SAT in the the dim surroundings of a Manchester city centre cellar bar, Katherine Kingsley’s eye shine with excitement as she talks about her starring role in a new musical about one of the great musical icons.

No stranger to hugely successful productions which have made her one of the West End’s most in-demand leading ladies, Katherine is taking the title role in Dusty, a new musical about the life of Dusty Springfield.

From her first hit in the early 1960s until her untimely death in 1999 aged just 60, Dusty Springfield’s distinctive voice won her a legion of fans on both sides of the Atlantic and even today she is still revered as one of the great female artists.

Dusty - written by Jonathan Harvey - aims to give audiences a glimpse into the life on this complex and multi-faceted character.

“I am just so delighted that I’m doing this role and I hope that I do her justice,” said Katherine, who last came to Manchester in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels for which she was nominated for a Manchester Theatre Award.

“She is such a complex character, an amazing woman and her life story is just fascinating.”

Jonathan Harvey has worked closely with Dusty’s friend and manager Vicki Wickham and her personal assistant Tris Penna to put together a fully-rounded profile of the singer.

“Dusty was really shy and I think that’s one reason people don’t really know who Dusty Springfield was,” said Katherine. “People feel like they know her music but not the woman. That is what is so exciting about being involved in this production.”

Katherine is adamant that she will not be doing an impression of Dusty when she takes to the stage.

“There are people that can do amazing Dusty Springfield impressions and that’s great but if you want to sustain a life story over two and a half hours, it has got to be more than that,” she said.

In preparation for the role, Katherine has done a lot of research into the singer.

“I have read everything about Dusty and I know a lot about her,” she said. “I’ve seen a lot of footage of her but now I’ve got to concentrate on the story that we want to tell.

“You need to do the research but I don’t want to be shackled by that. It’s a question of getting on with the job in hand and making it my own.”

Dusty’s music remains at the heart of the show which features songs such as I Only Want to Be With You, Son of a Preacher Man and You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me.

And that is just icing on the cake for Katherine.

“I grew up listening to Dusty Springfield,” she said. “Genuinely, she was one of the people I would listen to all the time.

“I’ve always been influenced by soul and Motown, that’s always been what I like. I think there’s a lot in common with me and Dusty in that respect.

“Her songs are all about emotion. She was an incredible actress through song. She told a story which is why people love her so much. It feels as though she is just talking to you, to your heart.

“So there’s no pressure on me then trying to pull that one off every night!”

Katherine believes that Dusty will surprise audiences as it reveals aspects of the stars life of which they were perhaps not aware.

The production touches on her sexuality, her problems in America and even an extraordinary incident which saw her being departed from South Africa for refusing to play to a segregated audience.

“I just hope I can capture her spirit and and that people have an evening that is both moving and funny and maybe they have learned something as well,” said Katherine.

“The thing that strikes me most about her is her unbelievable resilience. She survives in an industry that’s notoriously difficult. She goes through all the highs and lows and ends up on top. It’s really touching.”

Joining Katherine in the show are Rufus Hound who plays Dusty’s manager Vic Billings and former Bill and EastEnders star Roberta Taylor who plays her mum Kay and the production is directed by award-winning director Maria Friedman.

“Maria is just brilliant,” said Katherine. “She is so in tune with actors, perhaps because she comes from a performing background herself.

“Being part of a new production is a great experience. It’s such a collaborative affair. In rehearsals, Jonathan is in the room with us all the time and things are being tweaked here and there and I really love that. Everything you bring to the process is considered which is really exciting.”

Dusty, the Dusty Springfield Musical, the Lowry, Salford Quays, Tuesday, July 24 to Saturday, July 28. Details from 0843 208 6000 or