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ImageMay 22, 2006 (ITHACA, NY)- The Hangar Theatre kicks off its 2006 Mainstage Season with a world premiere one-man musical featuring 20 great songs, 30 characters, dazzling dance, and one dynamic Broadway performer. From May 31st to June 17th, the Hangar presents Sammy & Me, a one-man show following the story of Sammy Davis, Jr. from his tap dance beginnings to his headlining days on the Las Vegas strip that he helped to desegregate.

In Sammy & Me, Broadway performer Eric Jordan Young joins forces with the Hangar’s Associate Artistic Director, Wendy Dann, to recount the story of Young’s life-long fascination with Sammy, the only African-American member of the famous Rat Pack. Along the way, Young unravels the complexities of being an entertainer caught between racial identity and a drive to transcend race as a performer.

Co-produced with Buffalo’s MusicalFare Theatre Company, Sammy & Me marks a return to Ithaca for Eric Jordan Young, who is a 1993 graduate of Ithaca College’s Musical Theatre program. It was on the South Hill campus that he first met Wendy Dann, the co-writer and director of the piece. “Collaborating with Eric on his memoir/musical has been one of the most satisfying projects of my career,” says Dann, “especially because of our long friendship that started when we were classmates at Ithaca College.” According to Dann, she and Young “have traveled very different paths in the professional theatre yet remained close friends. It’s been exhilarating to bring together our varied experience as artists to create a theatre piece and now I’m terribly excited to share the play with the Ithaca community.”

Young has recently performed in the Broadway companies of Chicago, Ragtime, Seussical: The Musical, and the Burt Bachrach /Hal David musical revue The Look of Love. Other recent credits include Ahrens & Flaherty’s Dessa Rose playing Kaine at Lincoln Center, the Stephen Sondheim Celebration Opening Doors at Carnegie Hall, and Mr. Bojangles: The Ultimate Entertainer. Dann’s Hangar Theatre directing career includes last year’s production of I Am My Own Wife as well as Cats, The Blue Room, Stones in His Pockets, and The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. She has taught acting and directing at Ithaca College, Syracuse University, and Cornell University.


Broadway designer Toni-Leslie James, whose previous work has garnered a Tony Award nomination, joins the production crew of Sammy & Me as the costume designer. Tommy James, a leading pianist, composer, and arranger, serves as music director for the production. MusicalFare Theatre’s resident Set Designer, Chris Schenk, marks his 50th design for MusicalFare with the scenic design for Sammy & Me. Joanna Lynne Staub returns to the Hangar as the sound designer for the production, having previously designed the sound for the Hangar productions of Cats, Josh Keenan Comes Out to the World and As You Like It. Chris Lee will bring his Broadway experience to the Hangar as lighting designer for Sammy & Me.

Sammy & Me will appear at the Hangar Theatre in Cass Park from May 31st through June 17th thanks to the support of corporate sponsor Emerson Power Transmission and media sponsor The Ithaca Journal.


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