Old Globe executive producer Lou Spisto announced the casting on July 29. Directed by Keith Glover with choreography by Keith Young and music supervision by Ian Fraser, Sammy will run in the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego Sept. 19–Nov. 8. Opening night is Oct. 2.
The new musical is based on the life of singer-dancer-actor Davis with book, music and lyrics by Bricusse, and additional songs by Bricusse and Anthony Newley.
Like his mentor Sammy Davis, Jr., Babatundé has been entertaining audiences since he was a child, according to The Old Globe. Davis once said of Babatundé: "I feel safe knowing that with cats like Obba, when I get out of this business I am leaving it in good hands."
Babatundé was nominated for a Tony Award for his performance as C.C. White in the original Broadway cast of Dreamgirls. His additional Broadway credits include the revival of Chicago, Grind and Timbuktu! He also created the role of Jelly Roll Morton in Jelly's Last Jam. On television, Babatundé delivered an Emmy-nominated performance in "Miss Ever's Boys," received a NAACP Image Award nomination for his performance as Harold Nicholas in "Introducing Dorothy Dandridge" and has appeared in 60 made-for-television movies.
The full cast and creative team have not yet been announced.
The world premiere musical "moves from Sammy Davis, Jr.'s days as a child working in vaudeville through his time with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin as a member of the Rat Pack." It will feature the classic tunes that helped to make Davis an icon — "The Candy Man," "Mr. Bojangles" and "What Kind of Fool Am I."
According to The Old Globe, "Sammy traces the highs and lows of the ultimate triple-threat singer, actor and dancer. Davis became one of the greatest performers of his generation, paving new ground while struggling with issues of identity, race and a turbulent personal life."
Double Oscar and Grammy winner Leslie Bricusse has written more than 40 musical shows and films. He has been nominated for ten Academy Awards, nine Grammys and four Tonys, and in addition to his Oscars and Grammy, has won eight Ivor Novello Awards. His stage musicals include Stop the World—I Want to Get Off; The Roar of the Greasepaint—The Smell of the Crowd; Pickwick; Harvey; The Good Old Bad Old Days; Goodbye, Mr. Chips; Henry's Wives; Scrooge; One Shining Moment; Sherlock Holmes; Jekyll and Hyde and Victor/Victoria. Bricusse has also written songs and/or screenplays for such films as "Doctor Dolittle"; "Scrooge"; "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory"; "Goodbye, Mr. Chips"; "Superman"; "Victor/Victoria"; "Santa Claus – The Movie"; "Home Alone I & II"; "Hook"; "Tom & Jerry – The Movie"; and various "Pink Panther" films. His better-known songs include "What Kind of Fool Am I?," "Once in a Lifetime," "Gonna Build a Mountain," "Who Can I Turn To?," "The Joker," "If I Ruled the World," "My Kind of Girl," "Talk to the Animals," "You and I," "Feeling Good," "When I Look in Your Eyes," "Goldfinger," "Can You Read My Mind?" (the Love Theme from Superman), "You Only Live Twice," "Le Jazz Hot!," "On a Wonderful Day Like Today," "Two for the Road," "The Candy Man," "This Is the Moment," "Crazy World," "Pure Imagination" and more.