Move over Damn Yankees! There’s a new musical about the Boston Red Sox, and it’s a home run.
Red Sox fans, run, do not walk, to the American Repertory Theatre’s wonderful production of Johnny Baseball, a rich and richly entertaining musical about the Red Sox, race in America and the community of perpetual hope.
Playwright Richard Dresser reportedly has said the inspiration for Johnny Baseball came from watching the 2003 ALCS finale between Red Sox-Yankees when the Sox were ahead by 5-2 but folded in the 11th inning in a dramatic and all too familiar way. Damn Yankees! Damn Grady Little, for that matter, for leaving Pedro Martinez in when he had run out of gas.
Brothers Robert and Willie Reale did a fine job creating the music and lyrics, building on the story collaboration between Willie Reale and Richard Dresser and Dresser’s book. Credit should also go to Nancy Houfek, voice and dialect coach, who helped create Boston accents that didn’t want to make me cringe.
Johnny Baseball runs through June 27 at the American Repertory Theater on Brattle Street in Cambridge. By then, maybe the Red Sox will be playing more than 500 baseball.
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