The Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, in association with Anthology Theatre and Aria Entertainment, have announced Sammy as their major summer 2020 musical. Based on the life and career of legendary entertainer, Sammy Davis Jr, the production will run in the Main House from Tuesday 28 July to Saturday 19 September 2020, with a press night on Wednesday 5 August.
Olivier Award-Winner, Giles Terera (Hamilton) will play the title character, Sammy Davis Jr, in a production written by Academy and Grammy Award winner Leslie Bricusse, whose credits include Sammy’s What Kind of Fool Am I? and The Candy Man. The musical, which will be directed by Clarke Peters (Five Guys Named Moe, West End and The Wire, HBO), will feature a live band performing many of his iconic songs, including Feeling Good and Who Can I Turn To?
Grammy Hall of Fame inductee Sammy Davis Jr. was born in 1925, setting his sights on stardom from a young age. From humble beginnings, he shot to fame as a member of The Rat Pack and navigated the racial politics of 60s America to eventually become one of the greatest performers of the 20th century. The untold story of talent, prejudice, love and legacy will mark what would have been his 95th birthday.
Speaking about the production, director, Clarke Peters said:
“Sammy was so important to me growing up, we all aspired to be him. But his influence on us as African American men was questionable. I’m delighted that we will be taking audiences on this journey with us, exploring the life and enduring legacy of this complicated but phenomenal entertainer through Leslie’s great love letter to his friend and collaborator Sammy Davis Jr.”
Writer, Leslie Bricusse said: “To have the creator of Five Guys Named Moe (Clarke Peters) direct the Olivier Award-winning star of Hamilton (Giles Terera) by joining me in bringing you the musical life story of Sammy Davis Jr in this beautiful theatre is a rare and great privilege.
“Sammy was a phenomenal human being, and a blazing talent, beyond anything we had ever seen. My wife Evie and I saw Sammy perform over 300 times during the 30 years of our great friendship with him, and after every performance, we would look at one another and say ‘that’s the best he’s ever been!’ Because it always was!”
Giles Terera added: “I am excited and very honoured to finally be bringing Sammy Davis Jr’s incredible story to fresh new audiences. His triumphs and struggles speak to me and inspire me today more than ever.”
The musical, which was workshopped in October 2019, will close the 2019/2020 season at the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, the first under Artistic Director Rachel O’Riordan.