June 22 July 8, 2006
Book by Douglass
Wallop and George Abbott
Lyrics and Music by Richard
Adler and Jerry Ross
Originally Staged by George
Choreographed by Bob Fosse
Based on the book The Year
the Yankees Lost the Pennant by Douglass Wallop
Opened at 46th Street theater
on Broadway May 5, 1955 and ran 1019 performances
DAMN YANKEES is the only successful
musical comedy built around the American national pastime
of baseball--the baseball story neatly combined with the
age-old Faust theme. Joe Hardy is a middle-aged, happily
married baseball fan. He is found in his living-room watching
a game over the television. Joe is in the depths of despair,
for his favorite team, the Washington Senators, seems
incapable of getting a winning stride. Suddenly the devil,
in the person of Applegate, visits him with a proposition:
Would Joe be willing to trade his soul if the Senators
won not only the pennant but also the World Series? Joe
is more than willing; he has never put much stock in his
soul in the first place. Suddenly Joe sheds years. More
than that, he has magically acquired singular powers as
a baseball player. Meanwhile, Van Buren, manager of the
Senators, tries to build up his team's morale ("Heart").
It is a hopeless job, for the Senators can hardly expect
that their new rookie, Joe Hardy, could be of any use
in lifting them from their habitual doldrums. But Joe
proves the spark plug necessary to send the team flying
at full speed for victory after victory.
Things may be rosy for the team, but
Joe is in black despair. He misses his wife, Meg, sorely.
His conscience also bothers him: he has disappeared from
home without leaving a clue to his whereabouts. He tries
to lift his spirits by renting a room in her house just
to be near her. But this only tantalizes him further,
since he is unable to tell Meg that he is really her husband,
alive and well.
Applegate, alias the devil, once again
steps into the picture. In an effort to win Joe completely
away from his wife, Applegate enlists the services of
Lola, a beautiful witch, to capture Joe's heart. Lola
coquettishly tells Joe that she is in the habit of getting
anything she goes after ("Whatever Lola Wants").
She then performs a seductive mambo ("Who's Got the
The Washington Senators, with Joe as
star, come out on top in their league. The World Series
is at hand. Despite the team's success, and despite Lola's
wiles, Joe misses his wife and wants to get back to her.
Suddenly he realizes that if he does not play in the World
Series the Senators cannot win; and if the Senators cannot
win the World Series his bargain with the devil is broken.
Thus Joe manages to keep his soul, lose Lola, return once
again to his wife and once again assume the unexciting
identity of a middle-aged baseball fan.