Aesthetically Speaking

Ordway-produced ‘Damn Yankees’ a home run

the-cast-of-damn-yankeesFrom the moment audience members walked into the Ordway production of “Damn Yankees” it was a game winning hit.

The Ordway transforms its luxurious main lobby hall to reflect the essence of the production. Baseball uniform clad doormen and greeters welcomed the eclectic audience. Ushers escorted ticket holders into the stage hall, which was transformed into the 1950s world of baseball – stadium and all.

An exclusively curated collection of Minnesota Twins and Washington Senators memorabilia in the main lobby showcased the unique and special relationship between the real life Minnesota Twins and the fictionalized Senators of “Damn Yankees.” The Senators played in the major leagues up until 1960 before moving to Twin Cities and becoming the beloved team now known as the Minnesota Twins.

The musical is set in the 1950s in Washington, D.C., during a time when the New York Yankees dominated Major League Baseball. A fanatical baseball fan, Joe Boyd, agrees to sell his soul to the devil to save his favorite team, the Senators.

thay-gloyd-as-joe-hardy -gary-briggle-as-the-commissioner -and-kersten-rodau-as-gloria-thorpeThe classic baseball themed musical comedy used music and dance to tell the story of an adamant, die-hard, aging, couch potato baseball fan hell bent on seeing his favorite team win the World Series. “Damn Yankees” won seven Tony Awards when it premiered in 1955.

The audience roared in laughter, whistled, shouted and applauded at the end of each song and scene. The harmonic blending of pitches and rhythms in the vocals; and the mesmerizing tunes of a live orchestra, added to the lure of this classic baseball themed musical.

The curtain call “Heart” brought down the house as most of the audience jumped up to its feet and sang out “You Gotta Have Heart” with as much passion and enthusiasm as “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” is sang in stadiums across America.

The Ordway production of “Damn Yankees” brought back those “good old days” of baseball.

“There isn’t a more appropriate time to celebrate America’s favorite pastime than right now in the heart of summer,” said Patricia Mitchell, president and CEO of the Ordway. “Especially with the great partnership the Ordway has with the Minnesota Twins organization and the recent opening of the beautiful new home for our own St. Paul Saints’ CHS Field, just down the road.”

Casting Note: During its 60-year production history, “Damn Yankees” has featured predominately white actors in the principal roles. The Ordway’s production casted African-Americans in the lead roles of Joe Hardy (Lawrence Clayton) and Joe Boyd (Thay Floyd) and portrays the interracial marriage of Joe and Meg Hardy (Ann Morrison.) The Ordway’s hope is that this contemporary staging of “Damn Yankees” is both entertaining and provokes thoughtful reflection on historical and social norms over the past 60 years.

For show dates and times contact the Ordway at (651) 224-4222 or go to www.ordway.org for more information.

July 15, 2015
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