"The Good Old Days": Damn Yankees Opens at City Center July 10

News   "The Good Old Days": Damn Yankees Opens at City Center July 10 Following its acclaimed production of Gypsy, which transferred to Broadway and recently won three Tony Awards, City Center's Encores! Summer Stars series returns for a second season with the Tony-winning Damn Yankees, which officially opens July 10.
Sean Hayes and Jane Krakowski in Damn Yankees.
Sean Hayes and Jane Krakowski in Damn Yankees. Photo by Joan Marcus

The baseball-themed musical, which began previews July 5, boasts a starry cast led by Jane Krakowski as Lola, Sean Hayes as Mr. Applegate, Cheyenne Jackson as Joe Hardy, Tony Award winner Randy Graff as Meg Boyd, Megan Lawrence as Gloria, Michael Mulheren as Benny Van Buren, Veanne Cox as Sister Miller, P.J. Benjamin as Joe Boyd, Robert Creighton as Smokey, Jimmy Smagula as Rocky, Kathy Fitzgerald as Doris Miller, John Hortonas Mr. Welch and John Selya as Mambo Dancer.

The ensemble comprises Nathan Balser, David Baum, Jimmy Ray Bennett, Rachel Coloff, Anderson Davis, Marya Grandy, Shannon Lewis, Jay Lusteck, Pamela Otterson, Adam Perry, Karine Plantadit, T. Oliver Reid, Jon Rua, Stacey Sargeant, Alexander Scheitinger, Chandra Lee Schwartz, Baron Vaughn and Cody Ryan Wise.

Damn Yankees, which will play City Center through July 27, features direction by John Rando with musical direction by Rob Berman. Mary MacLeod has re-created the original Bob Fosse choreography.

The creative team also includes set designer John Lee Beatty, costume designer William Ivey Long, lighting designer Peter Kaczorowski and sound designer Scott Lehrer.

Krakowski, who plays the role originally created by the late Gwen Verdon, recently spoke to Playbill.com about her co-stars. "Sean Hayes — I think people are going to be blown away by him," Krakowski said. "This is his New York debut, but he is an unbelievable showman. He is meant for this world. I have a complete comedy crush on this guy. We have really great chemistry, but the man can do nothing that is not funny. Literally, I asked him the other day, 'Do you wake up with funny thoughts?' It's pretty incredible. He's such a great, fun guy. Cheyenne Jackson is just a dream. We had become friends after doing the Xanadu workshop, so we had always wanted to do something together after that. I feel really lucky that I get to do this with him. And, he's just so dreamy, you know? And, I was thrilled when I heard Randy Graff was playing Meg. She has such an earthy realness that I think adds so much to that side of the story, so I think she's a gift to the production as well. It makes the show very balanced, but it also makes you really root for what is the story — that Joe gets to go home. She's wonderful." 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."

Randy Graff and Cheyenne Jackson in Damn Yankees
photo by Joan Marcus

City Center describes the musical this way: "It is the story of Joe Boyd, the ultimate baseball fan, who sells his soul to the Devil (Sean Hayes) for the chance to help his team, the Washington Senators, win the pennant race against the Yankees. The Devil is aided by the sexy Lola (Jane Krakowski), who seduces Joe (Cheyenne Jackson), but ultimately helps him outsmart the Devil and return to his beloved wife (Randy Graff)." 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 production won 1956 Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Actor in a Musical (Walston), Best Actress in a Musical (Verdon), Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Russ Brown), Best Choreography (Fosse), Conductor and Musical Director (Hal Hastings) and Stage Technician (Harry Green).

The most recent Broadway revival, which opened in March 1994 at the Marquis Theatre, co-starred Bebe Neuwirth, Victor Garber and Jarrod Emick.

Song titles include "Heart," "Joe at Bat," "Shoeless Joe From Hannibal, MO," "A Little Brains, A Little Talent," "Whatever Lola Wants (Lola Gets)," "Who's Got the Pain?," "Those Were the Good Old Days" and "Two Lost Souls," among others.

City Center is located in Manhattan at West 55th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues. For tickets, priced $25-$110, call (212) 581-1212 or visit www.nycitycenter.org.

Cheyenne Jackson and Jane Krakowski
Cheyenne Jackson and Jane Krakowski