Today’s news:

WAY OFF BROADWAY

’Damn Yankees’ opens in Brooklyn

for The Brooklyn Paper

Once again, Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts is bringing Broadway hits to our fair borough with its Broadway Sundays series. Save the dates of these three afternoons of extravagant productions at affordable prices.

The season begins on Nov. 11 with Candlewood International’s presentation of the 1955 Broadway hit "Damn Yankees." Based on Douglass Wallop’s novel "The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant," this baseball fantasy is about a frustrated baseball fan named Joe Boyd who sells his soul to the Devil for a chance to lead his favorite team, the Washington Senators, to a victorious pennant race against the New York Yankees.

Transformed into a younger, more talented version of himself, Joe accomplishes his goal and tries to get out of his bargain, but finds he first has to deal with Lola, the Devil’s star seductress.

With book by George Abbott and Wallop, and music and lyrics by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross, the musical comedy ran for 1,019 performances and contributed several standards, such as "Whatever Lola Wants" and "You Gotta Have Heart," to the world of popular song.

John Dodge, who heads Candlewood International, told GO Brooklyn that "Damn Yankees" was put together in Sarasota, Fla., and began touring in September, with stops in Hot Springs, Ark., Edmund, Okla., and Rutherford, N.J.

The production stars Nick Darrow as Young Joe. The son of an actor father and a former Rockette mother, Darrow was raised in Queens and bred for the stage.

"There was no escaping it for me," says Darrow, even though his parents hoped he would follow in the footsteps of that other famous Darrow - Clarence.

A recent graduate from the University of Florida, Darrow appeared in a number of local Sunshine State productions - as Cain in "Children of Eden," Riff in "West Side Story" and a messenger in "1776." It was in this last production that he met Robert Turoff, the director of "Damn Yankees," who was the director of "1776" and played the role of Ben Franklin.

Darrow says "Damn Yankees" has a "fantastic cast" and "each person in the chorus is as strong as our leads." He has also enjoyed working with choreographer Dwayne Barrett, whose work he calls "phenomenal."

Candlewood has given "Damn Yankees" full-scale costuming and staging with multiple drops, a complete house, dugout and locker room.

As for Darrow, he’s particularly happy to be in New York again because when this tour is over, he will be returning for good to pursue his career in the Big Apple.

Broadway Sundays continue on Feb. 17 with "Five Guys Named Moe," produced by Irving Street Repertory.

"Five Guys Named Moe" is a revue of the works of Louis Jordan, a 1940s bandleader who pioneered a raucous and wildly popular mixture of jazz, blues and down-to-earth jive-talking. The music of singer-saxophonist Jordan and his Tympany Five, called "jump blues" or "jumpin’ jive," served as a precursor to the rhythm and blues and rock ’n’ roll of the ’50s.

"Five Guys Named Moe" features Big Moe (Charles R. King Jr.), Little Moe (Herb Foster Quebec), Eat Moe (A. Miles Simmons), Four-Eyed Moe (Ron Lucas) and No Moe (Jason Weston), who harmonize, croon, wail, tap and joke their way through 27 Louis Jordan hits. Numbers include the sentimental "Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying," the spirited "Let the Good Times Roll" and the catchy "Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby?"

Candlewood International returns on April 7 with the closing production, "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying."

Whether Brooklynites are fans of baseball or business, satire or sentimentality, they’ll find something to cheer for in Brooklyn Center’s Broadway Sundays.

 

All Broadway Sundays performances begin at 2 pm at Brooklyn College’s Walt Whitman Theater, one block from the junction of Flatbush and Nostrand avenues. Individual tickets are $32 and $37. Brooklyn Center for the Performing Art’s tickets are available at the box office at (718) 951-4500 or through Ticketmaster (212) 307-7171.

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