The bases are loaded at City Center as an all-star cast heads this summer’s Encores production of Damn Yankees. Best known as Will and Grace’s Jack McFarland, Sean Hayes is still flaming, but in a whole new ballpark playing the Devil himself, disguised as swindling salesman Mr. Applegate, who offers a middle-aged baseball fan the chance to become a young slugger in exchange for his soul.
Hayes’ fiery charm makes him an adorable if not quintessential Applegate; met with much delight from the audience, his “Jack-isms” come and go as quickly as the recurring reveals of devilish red accessories hidden beneath his pinstripe suits. In his 11 o’clock number, Sean takes the piano bench, proving he can tickle the ivories as masterfully as he does our funny bones (Who knew??) But while he’s busy stealing souls, Jane Krakowski is stealing most of her scenes: The 30 Rock star is sinfully delicious as Lola, Satan’s sexy seductress. Finally, Broadway heartthrob Cheyenne Jackson shines vocally as Joe Hardy, a mysterious new home-runner, crooning and belting to melt and thrill us. (To even mention the rippling pecs and bulging biceps he displays when stripped down to a pair of boxers in the locker room scene would demean the real talents of this truly great performer, and I will do no such thing.) It’s obvious these folks are all having a blast on stage, making this Yankees damn infectious to watch. So whether you’re a pitcher or a catcher, you won’t want to miss this feel-good classic with miles of heart...and a lot of balls.