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Friday, March 30, 2012
The great philosopher, Red Green, once said, "If I can do it, it's not art". Taking a cue from him, I confess that I can't sing or dance, and I can only act a little. That said, there ware plenty of artists at work on opening night of "Damn Yankees" at the Sherman Center last night.
DWU Theatre's second attempt at a spring musical in two years was a home run. My expectations were a little high after being wowed by "Joseph" last year, but this production was definitely a major league score. As it was last year, the spring musical was $10 well spent, very well spent.
Roger Allen and Jeff Holstien stepped up to the plate as Joe Boyd/Hardy. The transition seemed effortless as their vocal singing style was similar, to my untrained ear at least. Cast as Joe's "old girl" Meg, was Jenna Callies, who swung for the bleachers with every note at perfect pitch. Sound issues did not get in her way, as she carried her tune all the way to the back row. Not everyone could say that. sometimes at my age I wonder if I'm going deaf. I got along somehow.
Every good show has a flawed hero and a sympathetic villain. Holstien's Joe Hardy showed some real weakness at all the right times. This fan in the stands was impressed at the tragic emotion that befell Shoeless Joe! Monty Bohrer played Applegate alternately serious and for laughs. He was very good at being bad! While he was not sympathetic at all. Brooke Warne was just that, as Lola Banana. Her character went through the complete gambit of emotions from A to Z, and back to O. Starting off as evil, Lola starts to feel sorry for our hero, and then begins to care for him. The pain she feels as she leaves Joe to his happy life was written all over her face. It was powerful stuff! Warne teamed up with Devin Carey in a song and dance number that stole the show for me.
Dan Miller's direction was evident throughout the production. My research, and my own senses let me know that. Miller satirical wit was present in some of the lines about everything from university presidents, the Methodist Church, and even Pukwana, South Dakota. The concession stand featured all of the standard ballpark fare, except for beer and pretzels. The most subtle piece of direction that caught my eye was the upside down horseshoe over Applegate's living room door.
So get to the Sherman Center this weekend. I also with to apologize for all of the baseball references I used and misused in this review. Actually I wish I could have thought up some more.
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