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East 14th - 2008 - Off-Broadway


New World Stages Stage V

(New York, NY)
340 West 50th Street
by Kristin Salaky - July 14, 2008
Perched above the stage in their private bleacher section, just beyond an outfield fence graffitied with the musical's title, conductor Rob Berman and his 25 piece Encores! Summer Stars orchestra might be mistaken for the conservatory cousins of Brooklyn's legendary Dodger Sym-Phony. But instead of serenading umpires from the Ebbet's Field grandstands with double forte arrangements of 'Three Blind Mice,' the musicians of director John Rando's cracker-jack production of Damn Yankees - a 1955 musical that opened in the early weeks of the baseball season that saw Brooklyn beat the Yankees for the borough's only World Series championship - treats 21st Century audiences to that thrilling sound of a Broadway Golden Age orchestra. The detailed movements and textures contained within Don Walker's orchestrations, whether giving comic accents to the pepper-upper 'Heart,' setting a satirical mood for the pseudo-vamp 'Whatever Lola Wants' or lifting a slow ballad like 'A Man Doesn't Know' with phrases that search the mind of the singing character, help bring majestic touches of artistry to this rousing vaudeville disguised as a book musical.