The Internet Theater Magazine of Reviews, Features, Annotated Listings







Etcetera and
Short Term Listings


NYC Restaurants


New Jersey







Free Updates
A CurtainUp Review
Damn Yankees

Baseball is only one half skill. The other half is something else. Something bigger.—Benny Van Buren
Jane Krakowski as Lola
Jane Krakowski as Lola
(Photo: Joan Marcus)
All those who missed this year's Encores! shows because of their short runs can rejoice. Damn Yankees, the Summer Stars production, runs all the way to July 27, which gives everyone plenty of time to see this excellent revival.

Based on Douglass Wallop's 1954 novel, The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant, Damn Yankees has a book by George Abbott and Wallop, and a hit-studded score by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross. It's a classic fifties musical in all its glory and, thanks to John Rando's inspired direction, Encores! has brought out the show's best while resisting the temptation to make meaningless improvements.

The show is of course about an aging baseball fan, Joe Boyd (P.J. Benjamin). He sells his soul to a charismatic devil named Applegate (Sean Hayes) and leaves his beloved wife Meg (Randy Graff) for the chance to help his beloved but bungling Washington Senators defeat the forever victorious Yankees and win the pennant. When the younger Joe Hardy (Cheyenne Jackson), who emerges as the Senators' star player, thwarts Applegate's plan to take over his soul by remaining true to his wife, Applegate brings in the heavy artillery— Lola (Jane Krakowski), the best marriage wrecker on his staff.

The play may be about Joe and his wife, but no matter how convincing and talented the actors who play these parts (and Benjamin, Graff and Jackson are both), it is the devil and his she-devil who always steal the show. Something which Hayes and Krakowski accomplish effortlessly.

Dressed in his snazzy suit with matching red vest, handkerchief and socks, Hayes woos and wows the audience with his dry wit and perfect timing. His show-stopper, "Those Were the Good Old Days," turns the devil into a demented Van Cliburn.

Krakowski is unashamedly politically incorrect as the blonde bombshell with the great body and the golden heart. She also dances and sings her way across the stage in a way that doesn't make us miss Gwen Verdon too much. In supporting roles, Megan Lawrence, deserves mention for her sparkling portrayal of the hardboiled newspaper woman, Gloria Thorpe; as does T. Oliver Read for giving Benny Van Buren so much heart.

Rando has used Bob Fosse's original outstanding choreography, which ranges from the lumbering movements of the baseball players ("Heart") to Lola's sexy strip ("Whatever Lola Wants"). Music director Rob Berman and his orchestra (cleverly placed in the bleachers) once again prove that there's no pit like a New York pit.

The fifties-style production numbers call for many scene changes — the Boyd house, the dugout, the Devil's lair, the stadium, a nightclub — and lots of extravagant costumes. Set designer John Lee Beatty and costume designer William Ivey Long have made the show as attractive to the eye as it is to the ear.

It's very possible that if Damn Yankees were to be presented for the first time today its score, which includes a tango, a mambo, several ballads and a soft-shoe, would be called unfocussed, and its plot would be dismissed as overly sentimental. Fortunately, the show has already earned its place in Broadway's hall of fame. So we can all enjoy the show without reservations.

Thank you Encores!

Book by George Abbot and Douglass Wallop
Words and Music by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross
Directed by John Rando
Choreography: Bob Fosse, reproduced by Mary MacLeod
Cast: P.J. Benjamin (Joe Boyd), Randy Graff (Meg Boyd), Sean Hayes (Applegate), Veanne Cox (Sister), Kathy Fitzgerald (Doris), Cheyenne Jackson (Joe Hardy), Baron Vaughn (Henry), Jimmy Ray Bennett (Sohovik), Robert Creighton (Smokey), T. Oliver Reid (Linville, Postmaster), Michael Mulheren (Benny Van Burenn), Jimmy Smagula (Rocky), Megan Lawrence (Gloria Thorpe), Chandra Lee Schwartz (1st Teenage Girl), Pamela Otterson (2nd Teenage Girl), Jay Lusteck (Lynch, Commissioner), John Horton (Mr. Welch), Jane Krakowski (Lola), Rachel Coloff (Miss Weston), Stacey Sargeant (Assistant), Alexander Scheitinger (1st Boy), Cody Ryan Wise (2nd Boy), John Selya (Eddie/Mambo Dancer), David Garrison (Game Announcer)
Music Direction: Rob Berman
Scenic Design: John Lee Beatty
Costume Design: William Ivey Long
Lighting Design: Peter Kackorowski
Sound Design: Scott Lehrer
Wig and Hair Design: Paul Huntley
Running Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes with one 15 minute intermission
Encores! Summer Stars Production
NY City Center, 55th Street between 6th and 7th avenues, (212) 581-1212 or
From 7/5/08; opening 7/10.08; closing 7/27/08 Tuesday and Sunday at 7pm,Wednesday — Saturday at 8pm, matinees Saturday and Sunday at 2pm
Tickets: $110 - $25
Reviewed by Paulanne Simmons July 13, 2008
Musical Numbers
Act One
  • Overture / The Orchestra
  • <
  • Six Months Out of Every Year / Meg Boyd, Joe Body, Baseball Fans, Baseball Widows
  • Goodbye, Old Girl / Joe Boyd and Joe Hardy
  • Heart / Van Buren, Rocky, Smokey and Sohovik
  • Shoeless Joe from Hannibal Mo / Gloria Thorpe and Baseball Players
  • A Man Doesn’t Know / Joe Hardy
  • A Little Brains, A Little Talent / Lola
  • Reprise: A Man Doesn’t Know / Joe Hardy and Meg
  • Whatever Lola Wants / Lola
  • Reprise: Heart / Sister, Boys, and Teenage Girls
  • Who’s Got the Pain? / Lola and Eddie
Act Two
  • The Game / Rocky, Smokey, and Ballplayers
  • Near to You / Joe Hardy and Meg
  • Those Were the Good Old Days / Applegate
  • Two Lost Souls / Lola, Joe Hardy, and Club Patrons
  • Reprise: A Man Doesn’t Know / Meg and Joe Boyd
Highlight one of the responses below and click "copy" or"CTRL+C"
  • I agree with the review of Damn Yankees
  • I disagree with the review of Damn Yankees
  • The review made me eager to see Damn Yankees
Click on the address link E-mail:
Paste the highlighted text into the subject line (CTRL+ V):

Feel free to add detailed comments in the body of the email and state if you'd like your comments published in our letters section.

South Pacific  Revival
South Pacific

In the Heights
In the Heights

Playbill 2007-08 Yearbook

Leonard Maltin's Classic Movie Guide
Leonard Maltin's 2008 Movie Guide


©Copyright 2008, Elyse Sommer.
Information from this site may not be reproduced in print or online without specific permission from