Show History



Damn Yankees is based on Douglass Wallop's novel, The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant. The novel is a modern retelling of the Faust legend, where a man exchanges his soul to the devil in exchange for extraordinary powers. Wallop chose to take the classic story and set it in Washington, D.C., during the time when the New York Yankees were dominating Major League Baseball.

Composer/lyricist team, Richard Adler and Jerry Ross, fresh from their success of their first Broadway musical, The Pajama Game, took a large risk in writing a musical based on a sport. They brought on Wallop to work on the book and partnered him with renowned Broadway director and playwright, George Abbott.


The original production of Damn Yankees opened on Broadway May 5, 1955, and closed October 12, 1957, playing for a total of 1,019 performances. Directed by George Abbott, the musical featured Gwen Verdon, who went on to legendary mainstream status with a string of well-received shows. It was choreographed by superstar, Bob Fosse – his first of many successful shows.

Damn Yankees received its Broadway revival opening on March 3, 1994, at the Marquis Theatre and was considered a success. The 1994 Damn Yankees revival eventually transferred to the West End, opening at the Adelphi Theatre on June 4, 1997.

Damn Yankees was produced by the City Center Encores! series from July 5, to July 27, 2008. It starred Jane Krakowski, Sean Hayes and Randy Graff. Directed by John Rando, with original Fosse choreography reproduced by Mary MacLeod, some considered it the first authentic revival of the original production.


  • The cast album for Damn Yankees originally featured Gwen Verdon in a baseball shirt, against a green background. It was quickly replaced with another cover, showing Verdon in her skimpy Lola costume on a red background. Record sales skyrocketed.
  • In 1995, Jerry Lewis became the highest paid performer in Broadway history for his role as the Devil in Damn Yankees.