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Leslie Bricusse writing Sammy Davis Jr musical SAMMY for London premiere

Leslie Bricusse with the cast of  'PURE IMAGINATION: The Songs of Leslie Bricusse' - Dave Willetts, Julie Atherton, Niall Sheehy, Siobhan McCarthy and Giles Terera
Leslie Bricusse with the cast of ‘PURE IMAGINATION: The Songs of Leslie Bricusse’ – Dave Willetts, Julie Atherton, Niall Sheehy, Siobhan McCarthy and Giles Terera

On the eve of his new musical, ‘PURE IMAGINATION: The Songs of Leslie Bricusse’, starting previews tomorrow (Thursday 24 Sept) at St James Theatre, the prolific British composer has revealed he’s working on a major new musical about the life of his close friend, legendary entertainer, Sammy Davis Jr.

Sammy Davis Jr had hits with many of Leslie’s songs, including ‘What Kind of Fool Am I’ and ‘Candy Man’.

He was a lifelong friend and I wanted his story told properly,” Leslie reveals in The London Weekly News today.

It’s called ‘Sammy’ and the man I want to play him is in ‘Pure Imagination’. He’s Giles Terera and he even looks like Sammy. He played Sammy in ‘The Rat Pack Live from Las Vegas’ and he’s absolutely marvellous.

Nothing is 100% confirmed yet but Leslie hopes the musical will open in London in the very near future. Leslie also spoke about his extraordinary relationship with Sammy Davis Jr. to London Live TV News, who asked if he has a favourite among all the famous artists he’d written hits for?

I would have say Sammy Davis Jr. We spent most of the1960s being recorded by Sammy. He recorded over 60 of my songs. One man. And he was very fond of Tony (Anthony) Newley my first writing partner and we became great friends. At one point he recorded almost everything we wrote. It was just like the relationship between Frank Sinatra and Sammy Khan & Jimmy Van Heusen and Liza Minnelli and Kander & Ebb. Those singer/songwriter relationships become friendships and you grown together.

As well as ‘PURE IMAGINATION: The Songs of Leslie Bricusse’, which runs for a four-week season at St. James Theatre to Saturday 17 October (press night Tuesday 29 September), Leslie will next week release a book about his life, ‘PURE IMAGINATION: A SORTA-BIOGRAPHY by Leslie Bricusse’ (Faber Music, ISBN: 0-571-53930-0 Price: £25).

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  • Neil Cheesman

    First becoming involved in an online theatre business in 2005 and launching londontheatre1.com in September 2013. Neil writes reviews and news articles, and has interviewed over 150 actors and actresses from the West End, Broadway, film, television, and theatre. Follow Neil on Twitter @LondonTheatre1

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