The baseball season may not officially begin for another month, but there are other ways for Valley residents to get back in the game.

“Damn Yankees” will be playing at the Chandler Center for the Arts on Saturday, and cast member Chris Winslow could not be more thrilled.

“It’s my first tour, so it’s been very exciting getting a chance to see not just the theaters, but parts of the country that are so incredible,” Winslow said. “It’s a whole new experience for me as an actor, but also as a personal experience in America which has been great.”

Winslow, who plays the nefarious Mr. Applegate, has been with the production since the beginning. The 23-member cast began rehearsals in New York on Dec. 26 and embarked on a whirlwind national tour shortly after New Year’s.

The tour has stopped in states like California, New Mexico and Oregon, but Chandler will mark the first performance in Arizona. Winslow notes the difficulty of going in and out of so many varied climates, along with staying in good health while constantly on the move. Although being on the road can prove to be a challenge, he believes his colleagues make all the difference.

“We have a really great cast who really seems to work, and live, and ride together well because we spend a lot of time together,” Winslow said. “You just got to understand that we’re all here for the same reason and that we’re all here because we want to be, and this cast really does.”

“Damn Yankees” won seven Tony Awards when it first opened on Broadway in 1956, and was later developed into a film starring Gwen Verdon. The story follows a baseball fan named Joe Hardy, who makes a deal with the devil so his favorite team will beat the “Damn Yankees,” and includes classic songs such as “You Gotta Have Heart” and “Whatever Lola Wants.”

The show features old-fashioned comedy, special effects, acrobatics, and a live orchestra that Winslow feels particularly fortunate to play with.

“It’s really a great plus in this day and age,” Winslow said. “To be able to play with an orchestra with horns, and winds, and drums, and everything has just really been a treat.”

As the production makes its way to Arizona this week, Winslow believes that Valley audiences of all ages are in for a delight.

“We talk a lot about the game, a lot about family, and about desire and sacrifice,” Winslow said. “The talent level throughout is really outstanding. I feel like every show we do is as good or better than the last one.”

“Damn Yankees” plays March 10 at the Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 N. Arizona Ave. Ticket prices range from $15 to $46.

To purchase tickets, visit www.chandlercenter.org or call (480) 782-2680.

Patrick Ryan is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. He is a sophomore at Arizona State University.

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