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Devilish Musical Takes SHSU Stage
Taste the hot dogs and hear the crack of the bat in the upcoming SHSU theatre department production of "Damn Yankees," a musical comedy about Joe Boyd, a passionate baseball fan who sells his soul to the devil so his favorite team can beat the unbeatable New York Yankees.
A winner of eight Tony Awards, including best musical, when it opened on Broadway in 1955, "Damn Yankees" features such show-stopping hits as "You Gotta Have Heart," "Two Lost Souls" and "Whatever Lola Wants."
Written by George Abbott and Douglass Wallop, with music and lyrics by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross, and based on Wallop's novel, "The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant," "Damn Yankees" is an Americanized story of Faustian proportions.
Middle aged, out of shape and bored with his marriage and his job, Boyd, played by Aryn Priest, uses baseball as his escape. He is an avid fan of the lackluster Washington Senators, and between April and September he thinks of nothing else. One fateful night, while lamenting the Senator's poor performance, he utters a prophetic statement, "I'd sell my soul for one long ball hitter!" This statement summons the devil in the person of Mr. Applegate, played by Greg Graham. What follows is Joe Boyd's (alias Joe Hardy) journey as the greatest baseball player ever. In the end, love and sportsmanship win out-Joe returns to his wife, his team wins the pennant and the devil is foiled.
Directed by theatre faculty member Penny Hasekoester, the SHSU production features a cast of approximately 45 students. Major roles are played by musical theatre majors, Aryn Priest, Joanne Dooley, Scott Sidler, Greg Graham, Cristina Quevado, Julie Boehm, Tyler Jones, Luke Hales, Joel Paulus, Chris Zelko, Janelle Christie and Germa Ibarra. Also in featured roles are theatre majors Shona Strauser and Christopher McGlothin.
Though many of the other actors are theatre and musical theatre majors, "Damn Yankees'" supporting cast includes students studying radio/television, music, dance and even business.
Several theatre faculty members are assisting the production. Jerry Hooker designed the set, Thomas Soare orchestrated the lighting, and Kristina Hanssen created the costumes.
Of course, there would be no musical without music and dancing. The "Damn Yankees" orchestra, comprised of SHSU musicians, will follow the baton of music faculty member Barbara Corbin. Dance faculty lecturer Jonathan Charles is director of choreography for the play.
"Damn Yankees" runs April 15-18 at 8 p.m. at the university's Mainstage Theatre. Additionally, a matinee is scheduled for Saturday, April 18 at 2 p.m. General admission tickets are $10. Students and senior citizens receive a $3 discount and group discounts are also available. For "Damn Yankees" tickets or additional information, call (409) 294-1339.
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