Review submitted by Zoe Benton of Tuscarora High School.
Would you sell your soul to the devil to help your favorite baseball team win? Joe Boyd would, becoming the new, younger Joe Hardy as he joins the Washington Senators thanks to Mr. Applegate, the devil incarnate. Our Lady of Good Counsel’s production of “Damn Yankees,” a fantastic, fun filled, Faustian musical by George Abbott, hit a home run for the audience. The show was developed from Douglass Wallop’s book, “The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant.” Marvelous performances from every energetic actor were flowing through the air of the theater.
Hypnotizing vocals and character portrayals from the leads and supporting actors were mesmerizing from start to finish. The charm and innocence of Joe Hardy (Payton O’Keefe) made the audience fall in love with him. His foil, Mr. Applegate (Robert Liniak), had impressively clean movements and comedic timing from the mockery of Lola in the locker room to the perfectly timed snaps of his power demonstration. The temptress, Lola (Eleanor Whalen), showed the sleek and flowing movements that one should look for in a character such as this. Her chemistry with Mr. Applegate and Joe Hardy felt genuine and positive. However, this show would not be the same without the heartfelt performance of Meg Boyd (Emma Tarquinio.) Her energy made the audience miss Joe Boyd (Dylan Nguyen) as much as she.
Coach Van Buren (Ian Coursey), and the baseball team could pass as a true team as their family-like relationship warmed the audience’s hearts. The dancing breaks were not unnoticed with cartwheels and splits behind players sliding across the stage. What does every famous team have?: a dazzling dancing assortment of fan clubs. These lively mambo dancers and costumed baseball players filled with excitement for the famed Joe Hardy.
The tech and crew never missed a beat. Mr. Applegate’s abilities flipped on the lights, which changed based on the mood of the scene, with a single suave snap. The skill and timing involved in this stunt is awesome. With lighting such as this and the enclosing red tones set by Lola, the stage became a new world for viewers to observe. Spotlights moved at the same pace as the actors, creating smooth and connected scenes. The sets for this production not only fit the time period and contrasted with fantastic costumes, but also moved and turned in all directions to fit the different settings of the show. This was an impressive use of materials and space, while not coming across as over the top.
Our Lady of Good Counsel performed with an encapsulating balance of innocence and hellishness. The makeup was beautifully unnoticeable, something one should look for in a well-done makeup job. Every actor held strong throughout the entire show, even the back ensemble was alive. Such a stark contrast in characters requires talent to keep in one cohesive show, a feat that this production accomplished successfully. This school did an outstanding job and is deserving of all the praises they have or will receive.
The performance reviewed was from Saturday, 03/09/2019.
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