I Want To Be With You: Sammy Davis Jr.

Monday Morning, Mr. Wonderful, as Sammy Davis’s character in his first Broadway play was called.

If Sammy Davis were only a dancer he would be known as one of the greatest tap dancers of the 20th century.

If he were only a singer he would be known as one of the greatest male vocalists of the 20th century.

He was both.

Here he is with a song from his second musical, Golden Boy, from 1964, about an African-American boxer who falls in love with a white woman.

Paula Wayne who played Sammy’s lover, Lorna, in the show, said that when the time came during rehearsals for Sammy to kiss her, Sammy was very reluctant to do so. It was the first time an interracial kiss had happened on the Broadway stage; but Paula insisted that there would be no problem. She was soon to find out otherwise—the day after the show opened there were pickets in front of the theatre from white supremacists groups denouncing the show.

But the show ran for 500+ performances and had a great, under-appreciated score by Charles Strouse and Lee Adams—probably the best score they ever created.

Thanks to YouTuber varadero1839

Put On A Happy Face

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Dick Van Dyke and the eloquent Sharon Lerit from the Broadway stage production of Bye Bye Birdie dance up a storm.

Van Dyke learned years later that the producers had wanted to fire him out of town, but Gower Champion had fought hard to keep him. Van Dyke and the show made it to New York and hit it big.

Thanks to YouTuber lee a