Ireton presents ‘Damn Yankees’

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The spring musical is a long-standing tradition of the Theatre Arts Program at Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria. After hours of rehearsing, the cast performed “Damn Yankees” to packed houses the final two weekends in March.

First produced on Broadway in 1955, “Damn Yankees” is a comedic musical set in Washington, D.C., and embraces the American culture of baseball. With the New York Yankees dominating the baseball field, the “average” Joe Boyd is offered to hit for the Washington Senators and play in the Major Leagues.

Carl Undersander as Joe Boyd and Natalie Turkevich as his wife, Meg Boyd, were excited to take the stage in their first starring roles. “Carl is fun to work with,” said Natalie. “Even though he’s new to the program, he’s a good performer and learns fast.”

The show is full of energetic singing and dancing.  Gabby Baniqued, lead actress and choreographer, has been working on these lively numbers. “One song, ‘Shoeless Joe from Hannibal, Mo,’ has a lot of jumps and flips,” she said. “At one point, we even throw a freshman, Bobby Sweeney, in the air.”

The set design for “Damn Yankees” has a different look than previous musicals. “Damn Yankees” is using a “wagon set” where every set piece is on wheels. “There is way more to designing than just the physical set,” said set designer Sam Scalsky. “We also have to design the lighting, sound, construction and paint.”

The set designers run a biannual “Tech Week” leading up to the show in order to finalize all the pieces they are responsible for and ensure everything runs smoothly. With this year’s musical, there were additional rehearsals prior to Tech Week, which Scalsky said is because, “We need to have the set completely done by Tech Week so we can devote it to rehearsals and practicing scene changes.”

The stage isn’t the only place with stars — many students worked behind the scenes to ensure the success of “Damn Yankees.” The costume and makeup department plays a big role in the audience’s relationship with the characters. While actors are memorizing their lines, costumers are reading the script to analyze the characters’ personalities and design costumes that best portray them to the audience.

“We choose colors that evoke certain emotions for different characters and scenes,” said costumer and makeup artist Sophia DeLoatche.

Backstage, theater director Frank Shutts and theater teacher Joanna Henry worked hard with everyone before the curtain rose.

Theater student and actor Isaiah Brooks said that Henry is “really dedicated to theater and has a lot of passion for what she does.” 

 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017

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