Compiled By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
The 67th Music Circus season continues with “Damn Yankees,” one of the most enduring Broadway musicals.
The production opens at the Music Circus Theater in Sacramento on Aug. 8 and features a score by legendary composers Richard Adler and Jerry Ross and a cast that includes a number of veterans of New York City’s Broadway stages.
This will be the seventh time the popular Faustian themed baseball musical has been produced at Music Circus and just its second appearance in the Wells Fargo Pavilion.
Previous Music Circus productions were in 1957, 1959, 1978, 1985, 1997 and 2003.
“Damn Yankees” is a musical comedy in which mega-fan Joe Boyd trades his soul to lead his beloved Washington Senators to victory over the New York Yankees.
Watch Joe Boyd transform into the Senators’ star player Joe Hardy and eventually realize the true worth of the life he left behind.
It’s a devilishly clever, multi Tony Award-winning Best Musical that any baseball fan will appreciate; popular favorite songs include “Heart” and the iconic “Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets.”
Appearing in the role of Mr. Applegate in “Damn Yankees” is Jason Graae, who played the “Cat in the Hat” in last summer’s Music Circus production of “Seussical.” He has performed in numerous Broadway shows including “Falsettos,” “Snoopy!”, and the original cast of “A Grand Night for Singing,” as well as the Music Circus productions of “Brigadoon,” “Sugar” and “The Music Man.”
Playing the vixen Lola is Lindsay Roginski, who returns to Music Circus after appearing as Roxie Hart in “Chicago,” a role she has played on Broadway and on tour. She has also appeared in the dance show “Heat Wave: The Jack Cole Project” and as a principal singer in Steve Wynn’s “ShowStoppers” in Las Vegas.
In the role of Meg Boyd is Lynne Wintersteller, who was last summer’s Dolly Levi in “Hello, Dolly!”, was an original Broadway cast member of “A Grand Night for Singing,” and has extensive regional, touring and off-Broadway credits including “Shear Madness” and the First National Tour of “Sister Act “as Mother Superior.
Zach Trimmer, making his Music Circus debut as Joe Hardy, toured with “Avenue Q” and “Hairspray,” performed as Tony in “West Side Story” with both the John W. Engeman Theater and Westchester Broadway Theatre, and as Jimmy Smith in “Thoroughly Modern Millie” with Drayton Entertainment in Canada.
Veteran Broadway actor Stephen Berger, whose Broadway experience includes roles in “Kinky Boots,” “he Pajama Game,” “nto the Woods,” “The Dinner Party,” “True West,” “Laughter on 23rd Street” and “Little Me,” joins the cast as Van Buren. He has previously appeared at Music Circus in “My Fair Lady,” “Brigadoon,” “Crazy for You” and “Can-Can.”
The role of Gloria Thorpe will be played by Danette Holden, whose Broadway credits include the revival of “Annie,” in which she also toured, “Shrek the Musicall” and “Laughing Room Only.”
Playing Welch is Music Circus favorite Ron Wisniski, whose wide-ranging work here includes last season’s “Cabaret” and “Nice Work If You Can Get It,” as well as “The Little Mermaid,” “Les Misérables,” “Oliver! “ and “Spamalot.” He also has extensive touring and regional theatre productions to his name.
Justin Keyes, playing Smokey, performed in the national tours of “The 25th” “Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” and “Mary Poppins,” and appeared on Broadway in “The Apple Tree” and “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.”
Making his Music Circus debut as Rocky, Dallas Padoven most recently appeared as Diesel in Media Theatre’s production of “West Side Story,” and has performed in numerous New York and regional productions including “Shrek the Musical,” “Damn Yankees” and “The Wedding Singer.”
Playing the role of Joe Boyd is Jeff Howell, who has performed in more than 80 productions at Pittsburgh CLO, including “Man of La Mancha,” “42nd Street,” “Sunset Boulevard,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “The Pajama Game” and “Beauty and the Beast,” as well as on television, in films and with symphony orchestras.
Sister will be played by Mary Jo Mecca who, in addition to numerous film and television appearances, has performed in regional theatre productions across the country and Music Circus productions including “Mary Poppins,” “My Fair Lady,” “Big River” and last season’s “Hello, Dolly!"
