Those Damn Yankees

By Bryant Million: Freedom Newspapers

A classic Broadway musical comes to Clovis when Clovis Community College presents “Damn Yankees.” The play opens July 27.

Pat McDaniel, co-owner of McDaniel’s Furniture in Clovis, plays Joe Boyd, a middle-aged baseball fanatic who trades his soul to the devil for a chance to lead his favorite team to victory against the New York Yankees. Boyd’s dreams are fulfilled when he finds himself leading the team in both hitting and pitching, but at a price.

Christy Mendoza, CCC cultural arts director who also teaches theater classes at the college, is the play’s director. She said the musical appeals to all ages and has something for everyone.

“It’s a classic American play based on the tale of Faust and the devil,” Mendoza said. “It has everything you need, including baseball, great songs and dancing.”

McDaniel said he is excited about the upcoming performances because he hasn’t been involved in a play since he was in college at New Mexico State University.

“I think it’s a community effort,” he said. “We’re all giving 110 percent so that the play will come through. Everyone’s trying and working really hard and having fun at the same time, and I think it will show in the performances.”

The play’s cast also includes CCC students, high school students as well as such Clovis community members as plumber Chris Cummins, local golf pro Perry Jackson and Elvis impersonator Mike Tafoya, according to a CCC news release. Jennifer Diane Brandon plays the seductive Lola.

Mendoza said the cast and crew have been rehearsing since June 5 and will continue to do so until opening day.

“We’ve got a great group of people. It’s probably the most diverse cast I’ve ever worked with,” she said. “We’ve taken nontheater people who’ve had no experience in acting and in just two months have transformed them into Broadway-style performers.”

Based on the book “The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant” by Douglass Wallop, the original play opened on Broadway May 5, 1955, and ran 1,019 performances, according to the press release. It won seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Actor and Actress, and Best Choreography.