STAY FOREVER: THE LIFE AND MUSIC OF DUSTY SPRINGFIELD

Kristin Holly Smith plays the pop diva in this musical biography, featuring 13 of Springfield's signature songs, including "Son of a Preacher Man" and "Wishing and Hoping." It's essentially a solo show, though Smith receives able support from a four-piece band, led by music director Zachary Provost, and backup singers Lelah Foster and Annette Moore. Between songs, Smith narrates and re-enacts Springfield's past as a wayward Irish lass named Mary O'Brien, till she fell in love with Motown music and changed her name. On the British TV show Ready, Steady, Go!, she helped introduce black music in England, and built a rep as a white soul singer. She scored international success in the 1970s, but her personal life was stormy. A lesbian, she drove her lover away with her growing drug and alcohol dependence and rock-star egotism, and came out (or was outed) in the press. In apartheid-era Johannesburg, she was put under house arrest by the South African government for insisting that blacks and coloreds should be admitted to her concerts. But the real draw here is the songs, sung with passion and verve by Smith, who combines rich musicality with high-octane conviction and style. Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Starts: Feb. 7. Continues through March 2, 2008


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