in Boeing Boeing, Paul Bratter in Barefoot In The Park, Clown #2 in The 39 Steps, Bob Cratchit in A Christmas Carol, and Orlando in As You Like It. TV credits include this year’s ABC pilot “The Gilded Lilys” and Showtime’s “Brotherhood”. Sean graduated Summa Cum Laude from Northeastern University. www.seanpatrickhopkins.com

ASHLEY BETTON (Female Swing). A native of Colorado, Ashley got her BA from the University of Northern Colorado. Off-Broadway and Regional credits include: Peep Diva in Jerry Mitchell's Peep Show, Betty Lou in National Pastime, Titania in Midsummer Night's Dream, and Dawn in Making Moves. She sends a special thanks to mom, dad and Matt. 

JONATHAN C. KAPLAN (Male Swing). Broadway: Falsettos (Tony nom., Theatre World Award), Diary of Anne Frank. Off-Broadway: Rags, The Loman Family Picnic. National Tour: The Graduate. Regional: Romeo & Juliet, The Comedy of Errors (The Acting Company), Twelve Angry Men (George Street Playhouse), The Liar (Denver Center), Nobody, Fall of the House (Alabama Shakespeare Festival), Betrayal (Hangar Theatre), A Little Night Music, These Shining Lives (Baltimore Centerstage), 1001 (CATF), Take Me Out (Gallery Players), Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Two River Theater Company). Film: Real Mikado, What Just Happened?, Life with Mikey. Television: “Elementary”, “The Good Wife”, “Law & Order: SVU”, “Law & Order: CI”, “Six Degrees”, “Babylon 5”, and “STWB”.

JONATHAN VANKIN (Co-Writer) is an author, award-winning journalist, comic book writer and screenwriter. His writing has appeared in the The New York Times Magazine, Wired, Salon, L.A. Weekly and numerous other publications. Among his nonfiction books are five editions of the popular Greatest Conspiracies franchise, Based on a True Story (But With More Car Crashes) and The Big Book of Scandal. He wrote the graphic novels Tokyo Days, Bangkok Nights and Tasty Bullet. Continuing in the comics industry, his publications include the DC/Vertigo Comics series The Witching, The Search for Swamp Thing for DC Comics and Godzilla Legends: Rodan for IDW Comics. Television: “The Crow: Stairway to Heaven” (based on the comic The Crow). His screenplay credits include: Dragon’s Fin Soup, Testsuo: The Bullet Man (Tribeca Film festival in 2010, English adaptation), The Tripwire (semi-finalist Creative Screenwriting Magazine AAA Contest 2010), and Stay Forever (twice a finalist in Sundance Writers Lab selections). As a Senior Editor at DC/Vertigo Comics he edited the New York Times #1 Bestseller Get Jiro by Anthony Bourdain; The Exterminators, Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere and Testament, as well as the graphic novels The Quitter by Harvey Pekar, The Alcoholic by Jonathan Ames, and How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less, among many others. He won back-to-back New England Press Association Awards for sports feature writing. He also won a NEPA for news feature, as well as a Bay Area Project Censored award, and spent time as a sportswriter/editor at The Daily Yomiuri in Tokyo, Japan.

RANDAL MYLER (Director) received a Tony Award nomination (Best Musical/Best Book of a Musical) and a Drama Desk nomination (Best Musical Revue) for It Ain’t Nothin’ But The Blues, which he staged at both NYC's Lincoln Center and Broadway's Ambassador Theatre. Love, Janis, Mr. Myler's musical biography of Janis Joplin, reached over 700 performances at the former Village Gate, while his highly-successful musical Hank Williams Lost Highway has been performed both Off-Broadway (garnering Mr. Myler a 'Best Director' nomination from the Outer Critic's Circle) and throughout the United States, as has his coal mining musical (co-written with Dan Wheetman) Fire On The Mountain (which received five Joseph Jefferson Awards in Chicago). His many regional directorial credits also include both the Kennedy Center and the Arena Stage in Washington D.C., both the Mark Taper Forum and the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles, the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Arizona Theater Company, Denver Center, Dallas Theater Center, Houston's Alley Theater, Seattle Repertory Theater, Actor's Theatre of Louisville, San Diego's Old Globe Theater, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Cincinnati Playhouse, Chicago's Royal George, Northlight Theater and many others.

