Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Damn Yankees

I love Damn Yankees but I’ll admit it’s oddly structured. Who is it about? Joe and Meg are technically the protagonists as their marriage is at stake, but Applegate (The Devil) and Lola drive the plot and get the best songs.  The baseball team gets the dances while their quest to beat the Yankees and win the pennant is kept offstage. The 1994 revisal adjusted this by focusing on “the big game” in the finale.

Gwen Verdon’s Lola was unquestionably the heart and… soul… of the original production. You can play Lola as a comical vamp and get laughs but Verdon did more.  She’d grown tired of the vamp act. Joe’s initial resistance made it fun for her again but his sincerity made her drop the mask. She never forgot that she  was “the ugliest woman in Providence, Rhode Island” wearing a supernatural disguise. It gave the breezy musical comedy some pathos.

Of course modern directors can also play up the homoeroticism. That’s okay too.

No comments:

Post a Comment