theatrical, and baseball
In 1955 an unheralded play came
to Broadway based on a very heralded best selling novel. It featured a fairly
known television actor (Ray Walston), a not very well known singing, dancing,
actress (Gwen Verdon), and a virtual unknown actor (Stephen
It did however have
some heavyweight talents involved in its formation. Harold Prince was its
producer, music and lyrics were by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross, and the
book was by George Abbott (based on the novel by Douglas
It ran for a walloping 1,019
performances and ended up winning the Tony Award for best
It took the baseball world by
surprise! Its not every day that you wed the
National Pastime to the Faustian
Image and come out with a smash hit.
The plot deals with a middle
aged real estate agent who makes a deal with a Mr. Applegate (the Devil)
to be transformed into a super ballplayer (Joe Hardy) to help transform the
pathetic Washington Senators. At the end of the musical the Senators win
everything, Hardy foils Applegate and his sexy curvaceous assistant, and
alls well that ends well.
The musical featured witty dialogue
and a brilliant score. Songs such as GOODBYE OLD GIRL, HEART, SHOELESS JOE
MO, WHATEVER LOLA WANTS, THOSE WERE THE GOOD OLD DAYS, TWO LOST SOULS. have
become pop standards.
in 1958 after a successful run
on Broadway a film version appeared starring everyone
from the original production with
the exception of Stephen Douglass who had played the part of Joe Hardy. Tab
Hunter stepped into that role and did well.
Over the years there have been
several successful revivals and word has it that another one is on its way.
No other show based on baseball
has been that successful.
an Umpire who narrates a series of anecdotal material about the happenings
that take place on a Minor League ballfield. We're introduced to a young
girl coming to her first ballgame, some raucous old ladies giving an Umpire
a hell of a a time, Shoeless Joe Jackson coming on to the field as a ghost
and giving out baseball tips, an executive skips work to come to the game,
and a so so ball player who might make a spectacular play.It is based on
the novel by Cynthia Mercati who also wrote the musical and most of the
songs. The musical appeared in
1990 and did poorly off Broadway. It has had minor reviews since
MONTH, BASEBALL SHOWS: