Sunday, July 14, 2013


Making a pact with the Devil is never a guarantee of heavenly rewards, yet people all the way back to Faust have swallowed  the bait and gone fishing for  the one big prize. The musical comedy "Damn Yankees" takes on one such competition centered on baseball and winning the coveted pennant and it will be at the Warner's Nancy Marine Studio Theatre in Torrington until Sunday, July 21.

Based on Douglass Wallop's novel "The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant," the show has a book by Wallop and George Abbott, with music and lyrics by Jerry Ross and Richard Adler.  Set in the 1950's in Washington, D. C., the story focuses on a good guy Joe Boyd who sells real estate and loves his wife Meg and roots with dedication and undying faith for his favorite team, the Washington Senators.

One night in a moment of despair, Joe, a straight shooting Johnson Flucker, mumbles that if only the Senators had a "long ball hitter" they could beat those "damn Yankees" and finally take home the big prize.  When Joe confesses, "I'd sell my soul" to make it happen, the Devil, in the form of a slick snake oil salesman named Mr. Applegate, a smooth talking Walter Cramer, overhears and makes Joe an offer he can't refuse.

If he accepts, Joe Boyd, a middle-aged guy, will be transformed into a twenty-two year old Joe Hardy, a go getting Zach Heidom, the answer to the Senators' prayers.  Boyd is smart enough to insert an escape clause into his devilish deal:  he has until 9 p.m. on the last day of the final game on September 25 to return to his life with Meg.

As Joe Hardy, he achieves success on the baseball diamond and propels his beloved Senators to a pinnacle of triumph.  The cost to him personally is great, his wife Meg (Jeannine Gallmeyer) has no idea where her husband has gone.  As Hardy, he even rents a room in her home for the comfort it brings.

Meanwhile the conniving Mr. Applegate wants to protect his new soul, Joe's, and sends a temptress named Lola, a siren in the hands and legs of Amber Cameron Miller, to win Joe's heart away from his spouse.  Applegate reminisces about the history in the past and his triumphs in "Those Were the Good Old Days." Wonderful and stirring music like "A Man Doesn't Know," "Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets," "You Gotta Have Heart" and "Near to You"  follow Joe Hardy through his battles on the playing field, in the courtroom, against the machinations of Mr. Applegate and Lola and his yearnings for his old life with his dear old gal.

To learn how Joe Hardy hits his way into history, let director Vincent D.McCoy help him circle the bases for a home run.  For tickets ($26), call the Warner Theatre, 68 Main Street, Torrington at 860-489-7180 or online at  Performances are Friday, July 19 at 8, Saturday, July 20 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, July 21 at 2 p.m.  Let choreographer Trish Carr and musical director E. Karl Gallmeyer lead the fan club.

Watch how Joe Boyd as Shoeless Joe from Hannibal, MO risks his soul to win his trusty Washington Senators the World Series, putting his fate in the hands of the Devil. Play ball!

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