|Nancy Anderson and the ensemble|
|Christopher Charles Wood and Chryssie Whitehead|
Director Mark S. Hoebee has assembled a pretty good cast for the show. Howard McGillin is having a devilish time as Applegate, the devil, and Joseph Kalinski and Patti Cohenour are touching as the older Joe and his wife Meg. Christopher Charles Wood is making a very good Paper Mill debut as Joe Hardy. He looks exactly like a young ball player, has a rich and pure singing voice and perfectly delivers in the more dramatic acting moments when he is with Cohenour. The two of them have several touching scenes together. Nancy Anderson is fun and brassy as the ballsy female reporter Gloria but Chryssie Whitehead as Lola, the femme fatale the devil calls upon to attempt to keep Joe's soul his, is just ok. Whitehead is a lovely and talented girl but lacks the sexual charisma necessary to make the character what she needs to be. She is too much of a "good girl" even when she is trying to be bad. And while she is a very competent dancer she isn't really given a lot of choreography to show off what she is capable of.
Sets by Rob Bissinger, costumes by Alejo Vietti and lighting by Tom Sturge are the usual top notch elements that the Paper Mill is known for and I did like how the ensemble cast looked like they could actually be baseball players instead of being cast with guys with your typical Broadway dancer builds. Having a short and slightly stocky guy who is the catcher on the team dance and jump in line with his fellow more athletically inclined teammates provides a huge element of fun to the show.
Damn Yankees plays through April 1st.
Official Paper Mill Playhouse Site
Highlights from the production: