Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Damn Yankees, or How Jenna and Jack rock my world!

Dir. John Rando
Choreography by: Bob Fosse

I  have soft spot for Adler and Ross' Damn Yankees - I helped produce it at college a couple of years ago - and if watching friends slave over a musical over long and hard-working months doesn't make you appreciate a show, I don't know what will! - and so it was with some wistful nostalgia and anticipation that I bought myself a ticket and headed over to the New York City Center to see Jane 'Jenna from 30 Rock' Krakowski and Sean 'Jack from Will and Grace' Hayes bring Lola and Applegate to life.

Two hours + later, I found myself delighted at the production. Random thoughts ahead:

- Mr Jackson has a pretty voice and a pretty face, but little else going for him either showing he has no grasp of Joe, or playing so plainly he doesn't do justice the material.
- Sean Hayes is wonderful as Mr Applegate (even if Jack-isms lurk at every line-reading, but seriously: is that such a bad thing?) - he bats the hell out of Those Were The Good Old Days including some on-stage piano playing! That and seeing him mock Lola's "routine" were highlights of the show for me.
- Shoeless Joe from Hannibal, MO - At last I understand what baseball players do when they "practice," I knew all those bats couldn't be just for sporting purposes; they are dancing props people!
- Ms Krakowski is amazing. I fell in love with her back in her Ally McBeal time, love her now in 30 Rock and had only heard good things about her stints in Broadway. But nothing prepared me for her performance as Lola: she's such a natural (who else can slip from Marylin-like voices to Fosse moves as nonchalantly as she does in Whatever Lola Wants?) on stage that she made me just want to join her as she asked Who's Got the Pain [when they do the Mambo]? 

Yes, the show is a bit of a throwback and a traditional musical in every sense of the word, but jolly gosh! It's got heart and that won me over - plus, Fosse choreography people! (Two Lost Souls is a number elevated over the already fun material by the dancing) A


POP COLONY said...

Was that the critically acclaimed Totem or Vanier production of Damn(ed) Yankees?

Vance said...

hmm.. I guess I have nothing to compare it to since I havent seen previous incarnations but I didn't mind Cheyenne but I guess I was hypnotized but his voice and good looks.

Jane Krakowski rocks!

That Mambo scene though comes to me from nowhere. Seems totally incongruous to the rest of the show.