After much Wishin’ and Hopin’, performer Baylie Carson returns home to Adelaide in her professional debut, ‘Dusty the Musical’ at the Festival Theatre.
Growing up in both Adelaide and the Langhorn Creek wine region, Carson is a proud South Australian, and is excited to bring her first tour back to Festival Theatre, where she ‘saw everything growing up’.
“I can’t believe it’s coming to Festival Theatre! I get to go through the Stage Door in Adelaide, how exciting!” Carson said.
Carson credits her success to Adelaide-based youth production company Pelican Productions, who run camps, workshops and musicals for young people.
“I always did singing and everything but if I hadn’t found Music Theatre Camp I don’t know where I’d be, to be honest.”
Carson is hoping to give back to Pelican Productions by getting her Dusty castmates involved with the camp in January.
“I want to go back to Pelican Productions and get some of the cast to have a talk with everyone – that would be really cool,” she said.
The critically-acclaimed musical follows Dusty Springfield (Amy Lehpamer) as she struggles to stay true to herself and the ideals she had as a young woman, while also dealing with the temptations and tempests of life as a celebrity. Carson believes that her love for musical theatre and other ‘dorky’ tendencies helped her build a rapport with her character, the young, impressionable Mary O’Brien (Dusty Springfield’s birth name).
“I absolutely connect with Mary O’Brien because she’s misunderstood and a bit gawky and a bit dorky, and that was me growing up; I was the biggest tomboy. Music theatre is brilliant and I love it but it’s not mainstream.”
Despite identifying with Mary O’Brien, Carson was nervous to debut in such a prominent and challenging role.
“This is my first professional show […] we only had ten days to rehearse the whole show which was a challenge,” she said.
“It was amazing but I went home every night and questioned everything I ever did. It’s my first show and I’m playing a supporting lead and I just didn’t really know how to claim the space, so it’s been a really big process for me, this whole experience”
Working with veterans like Amy Lehpamer and Todd McKenney is no doubt an intimidating prospect, but Carson found the cast exceptionally warm.
“This cast have been the most inviting and welcoming. I’ve been so lucky to be in a group of people that are just that lovely. And Amy is so inspirational to watch. My character is basically her conscience on her shoulder so she’s kind of always around. So I’m always watching what Amy’s doing and every night I’m just so inspired by how amazing she is,” she said.
Having bonded with the cast during Dusty’s Melbourne run, Baylie is now excited to bring them back to her turf and show them the sights.
“I want to show the cast around Adelaide, maybe take them on a tour of the Barossa, take them to the beach,” she said.
After a holiday season spent at home with family, friends and her beloved Festival Theatre, Carson will be moving back to Melbourne to find her next project.
“I’m workshopping a musical at the moment […] whatever comes up comes up. I’m auditioning for a few things, I’m renting a house in Melbourne, you never know with this industry what’s going to happen. You can’t plan two weeks in advance let alone a year. But hopefully something comes up!”
With such a strong start to her career, it seems likely that something will.
Dusty the Musical premiers in Adelaide on 31 December and will be performed until 22 January 2017. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit https://www.adelaidefestivalcentre.com.au/shows/dusty-the-musical/