WILSON CHIN (Set Designer). New York credits include Next Fall (Broadway); 10 things to do before I die, Len Asleep in Vinyl and The Dear Boy (Second Stage Theatre); The Jammer (Atlantic Theatre); Dark Matters and Boise (Rattlestick Theatre); Boom (Ars Nova); and Masked (Daryl Roth Theatre). His opera designs include Lucia di Lammermoor (Lyric Opera of Chicago), Eine Florentinische Tragodie and Gianni Schicchi (Canadian Opera Company, Dora Award winner), and The Saint of Bleecker Street (Central City Opera). Regionally, he has designed at American Conservatory Theatre, Barrington Stage, Cincinnati Playhouse, Geffen Playhouse, George Street Playhouse Guthrie Theatre, Hartford Stage, The Old Globe, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Signature Theatre, Two River Theatre, Westport Country Playhouse and Yale Rep. Wilson is a graduate of Yale School of Drama. www.wilsonchin.com.

RICHARD DIBELLA (Lighting Designer) Broadway: The Performers. Off-Broadway: Now. Here. This. (Vineyard Theater), Rated P for Parenthood (Westside Theater), Silence! (NY & LA), From the Fire (New School), This Wide Night (Naked Angels), Whore, Hardball (SPF), Bench (Jennifer Muller: The Works), Missed Connections NYC, Playlist, Holy Cross Sucks! (Ars Nova), Creation Nation (Ars Nova, South Beach Comedy Festival, HBO Comedy Arts Festival), Billy Eichner: Gay, White & Terrified (Joe's Pub), The Gingerbread House (stageFARM), The Dome (Prospect Theater), and Kidz Bop Live! (Tour and Six Flags Amusement Parks).

MATT KRAUS (Sound Designer). Broadway: Kathy Griffin Wants a Tony, Liza's at the Palace…!. Favorite productions include:  Buddy at The Walnut Street, Fat Camp, Absinthe in Las Vegas, The Voca People -US, Lone Star Love. Off-Broadway: Ain't Misbehavin' at Cincinnati Playhouse. Matt also has the pleasure of designing sound for Liza Minnelli on major stages around the world. Member of USA 829, Local One IATSE, and holds a BFA in Theatre Design and Production from the University of Cincinnati-CCM.

MICHAEL THOMAS MURRAY (Musical Director) has backed up acts including the Chantels, the Vandellas, Patty Labelle, and his mentor, Soul legend, Jimmy Guilford, who inspired Mike’s Rhythm and Blues musical, Great Googley Moo.  Mike’s other composition collaborations include work with Gretchen Cryer and Ben George on Brain Cells, Chris Patterson on Dance, Bojangles and Ira Shapiro on 1812 the Musical. Music Director for Revision Theatre’s East Coast Premiere of Kingdom. Also at Revision: Tommy, The Bikinis and Rocky Horror.   Favorite roles: Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors, Cole Porter in Cole and Noel, and Lenny Mendel in Murder Mystery Blues.  http://www.michaelthomasmurray.com

NANCY PALMATIER (Costume Designer) Nancy has been an Associate Costume Designer on Broadway for: Chinglish, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Guys and Dolls, Lestat, Bombay Dreams, Life x3, The New 42nd Street, The King and I, and more. She has designed for Rockland Opera, Queens College, and the Metro Stage Company.

JOY DEWING (Casting Director). Current/recent tours: Catch Me if You Can, West Side Story, In the Heights, Fiddler on the Roof, Cats. Off-Broadway: Voca People, Soul Doctor. Regional: Flat Rock Playhouse, The Lost Colony. Dance: The Bad Boys of Dance, STREB. Other recent favorites: Legally Blonde (tour), Dear Edwina (off-Broadway), Movin’ Out (tour), 101 Dalmatians (tour/NYC). Joy travels to SETC, UPTA, and the nation’s top universities and training programs every year to discover the next generation of our industry’s most talented performers. Proud member of The Casting Society of America and catcher on its softball team. www.joydewingcasting.com


“Smith delivers slam-dunk vocals… “Son of a Preacher Man” and “The Look of Love” are standouts, although lesser known numbers such as 'Breakfast in Bed' are sultry surprises.”
The Los Angeles Times

“Kirsten Holly Smith does a smashing Dusty Springfield!  Smith captures both the soulfulness and the sultriness of the British chantoozie. …By the end, you're in love with TWO top-notch singers.”
The Village Voice

“Springfield's signature songs…  (are) sung with passion and verve by Smith, who combines rich musicality with high-octane conviction and style.”
LA Weekly

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