Damn Yankees Hits a Home Run

damnyankeesOcean State Theater Company has served up a summertime treat with Damn Yankees, a good-natured and highly entertaining musical directed with a lot of style by Amiee Turner.

Joe Boyd (John Costa) is a devout baseball fan who wants his team to defeat the dreaded New York Yankees. One day Joe is visited by a man named Applegate (Beau Allen), who offers him the chance to play ball for the Washington Senators. There’s only one catch: Applegate is the devil in disguise and Joe has turned over his soul in exchange for fame and glory. A much younger Joe (Matt Gibson) becomes a star slugger for the team, but is soon forced to choose between fulfilling his dreams and following his heart.

The performances in Damn Yankees are wonderfully winning. Gibson is a likable and earnest leading man with a beautiful singing voice. Allen has a lot of fun as the erudite and conniving Applegate. His demeanor is a bit campy, but it works. Lauren Gemelli is a blast as the sexy and seductive Lola, who tries to win Joe over. Sally Ann Swarm is tremendously sweet and touchingly vulnerable as Joe’s adoring wife Meg.

The show has some energetic choreography to go along with the fun songs. I particularly enjoyed “Heart” and “Shoeless Joe from Hannibal, Mo.”

The period costumes by Emily Taradash are absolutely stunning and Tyler M. Perry’s set designs are attractive. Justin Cowan’s musical direction was superb.

You don’t need to be a baseball fan to enjoy Damn Yankees. It’s a perfect escape from the summer heat.

Damn Yankees runs through July 24. Ocean State Theatre Co. 1245 Jefferson Boulevard, Warwick. Tickets are available online 24 hours a day at OceanStateTheatre.org and via telephone during normal box office hours by calling 401-921-6800.

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