Sammy Davis Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me

Date: Wednesday, June 27th, 2018
Time: 7:30pm
Location: Bow Tie Squire Cinemas (115 Middle Neck Road, Great Neck)

Sam Pollard | USA | 2018 | English | 100 min | Documentary

Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me is the first major film documentary to examine Davis’ vast talent and his journey for identity through the shifting tides of civil rights and racial progress during 20th-century America.

Sammy Davis, Jr. had the kind of career that was indisputably legendary, so vast and multi-faceted that it was dizzying in its scope and scale. And yet, his life was complex, complicated and contradictory. Davis strove to achieve the American Dream in a time of racial prejudice and shifting political territory. He was the veteran of increasingly outdated show business traditions trying to stay relevant; he frequently found himself bracketed by the bigotry of white America and the distaste of black America; he was the most public black figure to embrace Judaism, thereby yoking his identity to another persecuted minority.

Featuring new interviews with such luminaries as Billy Crystal, Norman Lear, Jerry Lewis, Whoopi Goldberg and Kim Novak, with never-before-seen photographs from Davis’ vast personal collection and excerpts from his electric performances in television, film and concert, Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me explores the life and art of a uniquely gifted entertainer whose trajectory blazed across the major flashpoints of American society from the Depression through the 1980s.

Post Screening Q&A With:  Laurence Maslon (Writer/Co-Producer)

LAURENCE MASLON is an arts professor at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, as well as associate chair of the Graduate Acting Program, with an affiliation in the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program. He is the host and producer of the weekly radio series Broadway to Main Street, broadcast on the NPR-affiliate station WPPB-FM. He edited the two-volume set American Musicals (1927-1969) containing 16 classic Broadway librettos, published by the Library of America in 2014 to national acclaim. Maslon is also the author of the companion book to the recent PBS documentary series Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle and co-wrote the series with producer/director Michael Kantor. Also with Kantor, he co-wrote the PBS series Make ‘Em Laugh (Emmy nomination) and two episodes of the Emmy-winning Broadway: The American Musical, as well as the companion volume (updated edition published by Applause in paperback) and the liner notes for the five-disc box set for the series, released by Sony/Decca. Among his other books are Some Like It Hot: The Official 50th Anniversary Companion (HarperCollins), The South Pacific Companion and The Sound of Music Companion 11 (Simon and Schuster; revised edition, 2015). Maslon wrote the acclaimed documentary American Masters – Richard Rodgers: The Sweetest Sounds and is the editor of Kaufman & Co., the Library of America edition of George S. Kaufman’s plays. Maslon was the host for Encores!-in-Seminar at City Center for 15 years and has written special programming for Lincoln Center Theatre, Carnegie Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, the Chicago Humanities Festival, Merkin Concert Hall, the Library of Congress, and Guild Hall in East Hampton. He served on the nominating committee for the Tony Awards from 2007 to 2010. He had written about musical theater and popular culture for The New Yorker, Huffington Post, Slate, The Wall Street Journal, American Theatre and Opera News. Maslon has been a commentator on television for PBS Arts, Theatre Talk and Booknotes; on the radio for All Things Considered, Fresh Air with Terry Gross, and Studio 360; and for more than a dozen documentaries for PBS, BBC, Thames TV, and NHK in Japan. He is currently writing a book for Oxford University Press about Broadway and popular music.