Damn Yankees and The Bacchae: Devil Dogged

In a 1955 musical and a Greek classic, powers from down below get up to no good

Hayes's Applegate has a similarly divided effect. His spoken lines lie flat in the air; his goofy physicality (and his unexpected piano playing) add a touch of the flair the material sometimes lacks. But the evening's pretty much stolen away from the stars when Graff's wide eyes respond as Jackson's warm baritone starts casting its spell. John Rando's production keeps the show's mild comic pizzazz rolling pleasantly along, but the wistful romance is its strongest suit.

Singing Joe Girardi not included:  Cheyenne Jackson and  Jane Krakowski in Damn Yankees
Joan Marcus
Singing Joe Girardi not included: Cheyenne Jackson and Jane Krakowski in Damn Yankees

Details

Damn Yankees
By George Abbott and Douglass Wallop
Songs by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross
Encores! at City Center
131 West 55th Street 212-581-1212

The Bacchae
By Euripides
Adapted by David Greig from a translation by Ian Ruffell
Rose Theater, Lincoln Center
(Closed)

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The Bacchae, alas, displayed no such strengths. There was a neat fire effect, so placed as to make the most important scenes feel anticlimactic. Tiffany seemed to have conceived the staging as a series of effects with no connection to each other, as if Euripides had been writing early treatments for music videos rather than a drama. Such meanings as The Bacchae offers today can't be grasped that glibly. Devil or Dionysus, the theater's god is a tricky fellow to handle.

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