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The Drifters Girl

The Drifters Girl

Featuring an unbelievable soundtrack packed full of show-stopping Drifters hits, including Save The Last Dance For Me, Under The Boardwalk, Kissin’ In The Back Row Of The Movies, Stand By Me, Come On Over To My Place and Saturday Night At The Movies

Discover the remarkable story of The Drifters, one of the world’s greatest vocal groups, and the truth about the woman who made them. Faye Treadwell, the legendary manager of The Drifters, fought for three decades alongside her husband to turn Atlantic Records' hottest vocal group into a global phenomenon.

From the highs of hit records and sell out tours to the lows of legal battles and personal tragedy, The Drifters Girl charts the trailblazing efforts of the world’s first African American, female music manager and how she refused to ever 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.

Watch our "In Conversation with Ashford Campbell" video. Ashford plays the roles of Rudy Lewis, Ben E, King and others in the show.

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The Drifters Girl ON TOUR

Our review on The Drifters Girl

The Drifters Girl - Manchester Opera House - Wednesday 11th October 2023 by Karen Ryder

Our Rating


Sometimes, a ‘jukebox’ musical comes along with so many hits that you kind of don’t care whether or not the story is any good, you just know you have to go and experience these songs in all their live glory, especially as they have been given a dazzling musical theatre make-over.  But with The Drifters Girl, you are lucky enough to be treated to one of the most interesting and unique music industry stories of all time.  We are talking grass roots music becomes Hall Of Fame icons, and with a move never seen before, the licencing of the name of the band, ensuring that The Drifters will remain no matter who comes and goes.  It will always be bigger than, and endure the sum of its many parts.  With so many band members able to come and go, we are bound to see some drama along the way.  Legal battles, bust ups, love, betrayals, all for the love of music.  But this is Faye Treadwell’s story.  Faye took the band to dizzying new heights and never stopped believing in the power of their music and their name in a ruthless industry that told her she could not achieve any of this.  She even did so at the expense of her own personal life.  We see how she fought stereotypes, made impossible personal decisions and put The Drifters above and beyond everything and everyone in order to anchor their potential and success.  With The Drifters still performing across the world today, it is safe to say that Faye accomplished her mission.  So this musical is not just about the songs.  It is also an incredible and true story of how one woman took on a world of men, and reigned supreme.

Formed in 1953, The Drifters released stunning songs that live in our hearts and minds, whilst stimulating our memories.  Even if you were not around at the height of their hits, you will know their music.  Saturday Night At The Movies, Up On The Roof, Under The Boardwalk are just a drop in the ocean of timeless hits that will leave you smiling, and with such talented members going on to have careers of their own, such as Ben E King, you will be treated to additional hits such as Stand By Me.  Seriously, what’s not to love?  With over 60 members of the group coming and going over the years, there is plenty of scope for intrigue, but Faye and George focused on the brand and the music, ensuring that The Drifters became the global phenomenon that we all know today.

The Drifters Girl, Faye Treadwell is usually played by Carly Mercedes Dyer (Assassins, Anything Goes, The Colour Purple) but tonight we were introduced to the fierce acting of 1st cover Loren Anderson (Book Of Mormon)Anderson brought all of the determination, unwavering belief, bravery and fight to the part, ensuring we all understood the barriers Faye faced in her world.  Strong vocals awakened complex emotions and breathed new life and meaning into familiar classics.  Jaydah Bell-Ricketts (School Of Rock, Bugsy) as Faye’s daughter helped keep the story on track, and beautifully blended the various eras together with ease.  She was the only one able to pose tough questions to Faye, and the only one who would get any answers.  Bell-Rickets had a tricky role for she needed to be present yet often invisible to the cast at the same time, and this was achieved with clarity.  The remaining four actors were multi rolling throughout and I find I am at a loss for words to describe how brilliant they were.  They simply have to be seen to be believed.  I am in awe.  Each performer slipped from character to character with such ease and absolute distinction that not once were you confused at the amount of parts they played, and who was supposed to be who in any given moment.  The fantastic singing and dancing aside, this in itself was a masterclass to behold.

