What Makes Sammy Run?
February 20 & 21, 2015
Directed by Ron Daum, Musical Direction by Brian Michael
Series sponor is Dr. Fritz Camp
Music and Lyrics by Ervin M. Drake
Book by Budd Schulberg and Stuart Schulberg
Based on the novel by Budd Schulberg
Broadway Production Produced by Harold Prince In Association with Ruth Mitchell, Directed for the Broadway Stage by Harold Prince
Ticket prices are $20 for all seats.
Venue: Side Door Stage in Lakewood Center for the Arts
Contact the Lakewood Theatre Box Office at (503) 635-3901 or purchase tickets securely online.
Light food fare, beer, wine and other beverages will be available for purchase before and during the show.
Sammy Glick is a driven young man from a poor family who rises to a position of prominence in the movie industry by ruthlessly using any and every one he comes across to get ahead. Starting as a copy boy on a New York newspaper, he cheats his way to the heights of Hollywood. Lakewood's cast features Gary Cash as Sammy Glick, Dave Sweeney as Al Manheim and Shirley Andress as Kit Sargent. The ensemble also features Angie Fisher, Doug Zimmerman, Jesse Miller and Travis C. Patterson.
Plot: Al Manheim (Dave Sweeney), a theatre columnist at a New York paper, meets Sammy Glick (Gary Cash), a sixteen year-old copy boy. Sammy intrigues Al when he notices that no goal seems out of reach and morals completely escape the teen. Al tries to mentor Sammy but the young man soon undermines Al to their editor and squeezes himself into Al's column as a radio columnist. Sammy uses this break to get his name known around New York. He eventually pushes his way into Hollywood where he gets his first job by taking the credit for another writer's original story. The movie becomes a hit and Sammy is on his way to a successful movie-writing career.
Al and Sammy's paths cross again when Al is hired to also write for movies. Sammy tries to introduce Al to the biggest executives and all of the "right" people but Al isn’t interested in playing the Hollywood game to get ahead. He also sees that Sammy has little interest in becoming a better writer or a better person. Al watches as Sammy crushes lives and dreams to get to the top while Al tries to find his place in Hollywood and in his own life.
Kit Sargent (Shirley Andress) is the start of Al's turn to happiness. When Al meets Kit, she is Sammy's lover but Al quickly learns that she is nothing like Sammy. Al and Kit develop a relationship and discover they have many of the same interests and the same love for writing, theater and film. In the end, Sammy gets the success, money and power that he craves. But even with his achievements, Sammy is left to run a never-ending race with all of the players of the Hollywood game while Al is the one with the true gift of love and a fulfilling life.
History of the Play
What Makes Sammy Run? opened on Broadway at the 54th Street Theatre, February February 27, 1964 and played for 540 performances starring Steve Lawrence as Sammy, Robert Alda as Al Manheim and Sally Ann Howes as Kit Sargent. Abe Burrows directed. If the show seems little more than a footnote in musical theatre history, it is an undeserved fate. Like other "lost musicals" before it – Lady In The Dark, She Loves Me, Do Re Mi – it deserves a second look.
What Makes Sammy Run? had the promise of hit potential right from the start. Based on Budd Schulberg’s fabulously successful 1941 novel, the story had already been dramatized twice on television and the name Sammy Glick had entered the lexicon as a synonym for a certain type of back-stabbing hustler. During its month of previews in New York, the show did astonishing business – performing well early in the week and giving standing-room-only performances on weekends with no discount tickets. Even after a series of mixed reviews, the show continued to draw audiences for the next sixteen months. Unfortunately, the failure of the show to recoup its initial investment – the true "test" of a musical’s success – relegated Sammy to the status of "flop." Had a successful tour been mounted, it might have overcome that stigma, but following a series of regional productions, mostly in theatres-in-the-round, the show was pretty much forgotten.
In spite of these clearly mixed reviews, Sammy managed to hang on for an unusually long run in a season that included both Hello, Dolly! and Funny Girl (not to mention Here’s Love, Jennie, 110 in the Shade, The Girl Who Came To Supper, High Spirits, Foxy, Fade Out-Fade In and Anyone Can Whistle). "We licked the critics," Budd Schulberg told a New York Post columnist at the time. "We broke through the critic barrier. By great word of mouth." In retrospect, many writers have attributed the show’s 540 performances almost exclusively to the popularity of singer Steve Lawrence, but even at the time there were many who recognized the intrinsic value of the show itself.
About the Playwright
Budd Schulberg, the son of a movie executive born in New York, rose to fame in the 40s and 50s with a succession of award-winning books and screenplays, most notably his novels “What Makes Sammy Run” (1941) and “The Harder They Fall” (1947), and the film “A Face in the Crowd” (1957). But it was “On the Waterfront” that Mr. Schulberg was best known for. The film, starring a young Marlon Brando and Eva Marie Saint, nearly swept the 1954 Academy Awards, earning eight Oscars, including one for Best Picture and another for Best Actor, which went to Mr. Brando. The film was so influential that it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.
About the Venue
Lakewood Theatre Company's Side Door Stage is an intimate 90-seat cabaret-style venue. Seating is general admission in the Community Meeting Room at Lakewood Center for the Arts, 368 S. State Street in Lake Oswego. Light food fare, beer, wine and other beverages are available to purchase before and during the show.
The Lost Treasures Collection
The Lost Treasures Collection is a series of rarely performed musical gems presented in concert/cabaret version by Lakewood Theatre Company. In 2013 Lakewood's Lost Treasure Collection series received a PAMTA "Outstanding Contribution to Theatre" award. All shows is presented script-in-hand, with minimal staging. No sets, no props (free from the usual trappings of a fully staged production). The 2014/15 theme is men and supermen. Our series sponsor for all three shows is Dr. Fritz Camp.
Ron Daum, Curator/Director
Gary Wayne Cash as Sammy Glick
Dave Sweeney as Al Manheim