The show by songwriters Richard Adler and Jerry Ross, and librettist Douglass Wallop and George Abbott, is a natural for the resident Washington, D.C., company: The action is set in 1955 in and around the nation's capital.
Performances begin Dec. 9 and continue to Feb. 5, 2006.
Joe Boyd is a lumpy middle-aged fan of the losing Washington Senators. He sells his soul to Mr. Applegate (Brad Oscar, a Tony Award nominee for The Producers) and leaves his wife, Meg, when he is transformed into handsome and potent ball star Joe Hardy (Matt Bogart, a Miss Saigon and Civil War veteran). When Joe gets cocky and hopes to trick the devil, leggy bombshell Lola (Meg Gillentine, who appeared in Fosse) is brought in to keep him in line.
The staging employs the original script and score, not the 1994 revision.
Arena artistic director Molly Smith directs, with choreography by Baayork Lee (A Chorus Line). The musical had original Broadway choreography by Bob Fosse, and Gillentine is no stranger to the style: She appeared in Broadway's Fosse, which was also seen on PBS (she dances "Steam Heat," "Hot Honey Rag" and "Nowadays" in the video version).
Gillentine's credits include Broadway's Cats and The Frogs and the first national tours of The Producers and Fosse. She's a graduate in acting from New York University.
The droll and delicious role of Mr. Applegate was originated by Ray Walston in 1955 (he also appeared in the film), played by Victor Garber in the 1994 Broadway revision, and subsequently reinvented by shticky replacement Jerry Lewis, who also starred in the tour.
Brad Oscar was Tony-nominated in the category of Best Featured Actor (Musical) for playing Franz in The Producers in 2001. He would later graduate to the role of Max on Broadway and London (he replaced Nathan Lane in both cities).
The company of Damn Yankees (at Arena's Fichandler stade) includes Kay Walbye as lonely wife Meg Boyd, Cindy Marchionda as sports writer Gloria Thorpe, Lawrence Redmond as Joe Boyd, J. Fred Shiffman as Welch, Michael L. Forrest as Van Buren, Lynn McNutt as Doris; Rayanne Gonzales as the sister; Tracy Lynn Olivera as Weston; Stephen F. Schmidt as Lynch; Stephen Gregory Smith as Bryan and the reporter; and Christopher Bloch, Philip Michael Baskerville, Kevin M. Burrows, Michelle Liu Coughlin, Steven Cupo, Drew DiStefano, Parker Esse, Michael S. Goddard, Deanna Harris, Ellyn Marie Marsh, Christina Lynn Phillips, Diego Prieto, Kim Shriver, Harry A. Winter and John Leslie Wolfe. Shaun R Parry and Kate Arnold are swings.
For more information, visit www.arenastage.org.