ARHS students to perform “Damn Yankees”
By Sue Wambolt, Contributing Writer
Northborough – On the heels of the Red Sox World Series Win, the Algonquin Regional High School (ARHS) drama department is well into rehearsals for its upcoming production of “Damn Yankees.” The musical comedy, which made its Broadway premiere in 1955, is based on the novel, “The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant,” by Douglas Wallop. The play features music and lyrics by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross.
Over 70 students auditioned for the performance which is being produced and directed by teacher Tom Alera. Currently in his 15th year at ARHS, Alera teaches Russian/European Literature, AP English, British Literature, and American Literature.
Alera chose Damn Yankees because, he said, “I liked the message about baseball as a metaphor for our lives – what's important to us and what we sacrifice sometimes to get what we want. ”
Alera said he also thought that if he could convince members of the actual Algonquin baseball team to play baseball players in the show, then it would be a great “first.” It would also, he felt, open the doors to the world of theatre for a generation of students who may have had little or no experience with it.
Much to his delight, Alera was able to recruit some players thus connecting theatre and sports.
“It has worked out with great luck,” he said, “because I have quite a few members of the actual Algonquin baseball team in this show and it is something to see! I have actual baseball players who live and play the sport so they know the feeling of winning, losing, working hard and practicing the skills and abilities that the game takes. All that comes with them on the stage.”
According to Alera, the cast of 53 – both thespians and athletes- has been dancing, singing, and working non-stop. The group has both impressed and surprised him.
“It has been the best surprise I'se had at Algonquin,” he said. “These kids are really impressing me. I always try to incorporate sports kids into the productions and each year it gets better and better. Sports and theatre have a lot in common- not many people realize that.”
Alera hopes to make the auditorium (at times) resemble a baseball stadium, with students selling popcorn and peanuts up and down the aisles. He also hopes to get a hot dog truck outside before the show and during intermission.
“Give us a buck; we will throw you a bag of peanuts or popcorn or some candy,” Alera quipped. “I want the feeling of the game to be throughout the theater.”
Coordinating athletic schedules, academics, and a rehearsal schedule can be daunting, he acknowledged but “the magic of the game and the magic of the theatre make it worth all the sweat and tears.”
Damn Yankees will be performed Thursday, Dec. 5, Friday, Dec. 6 and Saturday, Dec. 7 in the ARHS auditorium. Tickets may be purchased for $10 each and may be purchased in the ARHS main office as well as online at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information visit the ARHS Damn Yankees Facebook page.
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