‘Damn Yankees’ comes to the Wick Theatre in Boca.  The devil you say!

For the next few weeks, the Wick Theatre in Boca Raton can boast that it has assembled a crack ensemble of folks with intimate ties to the Great American Pastime – baseball – and who are truly worth their weight in rosin and chewin’ tobacco. The reason? The popular big league hit from the mid-1950s, the musical comedy, Damn Yankees, has come to the Wick stage with its plethora of idiosyncrasies – a dominant husband and wife romance theme, lots of devil-may-care antics and a terrific musical score.


The cast of Damn Yankees at the Wick Theatre in Boca Raton. (Photo by Amy Pasquantonio)

This compelling package includes great actors, capable vocalists and fancy dancers who give their all to assure an entertaining evening. Like many productions that have unfolded at the Wick in this and past seasons, Damn Yankees is filled with verve, oomph and appeal. The stage curtains are even adorned with baseball stitching.

After the theatre benched the show for a year because of COVID, the classic Broadway musical is now ready to take the “field” at the north Boca performance center. 

The cast of Damn Yankees at the Wick Theatre in Boca Raton. (Photo by Amy Pasquantonio)

Damn Yankees is a damn good way to spend a couple of relaxed hours being fascinated by a troupe of theater professionals. The production that combines Major League entertainment with devilish fun and tender romance won eight Tony Awards, including the coveted honor for Best Musical.  

Drawn from a book by Broadway legend George Abbott and featuring a game-winning score by Adler and Ross, the show features classic songs including “Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets,” “(You Gotta Have) Heart” and iconic dance numbers originally choreographed by Bob Fosse. 

“With acrobatic dancing, a sexy seductress and tons of comedy, this gem bats a thousand,” declared Managing Executive Producer Marilynn Wick.

 Wayne LeGette as Mr. Applegate (the devil) in Damn Yankees at the Wick Theatre in Boca Raton. (Photo by Amy Pasquantonio)

Based on the novel The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant by Douglass Wallop, Damn Yankees tells the story of a middle-aged real estate agent and baseball superfan, Joe Boyd (Bryan Dobson), who, with the help of the devil (Wayne LeGette), gets a chance to lead his favorite team – the Washington Senators  — to victory in a pennant race against the despised New York Yankees – the squad he calls “the damn Yankees.” 

Will he succeed in his bid to save the Senators and return home to the life and wife he desperately loves or will he be lost for all eternity to the devil himself?  The answer is likely in the cards – the baseball cards.

The production opens with a focus on zealous baseball fanatic Joe Boyd and his wistful wife, Meg (Aaron Bower). Joe is so enraged that the powerhouse Yanks keep winning pennant after pennant that he exclaims he’d sell his soul to the devil if the Senators could defeat the Bronx Bums in a pennant race. 

Speak of the devil. The master of Hell suddenly shows up in the guise of a Mr. Applegate (LeGette, alias the devil) with an offer he hopes Joe won’t refuse. Applegate offers to transform Boyd into 22-year-old Joe Hardy (Jeffrey Keller) – the greatest slugger the baseball world has ever known who could lead the Senators to a World Series berth. Joe and the Devil seal the deal after Joe demands an escape clause that would allow him to slip back into his original identity and life situation before the end of the deciding ball game.

Jeffrey Keller and Lauren Weinberg in Damn Yankees at the Wick Theatre in Boca Raton.

Suddenly, the elder Joe Boyd morphs into the young, athletic, tall, handsome Joe Hardy – the salvation of America’s favorite pastime. 

There’s only one glitch. Joe Boyd (now Joe Hardy) still misses his wife desperately – and it only gets worse — to Applegate’s chagrin.

And a baffled Meg wonders where Joe went and if he’ll ever return.

When Hardy joins the Senators, he quickly becomes the full-blown slugger who puts the team on track to Big League victory – upsetting Applegate who was intent on corrupting the young baseball star. But Hardy’s rise to fame doesn’t come without a price. While his soul is solidly with the team, his heart belongs to Meg. He even wanders back to their home where he becomes a boarder in the dwelling and sings “A Man Doesn’t Know” to express his loneliness.

 Wayne LeGette and the Devilish Girls in Damn Yankees at the Wick Theatre in Boca Rato

But Applegate has a trick up his red-hot sleeve. He turns to seductress Lola (Lauren Weinberg)  who vocalizes her resume — “A Little Brains, a Little Talent,” claiming she has the power to corrupt any man.  When she meets Joe in the team’s locker room, she tries to woo him with the sensuous tune, “Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets.”

But does it work? You’ll have to see the show to find out.

The cast of heavy hitters includes two-time Carbonell Award winner LeGette as the devilish Applegate.  Damn Yankees gives LeGette a chance to exhibit some of his most diabolically wicked ways – to the delight of the audience. He even croons “Those Were the Good Old Days,” a paean to all the sad things that happened in the past.  

Helen Hayes Award nominee Weinberg brings the sexy side of ultra-vixen Lola to the fore with her sensual ways and newcomer Keller is a star in the making as all-American Joe Hardy.  

Lauren Weinberg as Lola in Damn Yankees at the Wick Theatre in Boca Raton. (Photo by Amy Pasquantonio)

Watch out for high-stepping reporter Gloria Thorpe (Mychal Phillips) who uses her “Shoeless Joe from Hannibal, Mo.” tune to kick into a spectacular dance number, with players joining in with extreme ballfield movements, jumps and twirls. 

Bower – returning from her triumphant run as Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes — brings the charm and wisdom of a mid-century housewife as Joe’s wife. She and Keller’s duet, “Near to You,” is a true joy. 

This all-star team is led by MVP’s including director, Jeffrey B. Moss, who has helmed some of the biggest touring hits including Legally BlondeHello, Dolly! and South Pacific. Carbonell Award-winner Jerel T. Brown is the choreographer and two-time Carbonell Award-winner Eric Alsford is musical director.

Damn Yankees runs through April 2 at the Wick Theater, 7901 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton. Evening shows are on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and matinees are on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 2. Tickets are available at www.thewick.org or by calling the box office at 561-995-2333.

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