“I have to be a star like another man has to breathe.” – Sammy Davis Jr.
To this day, the late Sammy Davis Jr. remains a musical legend in the eyes and ears of many throughout the world.
The African-American Research Library and Cultural Center will artistically bring him back to life with an epic performance of “A Musical Tribute to Sammy Davis Jr.” on Saturday, April 11.
Depicting one of the world’s greatest entertainers is tenor Samuel Eudovique. Born on the island of Barbados in the West Indies, Eudovique, 48, has a long-standing appreciation for Sammy Davis Jr.’s legendary charisma, beautiful lyrics and impressive musical arrangements.
“He (Sammy Davis Jr.) brought entertainment across the board and crossed those barriers …so that motivated me because I do the same thing in my everyday life,” Eudovique told the South Florida Times.
The lifestyle and talents of Davis were also inspirations to the creation of this tribute, which began just seven months ago.
Davis, a multi-dimensional performer who played numerous instruments, including the drum and the trumpet, gained fame at an early age while performing with his father, who was a vaudeville entertainer at the time.
In the 1960s, Davis joined the “Rat Pack” which included singer Frank Sinatra and entertainer Dean Martin. It was Davis’ classical repertoire fused with his inventive style that fascinated Eudovique.
“His worldwide appeal was so intriguing. That’s why I knew it was time to do this,” Eudovique added.
Davis died in 1990 at age 64.
Eudovique, no stranger to the music scene, also had early exposure to classical music – from his grandmother, who was an accomplished pianist. At a young age, he was hired to sing with the Palm Beach Opera Company. Soon afterward, he was accepted into the Florida Grand Opera Apprentice Program.
Operatic legend Luciano Pavarotti and Opera coach Nico Castel suggested Eudovique audition for a scholarship at the prestigious Opera Music Theatre International (OMTI), a training program then under the direction of the late great Basso Jerome Hines. He won, and began the vocal transition to tenor from baritone.
Eudovique continues to study music in order to prepare for performances such as the upcoming Sammy Davis Jr. tribute.
“This will be a musical tribute so we won’t get too deep into the history,” Eudovique concluded, “however, there will be great music; great songs and a great show overall. It’ll definitely be something to remember.”
Photo: Sammy Davis Jr.
IF YOU GO
What: A Musical Tribute to Sammy Davis Jr.
When: Saturday April 11, from 2 to 4 pm.
Where: African-American Research Library and Cultural Center, 2650 Sistrunk Blvd., near Fort Lauderdale.
Cost: Free and open to the public.
Contact: Call 954-357-7348 for more information.