Soul fan? Get swinging, dancing and singing in anticipation of The Drifters Girl, which will come on over to Milton Keynes Theatre this month.
The acclaimed jukebox musical tells the story of 1950s vocal backing group The Drifters and the woman who made the ever-changing line-up of singers a household name. As the world’s first female, African American music manger, Faye Treadwell was a force to be reckoned with at Atlantic Records, where she spent decades fighting for The Drifters’ place in music history.
From the highs of hit records and sell-out tours to the lows of legal battles and personal tragedy, the show charts her trailblazing efforts. She simply refused to give up on the group she loved. Thirty years and hundreds of hit songs later, there is no doubt that Faye Treadwell was, and always will be, The Drifters Girl.
The narrative unfolds to a soundtrack bursting with the doo-wop, rhythm-and-blues and soul hits Faye helped create. Some of the most well-known tunes to look forward to include ‘Saturday Night At The Movies’, ‘Save The Last Dance For Me’, ‘Under The Boardwalk’ and ‘Stand By Me’. Theatregoers can expect to be transported to an era of classic soul!
The Drifters Girl opened in London’s West End at the Garrick Theatre in 2021 and was nominated for best new musical at the 2022 Olivier Awards. Beverly Knight originated the role of Faye Treadwell – her powerful portrayal earned her an Olivier Award nomination for best actress in a musical. Felicia Boswell took over the role of Faye in July 2022 and continued until the West End run closed on 15 October 2022.
The touring cast is led by Carly Mercedes Dyer (Six, Anything Goes) as Faye Treadwell. She is joined by Ashford Campbell (West End cast of The Drifters Girl), Miles Anthony Daley (Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, Choir Of Man), Tarik Frimpong (The Wiz, Aladdin) and Dalton Harris (The X Factor).
The Drifters Girl has a book by Ed Curtis and is based on an idea by Tina Treadwell, Faye’s daughter. It is directed by Jonathan Church (Singin’ in the Rain, 42nd Street), with choreography by Karen Bruce. Further creative input includes set design by Anthony Ward, costume design by Fay Fullerton, orchestrations and musical supervision by Chris Egan, lighting design by Ben Cracknell, sound design by Tom Marshall and video design by Andrzej Goulding.
Fans of soul music won’t want to let this musical drift by.
Running time: Approximately 2 hours 20 minutes, including an interval.
*Production photography by Johan Persson.
This preview is also featured on Total MK.
Update 26 October 2023: Read my review of The Drifters Girl at Milton Keynes Theatre.
Georgina Butler is an editor, a dance writer and a ballet teacher.