One, two, three strikes, you’re out for a night of love, temptation, and the American pastime. To celebrate the Washington Nationals baseball team, Langley High School recently performed the Adler and Ross musical “Damn Yankees.”
Set in 1956, fan of the luckless Washington Senators Joe Boyd (Danny Jolles) is fed up with those "Damn New York Yankees" winning every game. When given an offer by the devilish Mr. Applegate (Cy Movaghari), to sell his soul, become the best baseball player, and help the Washington Senators win the pennant, he takes it. Transformed into young baseball champ Joe Hardy (also played by Danny Jolles), he leads the team to victory after victory. However, homesick and gloomy, Joe gives up all his fame and glory to return to the wife and home he left behind. With a little help from seductress Lola (Maddie Wise), Joe outsmarts the devil and returns home to his wife, Meg (Hadyn Haring).
Playing both roles of Joe Boyd and Joe Hardy, Danny Jolles portrayed the transformation excellently. From the underscored, yet hilarious, anger at the television during “Six Months out of Every Year” to his poignant duet with his wife, “Near to You,” Jolles was able to expertly balance his emotions and showcase his commendable acting and singing abilities.
Hadyn Haring shone as the neglected housewife, Meg Boyd. Displaying excellent pitch and tone, along with believable, relatable acting, Haring was an excellent counterpart to Joe.
Cy Movaghari as the sly devil Mr. Applegate kept up the comic pace of the production, delivering his lines with just the right inflection to leave the audience in stitches. His protégé, Lola, as played by Maddie Wise, was the perfect blend of seductress and vulnerability. Wise also displayed her admirable dancing skills in the famous number “Whatever Lola Wants.”
The energy of the baseball players flowed expertly as an ensemble, especially in numbers like “Heart” and the boundlessly fun “The Game.”
The technical aspects of the production were effective, despite a few glitches. The red light that appeared onstage accompanying Mr. Applegate was a very inspired decision by the lighting crew, led by David Moody and Robin Hollinger.
When the night was over, it was clear that the cast and crew of Langley’s “Damn Yankees” had successfully put on a grand slam production. Bravo!
(Cappies is a high school critics and awards program involving 50 schools in the Virginia, Maryland and D.C. areas.)