Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Pittsburgh CLO Stages Classic Baseball-Themed Hit "Damn Yankees"

Cast of "Damn Yankees" Credit: Matt Polk


Batter up! Just in time for the thick of baseball season comes the muscular musical about baseball super-fan Joe Boyd. Joe is transformed into a star slugger after he makes a deal with the devil and his sexy associate, Lola, for a chance to lead his home team to victory in the pennant race against the New York Yankees. This 11-time Tony Award®-winner, including Best Musical, puts America’s favorite pastime center stage as Joe swings for the fences before realizing the true worth of the life he’s left behind.

Will he succeed in his race for glory, return home to the life he loves or be lost for all eternity to the devil himself? The winning score by Adler and Ross and a devilish book by George Abbot feature songs "Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets," "(You Gotta Have) Heart" and many more home-run hits! Pittsburgh CLO presents DAMN YANKEES July 5-10 at the Benedum Center.

ABOUT THE CAST
John Bolton (Applegate) co-starred on Broadway last season in Dames at Sea. He is best known for his critically-acclaimed performance in A Christmas Story: The Musical on Broadway and on tour. Broadway credits include Curtains, Spamalot, Contact, Titanic, How to Succeed…  and Damn Yankees.  He just played Vlad in the pre-Broadway tryout of Anastasia and was recently the host of Off-Broadway’s Pageant. He headlined two sold-out NY Pops concerts at Carnegie Hall.  TV: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Blue Bloods, Boardwalk Empire, The Good Wife, Law and Order, All My Children, Show Boat, and four seasons on Gossip Girl.

Ryan Cavanaugh (Smokey) returns to Pittsburgh CLO after appearances in Mary Poppins and Man of La Mancha last summer. As a teenager Cavanaugh was a Pittsburgh CLO Mini Star for several years as well as a part of numerous productions at the Benedum in the Teen Ensemble. Credits: Damn Yankees (Goodspeed Opera House), South Pacific (Asolo Repertory Theatre), Parade (NYC), Damn Yankees (National Tour), The Wild Party (NYC) and more.

Jessica Crouch (Gloria) is making her Pittsburgh CLO debut. This year, Crouch was named NYMF's Next Broadway Sensation.  Her credits include the national tours of We Will Rock You (u/s Killer Queen and Oz) and All Shook Up (u/s Miss Sandra).  Regional highlights:  Hair (Sacramento Music Circus), Vibrata in A Funny Thing…Forum (Bay Street Theatre), and Elle in Legally Blonde (Palace Theatre and PCPA Theatrefest).

Jeffrey Howell (Joe Boyd) was recently seen at the REP in Choir Boy and Souvenir. Some favorite Pittsburgh CLO shows include Man of La Mancha, 42nd Street, Singin’ in the Rain, Sunset Boulevard, Jesus Christ Superstar, Jekyll and Hyde, A Musical Christmas Carol (Bob Cratchit), Beauty and the Beast, Bells are Ringing, Pajama Game, The Most Happy Fella.  Other credits include Candide, Tigers Be Still, Chicago, and Tribute to Lerner and Loewe with Marvin Hamlisch and the PSO.

Benjamin Howes (Welch) recently appeared as Professor Higgins in Pittsburgh Public Theater’s production of My Fair Lady. Originally from Australia, Benjamin has performed on Broadway (Scandalous, Mary Poppins and [title of show]), and Off-Broadway and in National Tours (Mary Poppins, Shrek The Musical). Regional credits include A.R.T., The Old Globe and Asolo Rep, among many others. Film: Easter Mysteries. Television: Law and Order: Criminal Intent, Flight of the Concords, One Life to Live.

Jill Keating (Doris) began her performing career with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.  Turning to her true love, musical theater, she appeared as Roxie (Chicago), Miss Hannigan (Annie) and Winnifred (Once Upon A Mattress) in New York City, Bucks County and Rhode Island.  After touring nationally with the Tony Award®-winning Big River, she returned to Pittsburgh to portray Florence in Souvenir opposite Jeff Howell at the Pittsburgh Playhouse.

Chris Laitta (Sister) CLO Cabaret credits: Girls Only: The Secret Comedy of Women, I Love You You’re Perfect, Now Change, Forbidden Broadway and Forbidden Broadway SVU.  Her favorite credits include: The Diary of Anne Frank (Edith Frank),  Annie (Miss Hannagin), Singin’ in the Rain (Dora Bailey), Fiddler on The Roof (Yenta), Carousel (Carrie), To Kill A Mockingbird (Scout), On The Town (Lucy Schmeeler), and The Sound of Music (Maria). Chris originated the role of Miss Frizzle in the First National Tour of The Magic School Bus Live!

Dallas Padoven (Vernon) returns to Pittsburgh CLO after performing in Singin' in the Rain, Legally Blonde, Footloose, Gypsy and The Wedding Singer. NYC: Wonderful Town. Regional: Hands on a Hardbody (Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati), Cinci King (Playhouse in the Park), Who's Tommy, South Pacific (WVPT).
Paul Palmer (Commissioner) returns to Pittsburgh CLO for his 36th Summer Season, his 60th Pittsburgh CLO production. His previous credits include Pittsburgh CLO’s Kopit & Yeston's Phantom (Minister of Culture),  Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (Preacher), 42nd Street (Abner Dillon), The Student Prince (Herr Rudder), Into the Woods (Cinderella’s Father), West Side Story (Officer Krupke), Oklahoma! (Ike Skidmore), Carousel (David Bascombe), and Funny Girl (Tom Keeney).

Gavan Pamer (Van Buren) Pittsburgh CLO credits include: Gypsy (Mr. Goldstone), Man of La Mancha (Padre), 42nd Street (Andy Lee), Joseph... (Reuben), Carousel (Heavenly Friend), Me and My Girl (Bob Barking), Crazy for You (Custus Perkins), and others. Pittsburgh CLO Cabaret credits include: Forever Plaid (PSM) and My Way (Choreographer). Pittsburgh Public Theatre credits: Guys and Dolls (Benny Southstreet), A Grand Night for Singing (Martin). National Tours: CATS (Mungojerrie), A Chorus Line, 42nd Street. LPPAC credits: Jesus Christ Superstar (Pontius Pilate), White Christmas (Phil Davis), My Way. Pittsburgh Playhouse credits: Big River (Huck Finn), Drood (Deputy) and others. WVPT: Dames at Sea (Hennesy/Captain), Oklahoma! (Will Parker), Geroge M! (George M. Cohan) and others. Temple Theare credit: The Addams Family (Uncle Fester).

John Riddle (Joe Hardy) returns to CLO after making his debut in the 2011 production of Jesus Christ Superstar.  Most recently, he appeared in The Secret Garden 25th Anniversary Concert (dir. Stafford Arima) at Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall.  He made his Broadway debut last spring in Kander and Ebb’s The Visit (dir. John Doyle) opposite Chita Rivera.  National Tour: Evita 1st National.  Regional: Ahrens and Flaherty’s Little Dancer (dir. Susan Stroman) at the Kennedy Center, My Paris (dir. Kathleen Marshall) at The Long Wharf, MUNY. Pittsburgh CLO, Goodspeed. NYC Workshops/Concerts: The Public Theater, The York Theatre Co., The Metropolitan Room, Joe’s Pub. John recently debuted his solo show, Keep It Simple, at Fienstien’s/54 Below and appeared as a soloist in the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra’s Gershwin: An American in Paris.  TV: The Late Show w/ Steven Colbert, One Life to Live.

Avery Smith (Rocky) is a Chicago native and recent graduate of Carnegie Mellon University. For his first year of college he attended The Boston Conservatory where he appeared in The Full Monty. After his first year at the conservatory he decided to further his education at Carnegie Mellon University. While at CMU recent credits include: The Full Monty (Horse), The Lord of the Flies (Piggy) and Hello Again (Father). Other credits include Aida (Mereb), My Son, Pinocchio (Ringleader), Damn Yankees (Applegate), A Little Night Music (Liebeslieder/U.S Fredrick) and Kiss Me, Kate (Paul).

Sarrah Strimel (Lola) Credits include: An American In Paris (Milo u/s), Big Fish (Girl In The Water), Catch
Me If You Can, Rock Of Ages (Constance Sack), Young Frankenstein (Inga u/s), The Producers (Ulla u/s). Pittsburgh CLO credits: Legally Blonde (Brooke Wyndham), Brigadoon (Jane Ashton), Bells are Ringing (Olga), Annie (Mrs. Pugh), Funny Girl (Mimsey), Evita, South Pacific, My Fair Lady, She Loves Me. National Tours: The Producers, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Regional credits: Sweet Charity (Charity), Cats (Bombalurina), , Sammy (Hedda Hopper). TV: Smash, Late Show with David Letterman.

Sally Wilfert (Meg) appeared on Broadway in Assassins, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and King David.  National Tour: The 25thAnnual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Off-Broadway: See Rock City, When We Met (co-collaborator), Make Me A Song, The Prince & The Pauper. Regional: Footloose, Les Misérables, Copacabana (Pittsburgh CLO), Kiss Me Kate (Maltz Jupiter Theatre), The Light in the Piazza (Finger Lakes MTF), LMNOP (Goodspeed), Little Miss Sunshine (LaJolla Playhouse), Marry Me A Little (Cincinnati Playhouse), Elegies (Barrington Stage), The Last Five Years (Hartford Theatreworks).

DAMN YANKEES is complete with a talented ensemble, including Benjamin Bogen, Christopher Campbell, Lucas Fedele, Jeffery Gorti, Mike Greer, Ixchel Cuellar, Justin Lonesome, JJ Neiman, Taylor Warren, Mara Newberry, Carina-Kay Louchiey and Kate Rosenberg.

