McLean Community Players Damn YankeesBy Laura & Mike Clark • Jul 17th, 2013 • Category: Reviews
McLean Community Players: (Info) (Web)
Alden Theatre, McLean, VA
Through July 28th
2:50 with one intermission
$20/$18 Senior, Student, MCC
Reviewed July 13th, 2013
MCP’s Damn Yankees is the musical story of an older man who sold his soul to the devil so he could play baseball as a young man, for his team, the Washington Senators. He of course soon regrets his decision and then has a devil of a time getting out of the arrangement. With the help of a demon who decides she likes the kid, he struggles to return to his true love. Marred only by some technical rough edges, the overall production of Damn Yankees was energetic and well done.
Joe Hardy (Tim Adams) was an eager young ball player with stars in his eyes who was thrilled with the idea of playing major league ball for the Washington Senators. Adams had a quick smile and an eagerness to please and be a part of the team. The only problem was he was not overly forthcoming with information about his personal life which drove the press crazy. Joe’s lack of openness was due to the fact that he was really a much older man (Joe Boyd played by Hans Bachman) who sold his soul to Mr. Applegate played convincingly by Mike Baker, Jr. Baker had the moves and the flash powder down pat. He was smooth as a snake, yet amazingly light on his feet. He managed to handle Joe Hardy, until Joe wanted to go see his wife. Applegate has to stop this so he calls in reinforcements: the sexy Lola, played by Annie Ermlick. Ermlick combined sultry with stunning outfits. She was emotional and had a strong rapport with both Applegate and Joe Hardy, sometimes drowning out Joe Hardy with her big voice, but the dance numbers were well staged.
Meg Boyd, who probably hated baseball, was played by Barbara Cobb-Jepperson. Despite appearing a bit too young to be Joe Boyd’s wife, She did possess a lot of compassion and never lost hope that Joe Boyd would one day return. Perhaps a bit of gray in her hair and some age lines would have helped her look like a woman who has experienced more of life’s ups and downs. Bob Ashby as Coach Van Buren had stock in Pepto Bismol as he tried as hard as he could to turn the Senators into a winning baseball team. His perpetual look of anxiety managed to leave when Joe Hardy arrived and the team began to win games. The “Ethel and Lucy” comedy team starred Lauren Laird and Kim Thornley was a comedic funny bone tickler.
Choreographer Kathleen McCormack taught some pretty complicated dance numbers, but the cast was up to the challenge and executed well. The show’s opening song “Six Months Out of Every Year” was quite spirited. Costumer Richard Battistelli made sure that Applegate was always in red and Lola was always sporting black of some kind, with a fascinating effect during “Two Lost Souls” with Lola’s dizzying stripe patterns, polka dots and Joe’s pinstripes. The ball players’ uniforms were sometimes too tight and sometimes too baggy.
The technical aspects of the performance were the only thing that brought the energy down at times. The orchestra performed superbly, but some of the numbers were very loud. A nice touch was the conductor dressed as an umpire, while the orchestra members were wearing baseball jerseys. While possibly an intended effect, Applegate was standing in shadows several times while he was initially talking with Joe Boyd. Technical problems included the curtain not always lowering completely during scene changes, off-stage microphones broadcasting TMI to the audience, and projections of the computer system desktop during scene changes instead of the nice ball field photos which eventually appeared. With time, these issues should no longer be a concern.
Damn Yankees also featured a great pre-show announcement, but the songs before each act weren’t quite needed and stretched the evening a bit. A well-balanced musical with strong emotion and timing, Damn Yankees is a lively show for everyone.
Photos by Traci J. Brooks Photography
Cast (In order of appearance)
- Joe Boyd: Hans Bachmann
- Meg Boyd: Barbara Cobb-Jepperson
- Mr. Applegate: Mike Baker, Jr.
- Sister: Lauren Laird
- Doris: Kim Thornley
- Joe Hardy: Tim Adams
- Smokey: Todd Paul
- Van Buren: Bob Ashby
- Rocky: Russell Silber
- Gloria Thorpe: Janette Moman
- Welch: Joe LeBlanc
- Lola: Annie Ermlick
- Commissioner / Lynch: Bill Byrnes
- Men’s Ensemble: Jack Flatley, Jerry Hoffman, Mike Holland Neo Libut, Jr., Christopher Paul, Jack Posey
- Women’s Ensemble: Catherine Callahan, Angelena LeBlanc, Jennifer Levy, Maura O’Reilly, Stephanie Pencek, Liz Stark
- Producers: Alex Bhargava, Columba Hoban, Jean Matich
- Directors: Kevin McCormack, Pamela McCormack
- Music Director: John Edward Niles
- Vocal Director: Lori Roddy
- Stage Manager – Booth: Douglas F. Yriart
- Stage Manager – Deck: Annie O’Neill Galvin
- Choreographer: Kathleen McCormack
- Set Design: Bill Glikbarg
- Lighting Design: Lynne Glikbarg
- Sound Design: Bob Zeigler
- Costumer: Richard Battistelli
- Technical Director: George Farnsworth
- Master Carpenter: Bernie Gmiter
- Music Coordinator: Lori Roddy
- Props/Set Dressing: Jerry Gideon, Terry Yates, Dinnie Whitson
- Scenic Artist: Vivian Leinio
- Set Construction George Farnsworth, Bill Glikbarg, Bernie Gmiter, Bob Schroth
- Set Painting : Cathy Farnsworth, Terry Yates, Columba Hoban
- Backstage: Kate Bush, Shayne Gardner, Earle Greene, Nancy Pruett, Andrew Rampy, Sherry Singer, Adrian Steel, Karen Veltri
- Publicity Manager: Cathy Farnsworth
- Program/Website: George Farnsworth
- Publicity/Marketing: Tula Pendergrast
- Media Relations: Brent Stone
- Photographer: Traci Brooks Medlock
- Opening Night Party: Terry Yates
- Auditions: Jennifer Levy, Tula Pendergrast
- Violin: Greg Hiser
- Reeds: Mila Weiss, Lindsay Williams
- Trumpets . Vincent Prinzivalli, Curt Nette, Terry Bradley, Scott Firestone
- Trombones: Scott Fridy, Bill Wright
- Piano: Bobby McCoy
- Bass: David Burrelli
- Percussion: Jim Hofmann
Disclaimer: McLean Community Players provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review. MCP also purchased advertising on the ShowBizRadio web site, which did not influence this review.
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/9648.
Laura & Mike Clark started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.