Returning for her tenth Music Circus season to play Doris is Kim Arnett ,who has appeared on Broadway in “Peter Pan” and toured nationally with “Mamma Mia!” and “Peter Pan” her Music Circus credits include “The Producers,” “Annie Get Your Gun,” “The Little Mermaid,” “The Music Man,” “The Wizard of Oz,” “South Pacific,” “Brigadoon “and many others.
The cast for “Damn Yankees” also includes the following ensemble members: Lindsey Bracco, back for her second season with Music Circus, having performed in last season’s productions of “Legally Blonde,” “Nice Work If You Can Get It,” “Hello, Dolly!,” “Seussical” and “Cabaret.”
Music Circus regular Doug Carfrae, appeared in last season’s production of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and on Broadway in the original production of “Music Is.”
Meghan Faddis, recently performed in both “Beauty and the Beast” and “On the Town” as part of her debut season at Music Circus.
Devon Hadsell, appeared last season as Florika in “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and in previous season’s productions of “Bye Bye Birdie “ and “Hair.”
Rashaan James II, back at Music Circus after performing in last season’s production of “Nice Work If You Can Get It” and in the national touring productions of “42nd Street,” “South Pacific” and “Dirty Dancing.”
Eric Anthony Johnson recently appeared in last season’s productions of “Nice Work If You Can Get It,” “Hello, Dolly!,” “Legally Blonde,” “Cabaret “and “Seussical,” and in the national touring companies of “West Side Story” and “Miss Saigon.”
Making his Music Circus debut is Justin Keats who has performed on Broadway in Cirque du Soleil’s “Paramour” and at regional theatres including La Jolla Playhouse and Pioneer Theater.
Joe Komara appeared on Broadway in the 2007 revival of “Grease” and on television in “General Hospital.”
Also making his Music Circus debut is Adam Lendermon for a fourth season with Music Circus. He appeared in last season’s productions of “Legally Blonde” and “Hello, Dolly!,” off-Broadway in “The Anthem” and in the national touring productions of “Cats” and “West Side Story."
California native Dennis O’Bannion, previously appeared at Music Circus in “Big River,” among others, and on Broadway in “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas.”
Cooper Taggard, has extensive regional theatre experience, including performing at Goodspeed Musicals, Tuacahn Center for the Arts and the Human Race Theatre Company.
Connor Wince is returning after performing last season at Music Circus in “Legally Blonde” and “Hello, Dolly!”
Jessica Wockenfuss, played Adella in the national touring production of “The Little Mermaid.”
She has worked at various well-respected regional theatres including Pittsburg CLO, Kansas City Starlight Theatre and Theatre By The Sea.
“Damn Yankees” is directed by Charles Repole, who returns to Music Circus after directing” Nice Work If You Can Get It” last summer and “42nd Street" in 2010.
His experience also includes work on Broadway and off-Broadway for the prestigious City Center Encores! Series, Carnegie Hall, the Chicago Humanities Festival and the Kennedy Center concert series.
In addition, Repole is an accomplished on-stage performer, where he appeared before Broadway and off-Broadway audiences.
Choreographer is Michael Lichtefeld, who also returns to Music Circus after choreographing “Nice Work If You Can Get It” last summer and “42nd Street” in 2010.
His choreographic work includes six Broadway musicals, seven off-Broadway musicals and nine national/international tours.
Musical Director Craig Barna has worked on a number of Music Circus productions including “Hello, Dolly!" and “Nice Work If You Can Get It” in the 2016 season, and has conducted national tours of “Grease,” “Singin’ in the Rain,” “Cats,” “Peter Pan”and others. Barna is also a prolific composer and arranger whose recordings for Jay Records are available worldwide.
Tickets for “Damn Yankees” start at $45 and are available by phone at (916) 557-1999, online at www.tickets.com, or in person at the Wells Fargo Pavilion Box Office, 1419 H Street in Sacramento.
Evening performances are Tuesday through Saturday, August 8 – 12, at 7:30 p.m.
Matinee performances are Thursday, August 10 and Saturday, August 12 at 2:00 p.m. and Sunday, August 13 at 3:00 p.m.
For more information, visit www.SacramentoMusicCircus.com.
Music Circus is produced under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director/COO Scott Klier and Artistic Consultant Glenn.
Editor's Note: Information and photo used in this feature provided by The Sacramento Music Circus publicity Department.