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Paul VI Delivers With a Devilish ‘Yankees’

W.T. Woodson High School's Emily Manno reviews "Damn Yankees," performed by Paul VI Catholic High School.

EEDY Post 1.jpg
Patrick McDonald (Joe), Dana Lindblad (Lola), Lucy Holden (Lucy) and
Jake Miller (Rocky).

“One long-ball hitter, that’s what we need! I’d sell my soul for one long-ball hitter!”

So begins Joe Boyd’s journey into the major leagues as the 20-years-younger and athletically proficient Joe Hardy, who finds himself wrapped up in a hellish scheme that could have him holding onto his soul for all it’s worth.

Last weekend, Paul VI Catholic High School performed an entertaining rendition of “Damn Yankees,” a musical comedy by Richard Adler, George Abbott, Jerry Ross and Douglass Wallop.

“Damn Yankees” made its first stage appearance on May 5, 1955, in the 46th Street Theatre, running a total of 1,019 shows on Broadway and 258 shows in London.

The show begins with Joe Boyd, an elderly Washington Senators fan whose deepest wish is to see his favorite baseball team beat the Yankees. He strikes a bargain with the devil (disguised as a man named Mr..Applegate), who enables Joe Boyd to transform into a young athlete named Joe Hardy and play for the Senators for the rest of the season. There is a catch: At the end of the season, Joe can decide whether he wants to return to his loving wife and humdrum life or stay on as Joe Hardy, who quickly develops a fan club and a track record as one of the best players the team has seen.

Dodging nosy reporters and other lost souls, Joe embarks on a journey that only serves to remind him that everything he cared about most in his life was right at home.

The cast of “Damn Yankees” pulled off an exciting show, with strong leads and an ensemble that was active and engaged.

Particularly outstanding was Jason Donahoe as Mr..Applegate, whose multi-faceted performance brought to life the devilish yet playful character. Using subtle facial expressions and tones, Donahoe brought to light all sides of Applegate, including his humorous side.

Patrick McDonald gave a strong musical lead as Joe Hardy. His clear vocals struck a chord in songs such as “Near to You” and “Goodbye, Old Girl.”

Playing Gloria Thorpe, Alexandra Dent brought elements of biting sarcasm and wit to the show and demonstrated her vocal talents in the song “Shoeless Joe from Hannibal, Mo,” a well-executed ensemble dance number.

Other noteworthy roles were those of Sister and Doris, played by Frances Palaszczuk and Meghan Shea, who supplied comedic relief with their charming depictions of two rowdy old ladies.

Combating minor technical glitches, Paul VI’s technical crew had excellent lighting and sound. Although some scene changes ran too long, the company compensated nicely for its lack of crew with help from the actors. The most dazzling stage effects were the lightning and thunder involved in the scene depicting Joe’s transformation from an old man to a young athlete.

Throughout the evening, Paul VI’s production of “Damn Yankees” did not fail to remind the audience that “You Gotta Have Heart.”

By Washington Post Editors  |  November 25, 2008; 10:34 AM ET
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