When we saw Gypsy as part of last summer’s Encores! season at City Center, we were thrilled to see, just a few rows ahead of us, Jane Krakowski. Jenna!, we thought, as we stared at the back of the ditzy 30 Rock character’s pretty blonde hair, taking a second to recall her real name. (She looked great, which makes us think she wasn’t far into the run of Mystic Pizza, the play.) Then, our theatergoing companion reminded us that Krakowski is actually a Tony-winning Broadway actress. Right, we knew that — we just have a short memory, apparently, since it’s been five years since she appeared on a New York stage. So while we’re obviously excited that her TV show comes back tonight, we find the Daily News report that Krakowski’s in negotiations to appear as Lola in this summer’s Encores! presentation of Damn Yankees pretty awesome as well. In a few months she may be singing “Whatever Lola Wants,” but this news is exactly what we want. It’s so terrific, in fact, that we don’t even care who plays the Devil.
Good thing, too, since it’s … Sean Hayes, a.k.a. Jack of Will & Grace. (Yes, the show’s off the air, but how else should we refer to him? Of Bucket List fame?) We have nothing against the comedian-actor, but the move seems a little bit ambitious. Though he was appropriately catty and occasionally devilish on the NBC show, we can’t picture him as an actual, intimidating Devil. He just seems a tad boyish to us. The last New York revival featured Victor Garber, then Jerry Lewis. Compare.
Still, it’s been so long since Krakowski’s turn in Nine that we even don’t mind that Damn Yankees was onstage fairly recently itself, in 1994–1995 with Bebe Neuwirth as Lola. Producers, cast whomever you want as Joe Hardy & Co. The only thing that would make this better is if Tracy Morgan could find time between shooting (we hope!) W to bring an entourage to the front row.
People, this is not just huge. It’s Enormé! —Lori Fradkin
Jane Krakowski’s a great catch for ‘Damn Yankees’ [NYDN]Jane Krakowski’s Playing Lola in ‘Damn Yankees’?