Ascension Community Theatre takes swing at ‘Damn Yankees’

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Advocate staff photo by CATHERINE THRELKELD --
Brad Blanchard, left, who plays the devil, and Haley Schroeck, in the role of Lola, rehearse for Ascension Community Theatre's summer musical, 'Damn Yankees.'

Whatever Lola wants, Lola definitely will get.

Or will she?

Richard Adler and Jerry Ross’ Broadway musical Damn Yankees has been playing out to the same ending since its 1955 premiere in Broadway’s 46th Street Theatre.

So the ending won’t be any different in Ascension Community Theatre’s production of this 20th century re-telling of the Faust legend, where a dissatisfied man makes a pact with the devil for a life less ordinary. In Faust’s case, the deal was for unlimited knowledge; in Joe Boyd’s case it’s for a chance at helping the Washington Senators beat the New York Yankees for the league pennant.

And in the middle of it all is the devil’s assistant, Lola, a woman who traded her soul for mortal beauty. This beauty has always worked in her favor, and, as the musical’s trademark number goes, what ever Lola wants, Lola gets.

And she wants Joe.

Those familiar with the musical already know the outcome of Lola’s quest. Those who don’t will have to wait until Thursday, July 11, to learn the answer when Ascension Community Theatre opens its summer musical.

“It’s a fun musical, and it’s happy,” director Michael Mason said. “When I read last year that the theater was going to do Damn Yankees, I knew I had to put my name in to be the director.”

Mason has both acted in and directed previous productions, but Damn Yankees marks his first time directing Ascension’s summer musical.

“This is the kind of musical that defies all time laws,” he said. “People know it, they know the songs and they’ll leave the theater humming the tunes.”

George Abbott and Douglass Wallop wrote the book for this show, which begins with the middle-age Joe Boyd, who is a super fan of the Washington Senators baseball team. But the Senators lose each year to the New York Yankees, so Joe makes a pact with the devil, which transforms him into a young slugger named Joe Hardy.

Hardy becomes the savior for the Senators, as well as a Major League Baseball star. But he has a decision to make. He could sell his soul to the devil, thereby remaining a young star, or he can return to his home and wife Meg.

That’s when Lola appears. The devil, who goes by the name Applegate, hopes her influence will persuade Joe to come to the dark side.

And whatever Lola wants, Lola gets, right?

Only opening night will tell.

  • CAST: Brad Blanchard, Applegate; Kevin Harger, Joe Boyd; Sonya Blanchard, Meg Boyd; Emily Waggenspack, Sister; Carol Moore, Doris; Tyler Grezaffi, Joe Hardy; Jessica Watson, Gloria Thorpe; Haley Schroeck, Lola; Bill Bozzelle, Van Buren; Gaye Lynn Ambeau, Miss Weston; Ronald Braud, Mr. Welch; Byron Ambeau, Commissioner; Senators: Mitchell Courville, Smokey; Chris Bourgeois, Rocky; Michael Polite, Vernon; Casey Bundick, Eddie; Ensemble: Molly Beth Blanchard, Beau Blanchard, Darian Bartholomew, Annie Dauzat, Tessa Mayon, Kyle Munson, Daniel Bourgeois.
  • ARTISTIC STAFF: Michael Mason, director; Dustin Delaune, assistant director; Jamie Leonard, musical director.