Photo by Don Kellogg

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Damn Yankees

Another summer gem in the Summer Stars Encores! series.   Ironically, it's not really about the Yankees at all.  It's about the Washington Senators (go figure!).   George Abbott wrote the now stale and awkward book and Richard Adler and Jerry Ross wrote, for the most part, non-memorable numbers.  It wasn't much of a hit on Broadway, comparatively, but it has its moments.

Taking the helm this time around at the City Center are Sean Hayes (Will and Grace) as Applegate (the devil) making his New York theater debut; Jane Krakowski (Nine, Ally McBeal) making a sublime appearance as the seductive Lola; and Cheyenne Jackson (Xanadu) demonstrating his powerful voice and gorgeous looks as Joe Hardy.   One of my all time favorites was also in the cast as Sister - the ever-hysterical, Veanne Cox (Company, A Mother A Daughter and a Gun).

The show to me was an awkward pastiche of scenes that sometimes did not appear to even connect with each other.  One minute boys on the baseball team are talking, the next they are doing a dance ballet (good, but why?).   One minute Lola and Joe are sad and the next they are dancing like Bob Fosse in a Hernando's Hide-a-way type club (good, but why?).  Other times the scene changes were so dramatic that it felt like you were flipping thru the channels on the TV trying to watch 3 different shows.   And what was that silly fan club talent show number (erp!) for??
The show does have a few memorable numbers - Whatever Lola Wants and my favorite A Little Brains, A Little Heart (with an emphasis on the latter!).  Jane Krakowski knocked them both out of the ballpark!  Sean Hayes scored big with his performance and showcased his talents playing the piano, singing, dancing, and hamming it up in Those Were the Good Old Days.

I doubt this one will transfer to Broadway - but like they say - you can't win 'em all.  In the meantime, steal third and check it out.  The stars of the show salvage what the show lacks.  You won't go home disappointed.