She began her musical career as a singer, to glowing reviews.
When she appeared in 1975 at the Coriander, a restaurant on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, John S. Wilson of The Times called her a “startling performer” who sang “in a deep, strong, beautifully controlled voice that is filled with vivid colors, as she moves from low, sexy passages to an open, lusty shout.”
Virginia Mary Redington was born on May 13, 1945, in Brooklyn and raised in the Bay Ridge section of the borough. Her father, Joseph, was a naval architect. Her mother, May (O’Brien) Redington, was a teacher.
Virginia attended Fontbonne Hall Academy in Brooklyn and graduated from St. Josephs College, also in Brooklyn, with a degree in English in 1966.
She and Mr. Dawes — a founder of the folk-pop group the Cyrkle, best known for its 1966 hit single “Red Rubber Ball,” written by Paul Simon and Bruce Woodley of the Seekers — married in 1979 and, merging their talents, formed TwinStar Music to produce jingles
The couple also wrote the book, music and lyrics for “The Talk of the Town,” a show about the fabled literary round table at the Algonquin Hotel, whose members included Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley and George S. Kaufman. First produced in 2004, it ran nearly two years at the Bank Street Theater before it moved as a cabaret show to the Algonquin Hotel’s Oak Room.
Reviewing the show for Bloomberg News, John Simon wrote that its music and wit matched “the infectious energy and sophistication of the real-life luminaries it is based on.”
Ms. Dawes was also a collector of antique jewelry and the author, with her husband (who took the photographs) and others, of several books on the subject. including “The Bakelite Jewelry Book” (1988), with Corinne Davidov, and “Georgian Jewellery 1714-1830” (2007), with Ms. Dawes’s fellow collector Olivia Collings.