Accardi, Guarasci, DiBenedetto and Perez pull out all the stops with this one
BY GEORGE J. DACRE
With an onstage screen, strobe lights, special effects, a full eight piece orchestra, popcorn, hot dogs and cracker jacks, the Antrim Players have gone where no community theatre has gone before.
The result is a smash musical about a middle-aged baseball fanatic who trades his soul to the devil for a chance to lead the Washington Senators (circa 1950s) to win the American League pennant over the New York “Damn” Yankees. Antrim’s 75-year-old playhouse is transformed into Griffith Baseball Park and with the use of the special screen, baseball scenes of long ago are ingrained in the production of “Damm Yankees” in a very professional and intriguing way.
You have to go and see this one to believe it, especially if you are a baseball fan. Aging Joe Boyd (Joe DiBartolo) agrees with the Devil, Mr. Applegate (Randy Accardi), to give up his soul to become Joe Hardy who can sock baseballs for a mile and can lead the humble Washington ball club to many wins. “Damn Yankees” catches the spirit of the American male baseball nut and sometimes their long suffering wives (though nowadays there are many all-out female baseball fans).
The score of this classic that opened on Broadway in May of 1955, is just great with “You Gotta Have Heart,” “Whatever Lola Wants” and “Those Were The Good Old Days.” It is ably performed by a fine cast including DiBartolo, a new find, and Brendan Rooney as Joe Hardy, hailing from Montvale, New Jersey and performing in his first musical out of high school. Brendan has a strong voice and great stage presence. He and Stephanie Vitale (remember her as Rizzo in Grease at Antrim?) make great music together. Vitale is especially effective in the famed “Whatever Lola Wants” number.
Randy Accardi is the Devil in this show and he plays Mr. Applegate to the hilt, scoring with the number “Those Were The Good Old Days.” Maggie Nelson as Meg Boyd, Joe’s wife makes her debut at Antrim memorable and the rest of the cast is well-selected and performs topflight. Peter Solari, as Coach Van Buren of the Washington Senators puts in a strong performance.
DiBartolo and Maggie Nelson as Joe and Meg Boyd are very strong in their roles and the climax of this great musical is one you won’t want to miss. I rate Damn Yankees at Antrim Playhouse in Wesley Hills Four out of Four Stars!!!!
“Damn Yankees” is being produced by Doreen DiBenedetto and Jim Guarasci. Directed and choreographed by Randy Accardi with Andres Perez, musical director with his mom, Rosalinda on the keyboards. Catch this great show with its great array of area musical talent!!! Tickets at antrimplayhouse.com.
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