Derricks, Gillentine, McQueen, Page, Taylor, White to Star in Reprise! Damn Yankees

News   Derricks, Gillentine, McQueen, Page, Taylor, White to Star in Reprise! Damn Yankees Casting has been announced for the Reprise! Broadway's Best production of Damn Yankees, which will begin performances Nov. 6 at UCLA's Freud Playhouse. The action of the classic musical will be reset from the mid-fifties to 1981 Los Angeles.
Lillias White
Lillias White Photo by Aubrey Reuben

Directed by Reprise! artistic director Jason Alexander, the production will officially open Nov. 7 and play a limited engagement through Nov. 25. The cast will boast Cleavant Derricks as Applegate, Meg Gillentine as Lola, Armelia McQueen as Meg, Ken Page as Joe Boyd, Ty Taylor as Joe Hardy, Lesli Margherita as Gloria Thorpe, Lillias White as Dory and Jackee Harry as Sister.

The creative team will also include Lee Martino (choreography) and Gerald Sternbach (musical director).

Damn Yankees, according to press notes, concerns "Joe (Ken Page), a middle aged man is endlessly frustrated that his beloved Dodgers are constantly thwarted by those … well, damn Yankees. Desperate, Joe makes a deal with the devil, Applegate (Cleavant Derricks), to exchange his soul for becoming a youthful baseball star (Ty Taylor) leading his team towards the pennant. In the battle of fantasy vs. true love, Joe finds he misses his wife Meg (Armelia McQueen) more and more - when Applegate sends in his secret weapon - the irresistible temptress Lola (Meg Gillentine). 'Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets' she sings - but does she? And does Joe lead Dodger Blue to victory before the devil owns him for eternity?"

Damn Yankees has a score by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross, a book by George Abbott and Douglass Wallop and is based on Wallop's novel "The Year The Yankees Lost the Pennant." The authors have given Reprise! permission to update and adapt the show for the limited engagement.

The original Broadway production of Damn Yankees opened at the 46th Street Theatre May 5, 1955, playing 1,019 performances before closing at the Adelphi Theatre, where it later transferred, on Oct. 12, 1957. Directed by George Abbott with musical numbers staged by Bob Fosse, the original cast included Gwen Verdon, Stephen Douglass and Ray Walston. The most recent Broadway revival, which opened in March 1994 at the Marquis Theatre, co-starred Bebe Neuwirth, Victor Garber and Jarrod Emick. Damn Yankees will be the second offering of the 2007-2008 Reprise! season. It will be followed by Li'l Abner (Feb. 5-17, 2008) and Flora, the Red Menace (May 6-18).

For tickets call the UCLA Central Ticket Office at (310) 825-2101 or visit www.reprise.org.