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Feb. 17, 2012

Cast list released for DWU production of ‘Damn Yankees!’

Brooke Warne, of Rapid City, and Jeff Holstein, of Riverside, Calif., rehearse a scene for “Damn Yankees!” Warne plays the Devil’s seductress assistant, Lola, and Holstein plays Joe Hardy, the 22-year-old, home-run-hitting alter ego of Joe Boyd, a man so in love with the game of baseball, he’s willing to strike a deal with the devil in order to play once again.

MITCHELL – The team’s been chosen and the line-up posted – the cast list for “Damn Yankees!” is set.

Dakota Wesleyan University will produce “Damn Yankees!” at the end of March, the college’s second musical since bringing musical theatre back to the stage last year with “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” which sold out almost each night.

Performance dates are 7:30 p.m., March 29-31, and 2 p.m., April 1, in the Sherman Center. Tickets sales will begin on March 7 and will be available at County Fair Food Store and on the DWU campus through Diana Goldammer in the Rollins Campus Center.

The story begins when middle-aged baseball fanatic Joe Boyd makes a deal too good to be true with Mr. Applegate, who promises him a chance to play ball for the Washington Senators. Joe finds himself in a younger body and leads the pathetic team in a winning streak. Life seems pretty sweet until he realizes there is no one to share it with, and Joe has to figure out a way back to his old life. The Devil sends Lola to “convince” Joe that he’s made the right choice, and “what Lola wants, Lola gets” – but the Devil might be surprised that Lola’s gone soft.

“I truly believe people will have as much fun with ‘Damn Yankees!’ as they did with ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,’ ” said Dan Miller, DWU theatre director. “With ‘Damn Yankees!’ you have a play about baseball players, the devil and magic, and it’s done with great songs. You can’t go wrong.”

The cast list includes 42 actors, including 15 children.

Jeff Holstein, of Riverside, Calif., will play Joe Hardy, the 22-year-old, home-run-hitting alter ego of Joe Boyd; Joe Boyd’s middle-aged self is played by Mitchell community member Roger Allen; DWU’s own Monty Bohrer, associate professor of business, is stepping into his first DWU musical role as Mr. Applegate, the Devil in disguise; and Brooke Warne, of Rapid City, is Lola, the Devil’s seductress assistant.

College is a chance for self-discovery, as much as it for education. Warne is a nursing student at DWU and has been active in Wesleyan Choir, the Highlanders and weekly worship services, also various DWU talent competitions and Bible studies. Despite her musical background and campus involvement, she hasn’t performed on stage through DWU or the local Mitchell Area Community Theatre before.

“I am very excited to be Lola in ‘Damn Yankees!’ I am a little bit nervous, because I have never done a musical before,” Warne said. “Practices have been interesting but fun so far because I have never really done anything like this. It is helping me to get out of my comfort zone and have some fun with the character of Lola.”

Warne showed up to tryouts in January and blew the directors away, according to Dr. Clint Desmond, DWU choral director, and really came out of her shell. The character of Lola is both vulnerable and playful, and Warne’s audition delivered.

“Brooke was fantastic in her audition,” said Dr. Clint Desmond, DWU choral director. “She has been the silent leader of the choral program for the last few years. It is a joy to see her have this opportunity.”

“I tried out for the musical because I had never done a musical or play here at DWU, and I wanted to try it. And to my surprise, I got one of the lead roles! Honestly, at first, I was kind of like, ‘Are you sure you want me to do this?’ because I don't know how good I will be at it,” she laughed. “But everyone is so encouraging and has been so great to work with so far. I am excited to be in the musical.”

Jenna Callies, of Mitchell, will play Meg Boyd, Joe’s loyal wife. Meg Boyd was originally played by Ione Shannon Bolin in the 1958 movie version. Bolin was a 1938 DWU graduate from Spencer who performed in several Broadway productions, including “Damn Yankees!” and had her own radio show during the war, “Shannon Bolin Sings.”

“Knowing that DWU has a connection with the Broadway and movie productions of ‘Damn Yankees!’ made it that much more exciting to do,” Miller said. “This shows you that a graduate of DWU can go on to greatness.”

Other cast members include:
Sister (Meg’s friend): Jessica Phillips, Mitchell
Doris (Meg’s friend): Brittney Kaufman, Spencer
Van Buren (manager of the Washington Senators): Aaron Larson, community member
Welch (owner of the Washington Senators): Kate Miller, DWU director of TRiO services
Hearn (Welch’s secretary): Cat Hayen, Hill City
Gloria Thorpe (reporter): Amanda Long, Mitchell
Lynch (reporter): Megan Reimnitz, Corsica
Bryan (reporter): Tiffany Sharp, Brighton, Colo.
Lowe (reporter): Elizabeth Moore, Mitchell
Spike (reporter): Hannah Ford, Vermillion
Eddie (singing and dancing minion from “below”): Devin Carey, community member
Commissioner: Donna Dunn, DWU TRiO adviser
Miss Weston: Kaufman
Teenage girls: Ford, Moore and Sharp
Radio announcer, postmaster: Robert E. Winthrop III, community member
Washington Senators: Jake Habermann, Mitchell; Alex Smith, Kuna, Idaho; Ryan Antaya, Mount Vernon; Carey; Chris Ferera, San Clemente, Calif.; Mike Barnaud, Belle Fourche; Peter Novak, Mitchell (MHS); Carter Holm, Brookings; Emily Mizrahi, Cypress, Calif.
Wives and husbands: Reimnitz, Sharp, Moore, Dunn, Ford, Barnaud, Smith, Antaya, Carey, Ferera, Habermann, and Kelli Mehlhaf, community member.
Children’s chorus: Jonathon Freeman, Mathew Freeman, Aidan Miller, Tessa Yeo, Caleb Brower, Cody  Brower, Carson Brower, Sophie Scott, Madison Price, Maddie Briedenbach, Patience Nesheim, Julia Miller, Ally Feiner and Cayden Weaver.

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