Monday, July 21, 2008

Damn Yankees

This year's Summer Encores! show may transfer to Broadway thanks to its two tv-famous stars, but Sean Hayes and Jane Krakowski do a lot less for the show than they do for its box office. He gets barely by on charm and on the enormous good will that the audience has for him after years of Will & Grace, but he's lightweight; he's less the Devil brokering deliciously for the soul of an average Joe turned baseball hero than he's a jaded brat. (He gets some of his laughs from camping some of his lines as if he's still on his tv show, but that gives his character's repeated advice to stay away from women an unintended, unpleasant subtext). Krakowski, who is regularly a delightful and engaging performer, has been asked to do the near-impossible: namely, to step into the Bob Fosse dances that were tailored for Gwen Verdon. She's fine in the book scenes, but her dancing is all exertion and no charm: we're aware of all the impressive work she is doing with her body and waiting for it to express what it means to express. The other two leads - Randy Graff and Cheyenne Jackson - are quite wonderful, and the supporting cast are uniformly terrific (with Veanne Cox and Kathy Fitzgerald especially fun and funny).

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