Lee Millward plays Dusty Springfield for Ballina Players.
Lee Millward plays Dusty Springfield for Ballina Players. Supplied

Wishin and hopin Players do Dusty

Growing up in the '80s means Lee Millward missed Dusty Springfield in her heyday, but that doesn't mean she hasn't been inspired by the United Kingdom songstress.

Ballina Players' Dusty - The Original Pop Diva kicks off on November 18, and with rehearsals well underway, Millward has been excited to find out more about Springfield's life.

Millward has been performing since high school productions in Lismore.

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She sang in clubs in Sydney before moving back to Ballina and has had some involvement with Ballina theatre since 1997.

Springfield's song I Only Want To Be With You is one of the first songs Millward performed in front of an audience.

"The production goes right into her highs and lows," Millward says, "from when she was quite famous in England, moved to America and became heavily into alcohol and drugs."

Sue and Paul Belsham, who direct the Ballina production are aiming more for a documentary style performance than a big production.

"People only saw what she wanted them to see," Millward says.

"She put on that wig and the make-up and covered the real her."

Millward says going through the emotions of the production in rehearsals she has had to keep reminding herself it is just a play.

"As a nurse I think this gives me an outlet for my other career," she says.

After reaching rock bottom Springfield did make a comeback in the '80s, collaborating with the Pet Shop Boys before dying in 1999 from breast cancer just before her 60th birthday.

The production weaves the story through Springfield's hits including Millward's favourites You Don't Have To Say You Love Me, I Close My Eyes and Count To Ten and All I See Is You.

Dusty The Original Pop Diva opens on November 18 and runs until December 10 at the Ballina Players Theatre.
For tickets call Just Funkin Music on 66862440.



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