note: entire contents copyright 2007 by Beverly Creasey
The Hovey Players have a thing for baseball. Their production of THE BATTING CAGE last year was set in Florida during spring training and their current musical romp, THE CURSE IS REVERSED (through May 26) lays bare the history of Red Sox nation. As many of you will recall, this was not a pretty picture until 2004, when the boys of summer became the men of autumn and won the World Series---which had eluded the Red Sox since l918. Diehards attributed this eighty-six year pall over Fenway to the tragic sale of Babe Ruth. Even more devastating than Boston’s loss was the Yankee’s gain---and, as if the faithful hadn’t suffered enough, the Babe was sold to finance a (gasp!) musical comedy!
David Kruh and Steve Bergman’s musical was rewritten to accommodate the victory in ’04 and although the characters of Red Sox owner, Harry Frazee (John Small) and the Babe (Aaron Velthouse) are lots of fun, it’s the utility players in the Hovey production who score the grand slam. They’re called The Royal Rooters and they steal the show, chronicling Red Sox heartbreak in the musical style of the era. From bebop to rock to disco to rap, they sing and dance the agony and the ecstasy in hilarious form—and they play the extras who move the story along. (For my money, you could send the story to the minors and let the Rooters run the Show.)
Andrew McKay has a glorious tenor and a funny bone to match. Gordon Ellis hits the jokes out of the park and Steve Key and Ronny Pompeo clean up as the screwball chorus. Director Tom Berry covers all the bases and choreographer Linda Sughrue puts all the right moves on the team. What’s not to love? We get to sing the national anthem (not to mention Neil Diamond) and they sell hotdogs at the home stretch. As that sage fan, Shakespeare, was rumored to say about the game, “A hit. A palpable hit.”