He's Gotta Be Him: Sammy & Me Musical Aims for Broadway; NYC Readings Planned

News   He's Gotta Be Him: Sammy & Me Musical Aims for Broadway; NYC Readings Planned Commercial producers are attached to Sammy & Me, the biographical musical co-written by Wendy Dann and Eric Jordan Young that tells the dual stories of a yearning African-American actor and the legendary Sammy Davis Jr.
Eric Jordan Young
Eric Jordan Young

A hit in an earlier upstate New York production, the solo-actor show featuring Young and directed by Dann is being shepherded by producers Adam Zotovich (Legally Blonde, The Color Purple) and New Vintage Theatricals Ltd., who are aiming the show toward a Broadway run in 2009. Two industry readings are scheduled for May 2 in midtown Manhattan.

Young (Chicago, Ragtime, Dessa Rose) stars in the one-man musical "that features 17 songs from the Rat Pack era, 32 characters and a complex exploration of racial responsibility in America."

The story follows Sammy Davis Jr. from his vaudeville childhood to his headlining days on the Las Vegas strip, which he ultimately helped to desegregate. "But in the end, Sammy & Me is also Young's story as he unravels the complexities of being a black American caught between acknowledging racial identity and seeking to transcend race as a performer," according to production notes.

Dann is the associate artistic director of the Hangar Theatre in Ithaca, NY. The industry readings will feature choreography by Gerry McIntyre and musical direction by Tommy James.

The show began as a co-production between the Hangar Theatre and Buffalo's MusicalFare Theatre Company. In January 2006 the musical played a sold-out engagement in Buffalo and moved to the Hangar Theatre in June 2006 for another critically acclaimed, sold-out engagement. Sammy & Me was then invited to perform as part of the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, NC, in August 2007, where it once again performed to sold-out houses.

Young has appeared on Broadway in Chicago, Ragtime, Seussical the Musical and The Look of Love. His Off-Broadway, regional and touring credits include his Helen Hayes Award-winning performance as Jake in Side Show (Signature Theatre, DC), the world premiere of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty's musical Dessa Rose (Lincoln Center), the world premiere of Michael John LaChuisa's Little Fish (Second Stage Theatre Co.), Ain't Misbehavin' directed and choreographed by Gerry McIntyre (Actors Theatre of Louisville), Smokey Joe's Café (Sacramento Music Circus) and many others.

For his performance in Sammy & Me, Young is the recipient of the 2006 Buffalo ARTVOICE Theatre Award for Outstanding Visiting Artist.

For more information on Sammy & Me and the upcoming industry readings, e-mail info@newvintagetheatricals.com.