Shows D

DAMN YANKEES Music & Lyrics by Richard Adler & Jerry Ross: book by George Abbot & Douglass Wallop. Based on the novel The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant by Douglass Wallop 46th Street Theatre - 5 May 1955 (1019 perfs) London Coliseum - 28 March, 1957 SYNOPSIS A twist on the Faustian legend sees the fanatical baseball fan, Joe Boyd, agreeing to sell his soul to the devil to save his favourite team, the Senators. When the time comes for Joe to pay the price of his success he manages to outwit the devil in this sure-fire musical. Hit songs include "Whatever Lola Wants" and "Heart". STORY ACT ONE Scene 1: Joe and Meg Boyd, a couple in their forties, are sitting in their comfortable living room in Chevy Chase, Maryland, on a warm evening. Meg is talking to Joe about the weather, but he's obsessed with a baseball game. She sings that for Six Months Out of Every Year," Joe is a great husband, but a lost cause during baseball season, when the Washington Senators take over his heart. The game ends; Joe is furious because his team lost. He wants them to lick those champion Damn Yankees just once. Meg gives up and goes to bed, announcing she has to play bridge the next day. As she leaves, Joe swings at an imaginary ball, and says he would sell his soul for one long-ball hitter for the Senators. Applegate, a mysterious stranger who seems to be a cross between a slick salesman and a song-and-dance man, suddenly appears from the shadows. Applegate knows of Joe's youthful dreams to play baseball. The stranger does several feats of magic, and enables Joe to touch his toes for the first time in years. Two friends of Meg's, Sister and Doris, pass by, and accuse Joe of talking to himself. Joe realizes Applegate is invisible to everyone but him. Applegate reveals his identity as the Devil, and offers Joe a chance to save the Senators. If Joe agrees, he has to disappear from his present life and become a 22-year-old baseball star named Joe Hardy. A shrewd real-estate agent, Joe insists on an escape clause. Applegate is sure he can make Joe forget his wife, and agrees to let him have one chance to escape selling his soul forever on the 24th of September at midnight. Applegate goes off to call a taxi, and Joe leaves Meg a note as he sings "Goodbye, Old Girl." Although he doesn't tell her where he is going, he insists he loves her. Applegate transforms Joe Boyd into young Joe Hardy, and they leave for the baseball stadium. Scenes 2 and 3: In the Washington Senators' dugout, the team's manager, Van Buren, is encouraging his players to keep trying to win against the Yankees. His players have talent but they also need one essential ingredient for success: "Heart." As they leave, reporter Gloria Thorpe enters to interview Van Buren. Applegate convinces Van Buren to let Joe try out for the team. Joe amazes the team with his skills, and is hired. While Applegate insists he found Joe in Hannibal, Missouri playing sandlot ball, reporter Gloria probes to learn more about him. In the meantime, Joe has to borrow a pair of shoes-his old shoes are too tight for him. Gloria decides to make him famous: she nicknames him "Shoeless Joe From Hannibal, Mo." Scenes 4 and 5: Sister and Doris are outside the ballpark trying to see the new baseball sensation, Joe Hardy. Joe, who is now hitting .480, has led the team to second place in the American League. He is in team owner Welch's office complaining about the reporters' nonstop questions about his past. Welch leaves Applegate to reason with Joe. When Applegate scolds him for sneaking around his old home, Joe says he is lonely for Meg.