'Damn Yankees' aspires to hit it out of the park
Damn Yankees, directed by NU's Director of Theater Steven Braddock, opens at the Leary Theatre on Nov. 10. This Tony Award-winning musical, with music and lyrics by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross, is a story about how Joe Boyd, a fan of the hopeless Washington Senators, makes a deal with the devil in hopes of bringing his team to victory against those damn Yankees. Boyd is played by sophomore theatre performance major John Staton Jr.
Sophomore theatre performance and English major Nathan Andrew Miller plays the Senators' manager, VanBuren.
Van Buren has a tough time motivating his players, whom he knows has the talent to win, but can't seem to get in the right mindset, Miller says.
Freshman theatre performance major Nathanial W.C. Higgins, who plays Smokey, explains that the members of the Senators are down on their luck until Joe Hardy, played by Mike Van Dyke, joins and invigorates the team.
Sophomore theatre performance major Bobby Hall plays Linville, whose position is replaced when Hardy joins the team. Hall explains that, even though Linville resents his new teammate at first, he realizes that he must learn to support him.
Senior theatre performance major Jamie Nablo says that this show is about discovering you don't realize how precious the things you have are until they're gone. Hall agrees with the grass-is-always-greener- theme, saying that this play is about regretting decisions and realizing that you were happier before you tried to fix it.
Higgins says that audiences will be able to relate to many of the themes in Damn Yankees. In addition to the grass-is-always-greener theme, the musical also touches base (no pun intended) on overcoming temptation. Hall notes that this play is also about people willing to do anything for their passions. He says this show will inspire students to relight the fires that go out when you're awake at two in the morning wondering why you're working on this paper.
Nablo encourages students to see this production by equating it to a sporting event. She says that actors feed off of the audience's energy, similar to how athletes feel the energy of their supportive crowd Instead of seeing a competition, you're going to be coming to see a story unfurl before your eyes, and a beautiful story at that, Nablo says.
Senior theatre performance and English major Emily Aguilar says this show will be captivating for audiences of all walks of life, especially (to) anyone who enjoys baseball, lively music, and a good laugh.
Nablo says that this is a genuine American tale, and I really think we're ˜hitting it out of the park.'
Damn Yankees is the first play that Braddock will direct as a Purple Eagle. Aguilar appreciates the opportunity to work with him in this production and became more familiar with how he runs things.
Hall says that Braddock is an amazing director and is making an impact with his first production here at NU. Braddock is great at giving the actor opportunities to create his or her own character, and make choices according to that character, Miller says. I'd say 20 or 25 percent of the show is ad libs that have worked for us in rehearsal.
Damn Yankees will show at the Leary Theater in the Elizabeth Anne Clune Center at 7 p.m. on Nov. 10 and 17, and at 7 p.m. on Nov. 11, 12, 18 and 19. 2 p.m. matinees will be held on Nov. 12, 13, 19 and 20, with a post-show discussion on Nov. 13. All theater productions are free for students with valid student IDs.