Based on Douglass Wallop’s novel, “The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant,” “Damn Yankees” features a home-run hit score by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross, with book by George Abbott and Douglass Wallop. “Whatever Lola Wants” and “Heart” are two Broadway standards featured in the score penned by Adler and Ross, who also wrote the Tony Award-winning “Pajama Game.”
Co-composer Richard Adler was awarded an honorary doctorate of music and theater by Wagner College in 2003. Adler's stepson, Charles Shipman, says that Adler particularly treasured that degree, which hung on his wall for the rest of his life. Adler passed away in 2012.
Wagner College Theatre’s “Damn Yankees” is directed by Mickey Tennenbaum (WCT’s “Spamalot”) with choreography by Rusty Curcio (WCT’s “Cats”) and musical direction by alumnus Matthew Hosmer (WCT’13).
Set in the glory days of the 1950s and full of song and dance, “Damn Yankees” is a modern retelling of “Faust,” where middle-aged baseball fanatic Joe Boyd trades his soul to the devil for a chance to lead his favorite team to victory in the pennant race against the New York Yankees, only to realize the true worth of the life he’s left behind.
The Wagner College Theatre production features Joe O’Malley (Applegate), Jesse Pimpinella (Joe Hardy), Emma Pittman (Lola), Chris Zika (Joe Boyd), Taylor Baskin (Meg Boyd), Joshua Sottile (Rocky), Nick Manna (Smokey), Courtney McGowan (Gloria Thorpe), Greg Ippolito (Van Buren), Noah Bridgestock (Vernon), Adam Goldenberg (Mr. Welch), Becca Barrett (Sister) and Katie Quann (Doris). The ensemble features Nicholas Barakos, Bobbi Barricella, Addi Berry, Brianna Brice, Jacob Cowan, Tatiana Eriksen, Kyle Johnson, Sabrina Kalman, Dean Marino, Nick Mestakides, Jonathan Quigley, Alec Reiss, Tyler Roberts, Sydni Session, Mackenzie Shay and Clint Maddox Thompson.
Staten Islanders featured in “Damn Yankees” are theater performance majors Taylor Baskin, Joe O’Malley and Joshua Sottile.
The creative team includes Richard Kendrick (set design), Kurt Alger (costume design), Vicki Neal (lighting design) and Richard Kroth (sound design), with WCT graduate K.T. Sanders ’13 as production stage manager.
“Damn Yankees” opened at Broadway’s 46th Street Theatre (now the Richard Rodgers Theatre) on May 5, 1955, winning seven 1956 Tony Awards including Best Musical, starring Ray Walston, Stephen Douglass and Gwen Verdon, with choreography by Bob Fosse. The Warner Brothers 1958 film version starred Gwen Verdon and Ray Walston, with heartthrob Tab Hunter as Joe Hardy. A 1994 Broadway revival starring Victor Garber, Jarrod Emick and Bebe Neuwirth was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Revival of a Musical. Wagner College Theatre previously presented “Damn Yankees” in 1979 and 1998.
Wagner College Theatre’s “Damn Yankees” opens on Sept. 30 and closes on Oct. 11. Performances are Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m., with Saturday matinees at 2 p.m. and an added Sunday matinee on Oct. 11 at 2 p.m.
The Wagner College Theatre box office, located in Main Hall, can be contacted at (718) 390-3259 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Box office hours are Monday through Friday, 12 to 4 p.m.
Single tickets for “Damn Yankees” are on sale in price ranges for children, senior and adult tickets. Wagner College students attend free with current ID.
Next on the WCT Main Stage is Frank Loesser’s musical masterpiece, “The Most Happy Fella” (Nov. 18-21 and Dec. 2-6), followed by Gilbert & Sullivan’s topsy-turvy musical fairy tale, “Iolanthe” (Feb. 24 through March 6) and “that singular sensation,” “A Chorus Line” (April 13-24).
At Wagner College Theatre’s Stage One studio theater, “The Dutchman” will be presented along with Lin Manuel-Miranda’s “21 Chump Street” (Oct. 6-11), followed by William Shakespeare's masterwork, “The Tempest” (Dec. 1-6), the premiere of “New York Lands” (March 1-6), and “The Dance Project 2016” (April 19-24).