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Terrific DeBruyne, Cuppone, and Hissong in “Damn Yankees” Encore Theater, Dexter. October 22, 2010

Posted by ronannarbor in Ann Arbor, musical theater, Theatre.
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This isn’t really a review. I just wanted to take a moment to say that I had the opportunity to see “Damn Yankees” at Encore Musical Theater in Dexter last night.

I thought special mention must be made of the excellent work that Steve DeBruyne (Joe), MaryJo Cuppone (Lola), and Tobin Hissong (Applegate) turn in here. Steve has become an Encore favorite with a strong voice and terrific acting skills, and charming stage presence. MaryJo continues with a string of entertaining performances in lead female roles wearing jumpsuits (wink, wink…sorry, MaryJo, I had to!) and she makes a terrific Lola, even if the show is cleaned up to within an inch of Playhouse Disney-ism…and Tobin Hissong creates a droll and nuanced Applegate that is hilarious to watch throughout.

Terrific work, folks!

Damn Yankees strikes out at Croswell Opera House (Review) August 22, 2010

Posted by ronannarbor in musical theater, Theatre.
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In the past, Croswell has been the sole not-fully Equity regional theater that I have reviewed in this blog. I do so for a reason — they quite simply present the best musical theatre being produced on a non-professional (or educational, read University of Michigan) basis in the area.

I can’t do a full review for Damn Yankees because I left before intermission. This is sloppy work, and screams community theatre from the getgo. The continuity mistakes in turning the Washington Senators into the Detroit Tigers are consistent and the concept here does not work. I’ve seen this concept work once at the Huntington Playhouse in Bay Village, OH many years ago. It doesn’t work here in Adrian.

Costuming is poor, the sets passable at best, and the production numbers have no life. The (very small) men’s ensemble tries. It tries hard. It does not succeed. The women fare better overall. ┬áThe sound, as it has been all summer, was poor.

The show comes to life only when Mark DiPietro appears, He is superb as Applegate. Sorry, Mark — I couldn’t make it through this (long) show.

Damn Yankees strikes out. It’s a cliche. But its an apt cliche for this production. Looking forward to future performances at Croswell, but I can’t recommend this one.