Review: Damn Yankees Takes Audience on a Fun-filled Race for the Pennant
By Ted Mahne
The excited anticipation of a new season and the sheer joy of opening day at a ballpark are now filling the Jesuit Auditorium. From the moment the overture begins, the Philelectic Society’s production of Damn Yankees takes the audience on a fun-filled race for the pennant.
For its spring musical, the Phils score a solid home run with the hit musical retelling of the Faust legend. Director Kate Arthurs-Goldberg has a cast of song-and-dance actors that exude the cheerful spirit of this classic, all-American show.
With its bouncy score by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross, (full of songs that you may not have realized are from this show) the students sound great. Their dance numbers are some of the best we’ve seen on the Phils stage. Choreographer Kenny Beck (Class of 1979) brings those Bob Fosse numbers vividly to life, with precision moves choreographed right down to the fingertips.
The clever script also has a witty humor about it, which the cast bring out well.
Strong performances are seen throughout the show. Several particularly stand out.
Freshman Jordan Kelley, debuting with the Phils, charms as Joe, the young star ballplayer realizing his dream. That dream might come at the cost of his soul to the devilish Mr. Applegate, played with cunning flair by junior Patrick Rappold. Dominican senior Holly Stewart steals hearts as Applegate’s tempting assistant, Lola.
The assortment of ballplayers and fans include veteran members of the Phils, as well as pre-freshmen and freshman, all proving that Ms. A is building a deep bench for future productions as the school’s oldest co-curricular organization looks ahead to its upcoming centennial year.
Look for Metropolitan Opera star and Blue Jay Kirk Redmann ’79, bringing his rich tenor voice and commanding presence to the stage as the older Joe. Coach Benny Baptiste ’81, swaps the football gridiron to appear as the Commissioner of Baseball.
Damn Yankees is a show with plenty of laughs, and a whole lot of “Heart.” But you only have two weekends to catch it.