Batter Up! Damn Yankees Scores Big as Opening Act of the Season

Kicking off its 2015-16 season, Cabrillo Music Theatre proudly presents Damn Yankees, opening October 16 and running through October 25.

“People have been asking for it,” says CMT’s Artistic Director Lewis Wilkenfeld, noting that Damn Yankees was last performed by the theatre in 1996. “It has real staying power and wide audience appeal,” adds Wilkenfeld, who said audiences of all ages will enjoy the catchy songs and dancing woven into this story of wish fulfillment.

With music by Richard Adler and lyrics by Jerry Ross, Damn Yankees is based on the book by George Abbott and Douglas Wallop about a middle-aged baseball fanatic who trades his soul to the devil for a chance to lead his favorite team to victory in the pennant race against the New York Yankees.

As he wows the world transforming the hapless Washington Senators into a winning team, Joe begins to realize the real worth of the life he’s left behind. Colorful characters, smashing dance numbers and songs, including “Whatever Lola Wants (Lola Gets),” “You Gotta Have Heart” and “Those Were the Good Old Days,” are show highlights. Boasting more than 1,000 performances on Broadway, a successful film version and a popular Broadway revival, Damn Yankees has won seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Light, fast-paced and devilishly clever, Damn Yankees promises to start off Cabrillo Music Theatre’s “Season for all Seasons” with a home run.

In honor of Damn Yankees’ sports theme and in line with its mission of giving back to the community, CMT is collecting new and gently used sports equipment for in-need youth for the duration of the show, through October 25.

“Our community outreach initiatives support the local community throughout the year. We are so much more than just our shows,” says CMT’s Director of Development and Community Engagement Maureen Feldman, noting that the sports equipment drive will benefit in-need youth as part of its nonprofit community partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Conejo and West Valley. Feldman has recently included the Boys & Girls Club of Moorpark to the recipient list.

Sports equipment collection bins are located at various locales, including Brent’s Deli in Westlake, B&B Premier Insurance Solutions in Agoura and at all seven locations of Boston Private Banks. Cabrillo is also collecting equipment at each of the 10 performances of Damn Yankees at the Civic Arts Plaza.

The sports equipment drive kicked off last month at Cabrillo’s You Gotta Have Heart: A Cabrillo Doubleheader event at Fiore Playfields in Thousand Oaks. The family-friendly event included a charity baseball game between Conejo Valley Little League heavy hitters and Cabrillo staff, Board members, and City Council members, savory eats from local food trucks, merchandise and samplings from community vendors, celebrity guests and entertainment by the Kabrillo Kids.

“Memories were made that will be cherished for years to come, while we raised crucial funds to support community programs,” says Feldman.

Damn Yankees performances are held Thursday evenings at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. A post-show discussion with cast and staff follows the first Saturday matinee of each production, and a signed performance for the deaf and hard-of-hearing will take place on the second Friday night of each production.

Tickets and more information are available at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza Box Office at 805.449.2787.