'Damn Yankees' knocks it out of the park

The cast of Damn Yankees. Courtsey of Damn Yankees Publicity Team
This production’s Washington Senators. (Courtesy of “Damn Yankees” Publicity Team)

“Damn Yankees” brings a top notch performance to the Val A. Browning Performance Center for the Performing Arts’ Allred Theater. With only two performances left on Feb. 27 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 28 at 2 p.m., this is one performance that shouldn’t be missed. Tickets are $10 for students and $12 for general admission.

“Damn Yankees” tells the story of Joe Boyd, who, more than anything, wants his baseball team, the Washington Senators, to beat the New York Yankees and have a winning season. After a devastating loss Joe says he would sell his soul for the Senators to have one winning season. Conveniently enough, the devil immediately appears, saying he can make Joe’s request come true. The devil transforms Joe Boyd into Joe Hardy, the long ball hitter the Senators desperately need. Joe quickly realizes his wish comes with a steep price.

The dance numbers for “Damn Yankees” were truly remarkable. The dances have challenging moves that the actors make seem flawlessly simple. One of my favorite scenes in Act I was the song “Shoeless Joe for Hannibal, MO.” The dancing in that scene had a mix of everything, from partner dance moves to challenging dance steps and even acrobatics. The performers really brought the energy for this dance number and all the other dance numbers.

The musical numbers in this production are powerful and on key. All the actors’ voices harmonize together and accurately portray the emotions of the songs. The songs have a catchy, upbeat tempo and perfectly portray the sound of the 1940s.

While all the actors had incredible voices, one actor stood out to me. Jason Baldwin, who plays Joe Hardy, has a powerful, deep voice and his enunciation was very clear.

Christian Johnson, the actor playing Joe Boyd, and Baldwin’s voices were perfect for the characters they were portraying. When Johnson starts the song “Goodbye, Old Girl,” his voice is gentle and not youthfully enthusiastic. At the end, when Joe Boyd is transformed into Joe Hardy, Baldwin’s voice conveys the perfect amount of energy needed to convey how powerful and meaningful the transformation was. As the song “Goodbye, Old Girl” ended and Baldwin took over, I was in awe at how long he could hold his end note. As soon as the song ended the audience, myself included, erupted in applause and whistling.

While “Damn Yankees” is a fairly clean show, I don’t believe it should be viewed by children. There is some strong language and suggestive content at certain points, and a couple of not-so-child-friendly topics are brought up throughout the production.

“Damn Yankees” gives a strong message to the audience while being comical and upbeat. It makes the audience think about choices. I felt the message was clear that there are consequences to one’s actions. The biggest message that came across to me was to look at what is in front of you and be grateful, because in life there will always be tough choices that may seem positive at first, but later can have devastating consequences.