Damn Yankees – Sun Valley High School in Aston, PA
March 15, 2016
Review by: Marissa Emerson of Upper Merion Area High School
Super-fans are willing to do just about anything to help their favorite teams make it to the top…but would selling their soul make the list? Sun Valley High School’s recent production of Damn Yankees explores just what happens when Washington Senators fan Joe Boyd does just that.
Damn Yankees premiered on Broadway in 1955 and won seven of its nine Tony nominations the following year including Best Musical. The tale follows that of middle-aged Joe Boyd after he signs his soul to Mr. Applegate, a.k.a. the Devil, to play for his favorite baseball team and help them beat the “Damn Yankees.” What follows is the success of the now Joe Hardy and the rollercoaster of emotions that ensues after his game changing decision.
The ensemble, while sometimes underwhelming with their volume, had energy that lit the stage during dance numbers. Small groups, like the Baseball Girls dance ensemble, hit their moves cleanly and caught the audience’s eye while Ball Players grabbed our hearts with their witty lines and embodiment of perseverance and team spirit.
Gianni Palmarini (Joe Boyd/Hardy) opened the show with Sydney Lamoureux (Meg Boyd) and it was clear that their stage chemistry was that of a loving aged couple. Gianni Palmarini’s voice was a homerun with his soaring vibrato and impressive tonality. The duo’s duets flowed with emotion and the yearning Palmarini showed for Lamoureux’s character was evident in his longing glances across the stage and the couple’s adorable awkwardness upon meeting each other again.
Kaitlin McCombs (Lola) may not have been introduced to the plot right off the bat, but her presence throughout the show became a key to the show’s success. McComb’s consistency not only in the use of a convincing Latin accent and strong vocal prowess, but also her witty timing and facial expressions, allowed her to help push scenes along that were otherwise lacking in pacing. Collin Gillies (Mr. Applegate) was another devilishly good performer. His bouts of snarky line deliveries during his rendition of “Those Were the Good Old Days” left the audience in stitches.
Scenic transitions throughout the production were well done with minor strike outs by the stage crew. The agility of the crew was an asset to the production and rarely took attention away from soloists.
The fun numbers, divine sets, and vocal talent at Sun Valley High School surely made their production of Damn Yankees a grand slam!
Review by: Kira Clements of Upper Merion Area High School
Cracker Jacks, hotdogs, and… the devil? In the musical Damn Yankees, written by George Abbott and Douglass Wallop, Joe Boyd is on the wrong side of forty and struggling due to his dedication to the failing Washington Senators baseball team. Mr. Applegate, a smooth-talking salesman (who is actually the devil), gives him an opportunity to redeem his favorite team – by giving up his soul and becoming Joe Hardy, a spirited and agile baseball player. This leads to hilarious shenanigans and the realization that people don’t appreciate what they have until it’s gone – the moral of this comedy.
Sun Valley High School’s production of Damn Yankees was an exciting one, featuring great comedic timing and some pretty high kicks amongst the dancers. Marissa Massini, part of the impressive dance ensemble, shone bright with her effortless display of the challenging choreography. Tommy Christaldi, playing Rocky, stole the show every time the ensemble of baseball players came on stage with his quirky delivery of his lines. All of the ensembles worked together to make the numbers entertaining and had the audience members bobbing in their seats.
Gianni Palmarini, playing leading man Joe Boyd/Hardy, showcased a gorgeous singing voice in his song “Goodbye, Old Girl” while also moving the audience with his great acting ability. His chemistry with Connor Gillies (Applegate) was funny and exciting to watch. Sydney Lamoureux, playing Joe’s wife Meg, pushed through challenging lines just as a professional would. In fact, the whole cast acted as professionals as they powered through some microphone and lighting issues. Costuming choices were remarkable with the exception of Lola’s, which slightly deviated from the time period.
Overall, Sun Valley’s production of Damn Yankees was an exciting show to watch with the spectacular choreography and impressive vocals from the group of leading men. The show had the audience roaring with laughter in multiple scenes. This is certainly a show for the whole family to enjoy together.