Former baseball coach mixes love of game, theater in ‘Damn Yankees’ - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Valley And State

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Former baseball coach mixes love of game, theater in ‘Damn Yankees’

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Posted: Friday, March 18, 2011 12:00 pm

Wayne Kindall’s life always seemed to involve baseball.

The Sun City West resident coached baseball and served as the assistant athletic director at Deer Valley High School for at least a decade. And his brother, Jerry Kindall, played second base in the major leagues and coached the University of Arizona baseball team, leading them to three college titles.

Kindall will step into the role of a fictional famous baseball player, Joe Hardy, in the sports musical “Damn Yankees,” which opens Friday at Theatre West in Sun City West.

“Baseball is very important in my life, and I get to incorporate that into theater,” Kindall said.

For years, Kindall said he’s had a fascination with the “Damn Yankees” mythology, particularly after he read “The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant.” The musical is based on the novel about a man who sells his soul to the devil to become a young baseball superstar who helps his hapless team, the Washington Senators, win the pennant against the Yankees.

“It’s a good story with great music about what people are willing to do for the cost of fame and getting it all at the expense of their soul,” Kindall said.

The original production of “Damn Yankees” debuted on Broadway in 1955, ran for 1,019 performances and won seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

Multiple AriZoni Award winner Fred Bornhoeft directs Theatre West’s production, which plays at the Stardust Theatre.

Bornhoeft first directed the show years ago when he served as artistic director for the now-defunct Mountain Shadows Theatre Company in Surprise.

“It’s a fun show that moves quickly, and the (musical) numbers are showstoppers,” he said. “And people enjoy this musical because the characters are so interesting.”

“Damn Yankees” is Bornhoeft’s directorial debut at Theatre West.

“I love the challenge of working with people I’ve never worked with before and really putting together a fantastic musical,” he said.

The musical comes just in time, Bornhoeft said, as spring training at local stadiums kicks into high gear.

“It couldn’t have been performed at a better time than now,” said Bornhoeft, a Detroit native and Tigers fan.

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