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Obba Babatunde To Star As Sammy Davis, Jr. In The New Leslie Bricusse Musical, SAMMY


Broadway veteran Obba Babatundé is set to star as Sammy Davis, Jr. in the world premiere of Sammy, Old Globe Executive Producer Lou Spisto announced today.

The new musical is based on the life of Davis with book, music and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse, and additional songs by Bricusse and Anthony Newley. Directed by Keith Glover with choreography by Keith Young and music supervision by Ian Fraser, Sammy will run in the Old Globe Theatre Sept. 19 - Nov. 8. Previews run from Sept. 19 - Oct. 1. Opening night is Oct. 2 at 8:00 p.m.

Tickets to Sammy are currently available by subscription only. Single tickets go on sale Aug. 23 at 10:00 a.m and can be purchased online at, by phone at (619) 23-GLOBE or by visiting the Box Office. (The full cast and creative team have not yet been announced.)

Like his mentor Sammy Davis, Jr., Obba Babatundé has been entertaining audiences since he was a child. A skilled actor, singer and dancer, Davis once said of Babatundé that "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. His theatrical films include The Celestine Prophecy, Material Girls, After the Sunset, The Manchurian Candidate, The Notebook and the upcoming The Black Man's Guide to Understanding Black Women.

"Casting is always critical, but for Sammy, you either get the right man or you do not attempt it, and we are incredibly fortunate to have found the perfect actor to play the role," said Spisto. "Obba has an abundance of the necessary performance skills, as well as a firsthand knowledge and understanding of both the professional and personal Sammy. He will add an immeasurable level of honesty to the portrayal of the great Sammy Davis Jr."

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. Featuring the classic tunes that helped to make Davis an icon - "The Candy Man," "Mr. Bojangles" and "What Kind of Fool Am I" - 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, and has collaborated with an array of musical talents, including Anthony Newley, Henry Mancini, John Williams, John Barry, Jerry Goldsmith, Jule Styne, Quincy Jones, Andre Previn, Frank Wildhorn and Peter Illyich Tchaikovsky (whose Nutcracker Suite he adapted into a song score). 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 "Oompa-Loompa-Doompa-Dee-Doo." In 1989, Bricusse received the Kennedy Award for consistent excellence in British songwriting, bestowed by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors, and was inducted into the American Songwriters Hall of Fame - only the fourth Englishman to be honored - after Noel Coward, John Lennon, and Paul McCartney.

TICKETS to Sammy are currently available by subscription only. Single tickets go on sale Aug. 23 at 10:00 a.m and can be purchased online at, by phone at (619) 23-GLOBE or by visiting the box office at 1363 Old Globe Way in Balboa Park. Performances begin on Sept. 19 and continue through Nov. 8. Ticket prices range from $54 to $89. Performance times: Previews: Saturday, Sept. 19 at 8:00 p.m., Sunday Sept. 20 at 7:00 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 22, at 7:00 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 23 at 7:00 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 24 at 8:00 p.m., Friday, Sept. 25 at 8:00 p.m., Saturday, Sept 26 at 2:00 p.m. and 8 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 27 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 29 at 7:00 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 30 at 7:00 p.m. and Thursday, Oct. 1 at 8:00 p.m. Regular Performances: Tuesday and Wednesday evenings at 7:00 p.m., Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2:00 p.m., and Sunday evenings at 7:00 p.m. Discounts are available for full-time students, patrons 29 years of age and under, seniors and groups of 10 or more.

The Old Globe is located in San Diego's Balboa Park at 1363 Old Globe Way. There are numerous free parking lots available throughout the park. Valet parking is also available ($10). For additional parking information visit

Shakespeare Festival: Twelfth Night, Cyrano de Bergerac and Coriolanus (in repertory thru 9/27), Sammy (9/19-11/8), The Savannah Disputation (9/26-11/1), Whisper House (1/13-2/21).

The Tony Award-winning Old Globe is one of the country's leading professional regional theaters and has stood as San Diego's flagship arts institution for 74 years. Under the direction of Executive Producer Louis G. Spisto, The Old Globe produces a year-round season of 15 productions of classic, contemporary and new works on its three Balboa Park stages: the 580-seat Old Globe Theatre, the 250-seat Arena Stage at the San Diego Museum of Art's James S. Copley Auditorium (an interim second stage during construction of the new 280-seat Conrad Prebys Theatre Center) and the 612-seat outdoor Lowell Davies Festival Theatre, home of its internationally renowned Shakespeare Festival. More than 250,000 people attend Globe productions annually and participate in the theater's education programs and outreach services. Numerous Broadway-bound premieres and revivals, such as The Full Monty, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, A Catered Affair, and the annual holiday musical, Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas!, have been developed at The Old Globe and have gone on to enjoy highly successful runs in New York and at regional theaters across the country.


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