EPPING — Leddy Center for the Performing Arts Executive Director Elaine Gatchell is proud to present Damn Yankees, a musical comedy. Directed and Choreographed by Mrs. Gatchell, musically directed by J. Bruce Gatchell, and accompanied by Devereux Geiger, Damn Yankees premiered on Broadway in 1955.
Joe Boyd (Michael Coppola, Portsmouth) is glued to his television set from April through September, cheering his beloved, ne’er-do-well Washington Senators on. After yet another loss, Joe laments to the darkness that all the Senators need is “one long-ball hitter.” Enter Mr. Applegate (Don LaDuke, Londonderry). Applegate, the devil incarnate, wants nothing more than to see “those damn Yankees” get the trouncing he feels they deserve. Joe’s lament serves up an idea that might just do the trick, and a deal is struck. Middle-aged Joe Boyd is transformed into 20-something hotshot Joe Hardy, unstoppable long-ball hitter. He leaves his old life, including his wife Meg (Jane Button, Nottingham), behind - after securing an escape clause.
When Joe tries out for the Senators, Coach Benny VanBuren (Kevin Murphy, Danville) and the team (Bobby Collinge, Greg Dixon, Richard Gouin, Gregory Johnson, Dave McMullen, Jake Hudgins, Chris Horack) are ecstatic. While they’ve got “miles and miles and miles of heart,” Joe’s talent gives them hope that they might just win a game, and locker room reporter Gloria Thorpe (Deirdre Bridge, Derry) is in agreement. Mr. Applegate employs “a little brains, a little talent” in the form of Lola (Jennifer Solomon, Dover) when Joe shows signs of homesickness. He wants Joe to keep his eyes on the biggest prize of them all: the pennant. Damn Yankees, book by George Abbott and Douglass Wallop, and music and lyrics by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross, won seven Tony awards in 1956, including Best Musical. Jean Stapleton, who passed away at the age of 90 on June 1, 2013, originated the role of Sister Miller in the production. Veteran of the Leddy stage, Ellen Gregg will be playing the role of Sister Miller in this production.