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UTEP Dinner Theatre’s ‘Damn Yankees’ is nothing short of a knockout

The UTEP Dinner Theatre’s newest production “Damn Yankees” tells the story of a middle-aged die-hard Washington Senators fan named Joe Boyd who sells his soul to the devil to become an exceptional baseball player to beat the Yankees in the World Series. Photo courtesy of UTEP Dinner Theatre

The UTEP Dinner Theatre is ready to play ball as they have hit a home run with their production of “Damn Yankees.” The UTEP Dinner Theatre is a lively entertainment venue in the heart of the UTEP campus. It is the only full-time, year-round dinner theater on a college campus in the United States.

The platform offers a three-course dinner to patrons before the show, serving savory dishes like Chicken Cordon Bleu to sweets like Apple Crisp a la mode. However, this show comes off the heels of news detailing the end of the UDT and its current ‘Farewell Season’ a surprise to both the fans and people who bring every show to life.  

“Damn Yankees” tells the story of a middle-aged die-hard Washington Senators fan named Joe Boyd. One night, Joe happens to sell his soul to the devil in an act to become an exceptional and youthful baseball player to help beat the superior Yankees in the World Series.  

Throughout this zany adventure, set in circa 1950s, Joe (Victor Mendoza) becomes a famous ball player but battles the thoughts he has had to leave his life. Joe becomes Joe Hardy (Erik Orozco) and meets a wacky cast of characters from the quirky roster of the Senators, the sly Devil (Freddie Nevares Jr.), a determined reporter out to get the truth (Isabella Candelaria), and most notably, the ravishing servant of the devil Lola (Keri Baggs). As Joe feels the highs of a dream come true, he learns that sometimes the best things in your life are right before you like Joe’s wife, Meg Boyd (Emma Leigh Montes).  

The musical is filled with lively song and dance numbers that shine off the stage and will have audiences tapping their feet with every beat. The dances choreographed by Crystal E. Salas are done professionally and actively, giving each song time to shine. Set Designer Michael L. Spence and the highly talented behind-the-scenes crew transport you to ‘50s Washington, D.C.

The grouping of pastel-colored walls, old-fashioned items, vintage costumes and more bring a fun authenticity to the production. The cast and everyone behind the camera shine in their respective roles. Each member brings their distinct sensibility to the characters, making the musical always exciting and comical. Although there is a mix of emotional and upbeat songs, each excites the crowd. 

Dedicated UTEP Dinner Theatre fan Alice Takase speaks to the enjoyment of the musical and recent news of the Dinner Theatre shutdown.  

“We come to all of them (the musicals), and it (Damn Yankees) was perfect,” Takase said. “We don’t like that all (the shutdown), and I have no idea, we’ll keep coming.”  

UTEP Dinner Theatre fan Lisa Long speaks to the quality of the show.  

“(Damn Yankees) was fantastic and (I am) disappointed (by the shutdown news),” Long said in news of the shutdown.  

In the director’s notes for the show, Interim Director Jamie Barba spoke about his experience in the program. 

“Although the future is unclear beyond this next year, know that as much as you have loved coming to see our shows over the years, we have loved putting them together for you,” Barba said. “Thank you for 41 years of great musical theatre”.  

Catching Marginot is a staff reporter and can be reached at [email protected]

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About the Contributor
H. Catching Marginot
H. Catching Marginot, Contributor/Writer
Henry Catching Marginot is a junior at the University of Texas at El Paso majoring in multimedia journalism and minoring in English: rhetorical studies. He is a contributor at The Prospector and freelances. He plans to pursue writing in the future.
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