Devilishly funny “Damn Yankees” swings for the fences on Marriott Theatre’s opening night
Home runs were frequent for “Damn Yankees” throughout the 1950s and ‘60s, starting on Broadway, moving to movies and turning to television, but surprisingly, the mega musical that was based on a novel, “The Year The Yankees Lost The Pennant,” receded from public view until it was restored on stage in the ‘90s.
Though the show popped up on occasion in between, the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire is finally giving it a proper regional revival just in time for baseball season, since after all, it revolves around a diehard fan of the failing Washington Senators who so desperately wants to whoop the unstoppable New York Yankees.
Damn YankeesOf course, it’s extremely unlikely given the team’s pathetic record, but as the obsessed Joe Boyd (Ron E. Rains) mutters aloud to his weary wife Meg (Daniella Dalli), if they only had a long ball hitter, the pipedream could come at least a little bit closer to a reality.
It turns out there is an ever so slight chance for that to happen, but it involves making a deal with the devil-like Applegate (Sean Fortunato), who offers the middle-aged man a chance to be all-star player Joe Hardy (Andrew Alstat) and regain his youth in the process.
The only catch is he’ll have to leave his entire home life behind, which he nearly agrees to in its entirety, but adds a last-minute escape clause allowing the chance to walk away the night before the season ends, if so desired.
At around two-hours and some change, the winner of seven Tony Awards is chock full of both the comedy and craziness that can happen in such an unbelievable scenario, including racking up some super impressive statistics, a lot of loneliness whenever there isn’t a game, tons of temptation from Lola (Michelle Aravena) and many more side deals gone awry.
Damn YankeesIt’s all carried out by a cast that swings for the fences and constantly knocks it out of the park, or rather, the in-the-round stage turned stadium, all untied under the concise direction of James Vásquez, athletic choreography by Tyler Hanes and razzle dazzle musical direction by Jeff Award recipient Ryan T. Nelson.
In the end, Marriott Theatre’s delightful “Damn Yankees” isn’t only for appreciators of America’s favorite pastime, but anyone who’s ever felt like an underdog or perhaps even needed a reminder that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.