Miles Anthony Daley (The Voice, Thriller Live, Choir Of Man) grabs your attention as George Treadwell from the off as an undeniable presence, and multi roles the heck out of all his other characters.  Daley’s vocals will leave you wide eyed with disbelief at his range, and agog at the luscious tone.  Ashford Campbell (9-5, Dreamgirls, Beautiful) reels you in with heart and soul as Ben E King and Rudy Lewis.  Taking on iconic songs such as Stand By Me and Under The Boardwalk, Campbell somehow manages to pay homage whilst making them entirely his own.  His final scenes as Rudy Lewis are some of the most moving in the whole show and he held the entire theatre in the palm of his hand.  Dalton Harris (X Factor winner) and Tarik Frimpong (The Wiz, Aladdin, Coming To England) complete this insanely talented multi rolling cast as Drifters, music moguls and everything in between.  Frimpong shows off his crazy dance skills with effortless jazz splits, and astounds with the sheer spectrum of his characters from the egotistical Clyde McPhatter to the sleezy Lover Paterson.  Harris takes on Nat King Cole – I mean, need I say more as to how delicious his vocals are?  He gives sensational performances from the laid back cool vibe, to the fizzing with energy and vocal runs that would make Mariah Carey herself bow down.  Daley, Campbell, Frimpong and Harris could sell out arenas with their charisma, striking harmonies, tight synchronised dance moves, spine tingling a cappellas and effervescent energy.  It is a true joy to watch them and they make it look so easy that it would be a disservice not to appreciate just how much they actually do.

Directed by the outstanding Jonathan Church, it is clear to see why The Drifters Girl was nominated for Best New musical at the 2022 Olivier Awards.  Using a small cast has enforced the show to represent the hard work and dedication that individuals pursue to be the best in their field.  This ethos beautifully echoes the journey undertaken by Faye herself, who never stopped, never gave in, and faced the hard work that had to be done.  With such a vibrant story comes endless locations, but this is easily managed by the excellent set design of Anthony Ward.  Simple flats and slats magically slide on and off the stage, each time with ingenious touches that take us from a train station, to recording studio, TV studio, theatre, backstage, or offices in the blink of an eye.  Digital images play out across the back of the stage to enhance location or mood further, from dancing silhouettes to National flags moving us geographically. 

As the second half starts, it feels like the audience temperature has risen a notch and the atmosphere builds as we are treated to a wonderful Drifters Medley.  One of the funniest parts of this half is The Drifters move to England.  We are treated to some great character acting, fun ribbing of our quintessential British ways, our obsession with the weather, and the inclusion of many regional accents, which have the audience howling.  For some reason, everyone in Britain is called Rodger, yet with the pip pip tally ho accent, it makes perfect sense.  One of the highlights is when The Drifters appear on Sunday Night At The London Palladium.  A figure comes on stages, strikes up a certain pose, and the audience erupt for we know it is our beloved Brucey.  He starts his catchphrase, and bang on cue, the audience play along with the call and response, “Nice to see you, to see you – nice!”  It is a touching tribute to the legend that is Sir Bruce Forsyth.

The Drifters Girl will entertain, enlighten and embrace your heart with its luscious melodies, witty humour, and powerful messages regarding race, gender, discrimination and dedication.  The dancing will lift your soul and mesmerise you with immaculate routines.  And of course, no musical about a real life band is complete without a medley at the end that we can all get up and boogie along with. This audience was just about fit to burst from holding themselves back, so we didn’t need much encouragement to jump up and join in.  So, listen really carefully, because you’ll hear The Manchester Opera House and The Drifters Girl calling you to “Come On Over To My Place!” Go if you can because they really are having a party.  They’ll be swinging, dancing and singing, so go on over tonight.


Watch our video "In Conversation with Ashford Campbell" discussing the show.

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