ABOUT THE CREATIVE TEAM
Charles Repole (Director) has directed numerous productions for Pittsburgh CLO including Gypsy, Legally Blonde – The Musical, 42nd Street, Annie, Jesus Christ Superstar, Curtains, Barry Manilow’s Copacabana, Annie Get Your Gun, Singin’ in the Rain, My Fair Lady, Carousel and Cinderella. His New York City and Broadway directing credits include the highly-acclaimed concert versions of Dubarry Was a Lady, Call Me Madam and the revival of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, among others. As an actor, Mr. Repole has appeared on Broadway in Doubles, Whoopee! and Very Good Eddie, which earned him a Tony Award® nomination and a Theatre World Award. Mr. Repole is presently on the faculty of the Drama, Theatre and Dance Department at Queens College and was the recipient of the 2001 President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Michael Lichtefeld (Choreographer) has choreographed more than a dozen Pittsburgh CLO productions, including Gypsy, 42nd Street, Annie, White Christmas, Funny Girl, La Cage aux Folles and Cinderella. His Broadway choreography credits include Little Women, The Secret Garden, The Sound of Music, Sweeney Todd, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Laughing Room Only and the City Center Encores production of Music in the Air. His choreography has been nominated for Drama Desk, Ovation and Outer Critics Circle Awards. He also earned a 2008 Independent Reviewers of New England (IRNE) Best Choreography Award in 2008 for North Shore Music Theatre’s production of Bye Bye Birdie.

Tom Helm (Music Director) returns for his 21st season with Pittsburgh CLO. His theater credits include the Broadway productions of Souvenir, Les Misérables, Me and My Girl, CATS and Brigadoon. He has also contributed his talents to television programs such as Crazy For You (PBS) and the Today Show. Mr. Helm has conducted at Radio City Music Hall, Paper Mill Playhouse and many other regional and national theaters.

Ken Billington (Lighting Designer) has 98 Broadway shows to his credit including such theater milestones as Sweeney Todd and the current production of Chicago. Many touring productions over the years including Chicago (worldwide), Riverdance (lighting supervisor), Fiddler on the Roof (from 1976 to 2012), White Christmas, 9 to 5, High School Musical, The Drowsy Chaperone and the current tour of Annie to name a few. Other projects include Hugh Jackman in Concert, from 1979 to 2006 the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular and for Seaworld Orlando, San Diego and San Antonio "The Shamu Shows." Ken’s many awards include the Tony, NY Drama Desk and Outer Critics awards, the Ace Award for Television Lighting and the Lumen for his architectural work.

HISTORY OF THE SHOW

DAMN YANKEES was born from the collaboration of George Abbott, Douglass Wallop, Richard Adler and Jerry Ross. The musical opened on Broadway on May 5, 1955, starring Steven Douglas as Joe Hardy. The production garnered eight Tony Award® nominations, including Best Musical.
Following its Broadway debut, Warner Bros. adapted the musical from stage to screen. The film starred Tab Hunter as Joe and Gwen Verdon as Lola. The film was nominated for an Academy Award® as well as a Golden Globe® for Best Motion Picture Musical.

DAMN YANKEES is adapted from the novel "The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant" by Douglass
Wallop in 1955. The Broadway revival opened in 1994, directed by Jack O'Brien and starred Victor Garber as Applegate, with Jerry Lewis succeeding Garber as he made his Broadway debut as Applegate during the revival. Finally, George Abbott directed a film version of the musical in 1958 with nearly all the original cast members reprising their roles, including Gwen Verdon.

ABOUT THE ORIGINAL CREATIVE TEAM

George Abbott (Director and Book) collaborated with Douglass Wallop to write DAMN YANKEES. Abbott was considered by many to be the history of Broadway in the 1950s and he garnered respect around the nation for his work with The Pajama Game (1954), Once Upon a Mattress (1959) and over 100 additional productions. He had a multifaceted career in which he acted as a theater director, producer, playwright and screenwriter.

Douglass Wallop (Book) fell in love with baseball when he was only five years old after his father took him to a Washington Senators baseball game. This inspiring event led to his novel entitled "The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant," off of which he based the book for Damn Yankees. Wallop won a Tony Award® in 1956 for his work.

Richard Adler and Jerry Ross (Music and Lyrics) were a dynamic duo during the 1950s as they collaborated to produce music and lyrics Damn Yankees and The Pajama Game. Adler also worked on music for plays and musicals such as The Gift of the Magi and Music Is, while Ross composed for Archie Bleyer in Hernando’s Hideaway and Rosemary Clooney in Hey There.

Bob Fosse (Choreographer) was the creative genius behind the dazzling dances in All That Jazz, Cabaret and Chicago. Fosse was famous for his provocative, vaudeville-style choreography that harkened the humor of Charlie Chaplin. He took home a collective nine Tony Awards® for his work in The Pajama Game, Damn Yankees, Redhead, Little Me, Pippin, Dancin’ and Big Deal.

Performance Schedule for Damn Yankees
Tuesday July 5  at 8 p.m.
Wednesday July 6 at 8 p.m.
Thursday July 7 at  8 p.m.
Friday July 8 at 8 p.m.
Saturday July 9 at 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.
Sunday July 10 at  2 p.m. & 7p m.

TICKETS
Tickets start at $35 and are available online at pittsburghCLO.org, by calling 412-456-6666 or at the Box Office at Theater Square. Groups of 10 or more enjoy exclusive discounts and specialty packages. Call our Group Sales Hotline at 412-325-1582 for more information. Visit pittsburghCLO.org for further information

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